Gentle hands that kill with a voodoo curse!

Strange Woman is a 1944 horror film about a sociology professor who marries an exotic native woman who may have supernatural powers.

Directed by Reginald Le Borg (So Evil, My Sister; Diary of a Madman; Voodoo Island; The Mummy’s Ghost) from a screenplay by Brenda Weisberg, loosely based on Fritz Leiber’s novel, The Witch’s Wife, published in the April 1943 issue of Unknown Worlds. Produced by Ben Pivar and Oliver Drake. The film was part of the Inner Sanctum series of six films adapted from the popular radio program of the same name.

The film stars Lon Chaney Jr, Ann Gwynn, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Morgan, Elizabeth Risdon and Lois Collier.

Blu-ray output:

The 18th. In January 2021, Eureka Entertainment released the Six Mysteries of the Inner Sanctum for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK. Includes:

The doctor is not sure if he killed his wife and asks the nurse to try to find out the truth by hypnotizing her.
A Strange Woman (Reginald Le Borg, 1944) While traveling, a professor falls in love with an exotic native woman who turns out to be a supernatural being.
Les yeux du mort (Reginald Le Borg, 1944) When an artist goes blind, the operation to restore his sight depends on another man who is willing to sacrifice his eyes.
The Frozen Ghost (Dr. Harold Young, 1945) A discredited stage psychiatrist and plastic surgeon are involved in mysterious events at a sinister wax museum.
Strange Confessions (d. John Hoffman, 1945) Memories recount the events that led to a man’s revenge on a con man who took advantage of his wife.
Pillow of Death (Dir. Wallace Fox, 1945) A lawyer in love with his secretary is suspected of strangling his wife, among other things.

The 2-disc Blu-ray edition includes :

Presentations of the six films in high-definition Blu-ray format (1080p).
Uncompressed LPCM mono audio tracks
Additional SDH English subtitles
Call to Dr. : Audio commentary by writer and film historian C. Courtney Joyner and Regina Le Borg (daughter of director Reginald Le Borg)
Strange Woman : Audio commentary by writer Justin Humphries (The Doctor Phibes Companion) and Del Howison (Dark Delicacies: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre)
A Strange Confession : Audio commentary from screenwriter Peter Atkins (Hellraiser II, III and IV) and screenwriter/film historian K. Courtney Joyner
Kim Newman The Secrets of the Inner Sanctum A new interview with film critic and fiction writer Kim Newman
It’s the Inner Sanctum : Creating a series of universal mysteries [55 minutes] The squeaky door : Entering the Inner Sanctum [15 min] A history of the radio series with radio writer/historian Martin Grams, Jr.
Mind Over Matter [20 min] Archived interview with actor Martin Kosleck (Frozen Ghost)
Inner Sanctum Secrets : Radio Episodes A selection of episodes from the original radio series
A compilation book of the new releases of the series by Craig Ian Mann.


In the United States, Ushe Owned Inner Sanctum Mysteries will be released on the 17th. November 2020 on Blu-ray.



Professor Norman Reed (Lon Chaney) falls in love and marries a woman named Paula (Gwynn) during a vacation in the South Seas. When they return to her hometown, she receives a cold reception from much of the community, especially Ilona (Ankers), who believes Reed is hers.

Strange things begin to happen, such as the death of a colleague, which turns people against her even more, especially since she believes in voodoo and other supernatural phenomena. Reed must work hard to prove his innocence and find the real culprit behind these strange cases….

Exams [click on the links for more information] :

The offbeat radio horror series Inner Sanctum (based on Fritz Leiber Jr.’s novel The Sorcerer’s Wife) offers little in the way of suspense, but is very atmospheric, scary and full of tension. And it’s still fun and entertaining with a goofy storyline and entertaining tricks from Cheney Jr, Gwynn and the villainous Evelyn Ankers as Professor Reed’s vengeful old flame. Derek Winner.

…manages to get close to Val Lewton’s insecurities by running a zombie. Unfortunately, this film is somewhat imperfect, with a script that gets terribly silly at times, especially during a native dance sequence that seems to belong to a nightclub; in fact, such scenes are rarely effective because they always seem carefully choreographed rather than spontaneous and passionately religious. At least this time the story is good enough…. Fantastic music movies and trolls

To imagine Cheney Jr. as a man so brilliant and attractive to women that he would concoct complex plans for revenge and betrayal on her behalf is a challenge (to say the least). But once one accepts this dubious role, it’s relatively easy to get involved in this hour-long psychological horror film, played out with the involvement of Anchor (deliciously vengeful) and Gwynn (perpetually terrified). Movie The Fanatic

Cheney does decent work, not great work. He doesn’t have as dramatic a descent into madness as we know from starring in Burning Witch. Chaney is a great performer, especially when it comes to movies like this, but here he’s too casual. The tension remains high throughout the rest of the film as well. Forgotten films

The islanders were not particularly racist at the time, but it should be noted that Norman married the only white girl in the village. I suspect there was nothing else on the screen in the 1940s. Like the other films in the series, this one looks a lot like a soap opera. It’s very melodramatic and a little overdramatic. The boys of horror

Everything is on point, and most of the film seems cheap, even in its mundane setting. Therefore, there is no real secret to piercing. There is no prolonged shudder to take the audience’s attention away from him. There is no poetry. It’s a movie you can’t forget. His only real claim to cinematic descent is the first cinematic adaptation of Conjure Wife.

