the leopard manI don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but we are checking out a film from a different decade of horror for Eddie’s 31 Days Of Halloween. The film I chose for today, I remember from watching a documentary called Nightmares In Red, White, And Blue on Netflix. The way the guy described it, I just had to check it out for myself so I chose the 1943 film The Leopard Man. The film stars Dennis O’Keefe (Raw Deal) as Jerry Manning, a promoter always looking for some kind of stunt or scheme to propel his talent forward. One day, he acquires a tame leopard  for one of his talent in Kiki Walker (Jean Brooks) for a publicity stunt. One night, a rival dancer scares the leopard and it escapes putting this small New Mexico town into a panic. Women are dying and the deaths are being blamed on the Leopard, but Jerry doesn’t believe that it’s the leopard that is doing it. The film also stars Margo (Viva Zapata!) as Clo-Clo, Isabel Jewell (Gone With The Wind) as Maria, the fortune teller, James Bell (I Walked With A Zombie) as Dr. Galbraith, Margaret Landry (The Fallen Sparrow) as Teresa Delgado, Abner Biberman (Gun For A Coward) as Charlie How-Come, Tuulikki Paananen (Hawaii Five-O) as Consuelo Contreras, Ben Bard (The Ghost Ship) as Roblo- The Police Chief, and the film was directed by Jacques Tourneur (Cat People).

leopard manThis film was probably scary for it’s time and I am not surprised either because it scares you with fear and paranoia. What I mean by that is as soon as something like this happens, everyone is paranoid. Will I be the next victim of the leopard? Is that the leopard I heard over there? The fear of the unknown is a very real and powerful thing that can haunt people especially when people are dying. The documentary is right, one of the most powerful scenes in that film is when a woman’s daughter is forced to go out and get cornmeal. She sees the leopard and she immediately tries to run. By the time she gets home, the door is locked and the mother just thinks that her daughter is paranoid about the leopard until she lets out a terrifying scream. The mother tries to get the door unlocked, but it’s too late, the blood is spilling through the door. Now tell me that wouldn’t scare you? The movie is only about an hour and six minutes in length which means it moves pretty quick and it plays out like a murder mystery combined with horror elements. It’s definitely listed as a horror movie and even though it was considered a b movie back in it’s day, it’s very enjoyable to watch and the acting is actually very good. When you figure out who the real killer is, you may be shocked or you might see it coming. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade and if you want to watch it you can do so by going to Youtube.


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