Nicely edited, it’s a faithful recording, with a Scream Queen atmosphere. Evelyn Ankers of Wolf and Elizabeth Russell of Cat People stole the show. The warehouse of the cult man

Yes, it’s definitely a B-movie, but it’s very well written, with a somewhat scary atmosphere and a nice final twist. The book is not very compelling and the idea that a professor’s scholarly treatise against superstition could become a bestseller is really exaggerated…. But the supporting actors do their best to sell the material, from Elizabeth Russell’s high-pitched voice as a grumpy woman to Anker’s fit and cunning dog. Mark David Welsh.

One has the impression that with Strange Woman Universal wanted to copy the films of Val Lewton, a producer who was very successful at the time with works like Cat People (1942) and I Walked with a Zombie (1943)…… The sad flaw is that in the hands of Reginald LeBorg, a fellow director in great form (see below), the film is a largely uncensored world drama set in the uninspiring world of college. Moria

In the novel, all the witches the main professor deals with are middle-aged women, and only his witch is a young woman. All but one of the women involved in Norman Reed’s life are on the youth side, not to mention a decade younger than Lon Chaney Jr. Naturalist! It’s crazy! Great!

It’s a good movie, even if Ron’s best game is when he’s being tough, not thoughtful or intellectual. The film never lags, and Anker’s acting is great at its peak. Plan 9 Crunch

Strange Woman is a worthy adaptation of one of Fritz Leiber’s best novels, The Sorcerer’s Wife. The script is entertaining and tight, the actors are all very good, and the unexpected ending reinforces and challenges the central premise of the film, that the power of the supernatural is nothing but superstition and fear, leading believers to take actions that create self-fulfilling prophecies. Greys

It’s clear that Ankers appreciates the opportunity to play the bitchy and manipulative Ilona, and she’s best on screen […] Norman’s rational point of view is so strong before Ilona arrives, but she can’t resist Ah! Maybe there was something to do after all! The end. One of the best indoor sanctuaries is hockey, but it’s fun. Rotate the image

Despite what could be construed as guilt, and it is, the film never fails to entertain the viewer because Chaney and company really do their best. Chaney can be a little apathetic at times, but he plays the aging professor that all the girls like, even when it’s Anchors stealing the show. A great mind

Leiber’s story is a satire of an academic world in which owning a dog is valued above all else – even its own soul […] Ankers is the main attraction of this quasi-festival – the demented actress, usually cool as a cucumber, gives one of the funniest country performances of the 1940s – each of her words accompanied by her own pelvic thrusts. Pendant from hell


Grace Gunnison: Ilona, there’s something in your smile that reminds me of Jack the Ripper.

Ilona Carr: Why, David, did you not know that this night is a special place for great minds? History is made at night, as they say. Poetry is born in the night.

Norman Reed: Two steps forward, one step back. Two steps forward, one step back. Two steps forward, one step back.

The actors and characters:

Lon Chaney, Jr. … Norman Reed (as Lon Chaney)
Ann Gwynn … Paula Reed
Evelyn Ankers… Ilona Carr
Ralph Morgan… Professor Millard Sawtell 19Elizabeth… Risdon… Grace Gunnison
Lois Collier… Margaret 19 Harry Hayden… Professor Septimus Carr
Elizabeth Russell… Evelyn Sotel
Phil Brown… David Jennings
Kay Harding… Student (as Jackie Lou Harding)
Gertrude Astor … Party guest (not credited)
Chuck Hamilton … Carpenter (not credited)
David Hoffman … Spirit of the Inner Sanctum (not credited)
William Hudson … Second Gossip Man (not credited)
Hannah Kaapa … Larauya, High Priestess (no credit)
Edmund Mortimer … Guest of the party (not credited)
Larry Styers … Guest of the party (not credited)

Shooting Locations:

Universal Studios – 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California

Technical details :

63 minutesB&W ratio : 1.37 : 1
Audio : Mono (Western electric recording)


1. March 1944.

Fun facts:

Director Reginald LeBorg recalls receiving the script on Friday and having to start shooting a week later on Monday; casting was completed shortly before shooting began. This rushed production schedule was the norm at Universal. The cost of filming Inner St. John’s Suite was about $150,000, and the shoot usually lasted twelve days.

Actress Evelyn Ankers would later say that it was hard enough for her to play the bad guy. As director LeBorg talked about the plot and Ankers tried to make sense of the menacing look, she and her co-star Ann Gwynn almost inevitably started laughing. Universal never hired her to play a villain again.

Fritz Leiber’s story, The Witch’s Wife, was also filmed in the movies Night of the Eagle (1962) and Beer the Witch (1980).


Our review:


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