The Corpse Vanishes is a 1942 American mystery and horror film starring Bela Lugosi, directed by Wallace Fox, and written by Harvey Gates. Lugosi portrays a mad scientist who injects his aging wife (played by Elizabeth Russell) with fluids from virginal young brides in order to preserve her beauty. Luana Walters as a journalist and Tristram Coffin as a small town doctor investigate and solve the disappearances of the brides.
On the day of Alice Wentworth’s wedding, mad scientist Dr. Lorenz sends the young bride a poisoned orchid, the scent of which places the young woman in a state of suspended animation. He then spirits her body away to the basement laboratory of his isolated mansion and extracts her bodily fluids to inject into his vain and aged wife in order to renew her youth and beauty.
A young journalist, Patricia Hunter, investigates the case and discovers it involves an unusual orchid. She is directed to Lorenz, a known expert on orchids, and visits his mansion where she meets with a chilly reception. She is forced to spend the night when a storm breaks, and discovers the basement laboratory. In the morning, she hurries back to her newspaper offices.
Hunter and her colleagues make an attempt to trap Lorenz but he outfoxes them, chloroforming Hunter and carrying her to his laboratory to use her bodily fluids upon his wife. During the injection procedure, Lorenz is stabbed by an angry servant woman who holds Lorenz responsible for her sons’ deaths. He strangles her then collapses and dies. The servant rallies weakly and stabs Lorenz‘s wife to death. The police arrive and Hunter is rescued.
- Bela Lugosi
- Luana Walters
- Tristram Coffin
- Elizabeth Russell
- Minerva Urecal
- Angelo Rossitto
- Frank Moran
- Vince Barnett
- Kenneth Harlan
- George Eldredge
- Joan Barclay
- Gwen Kenyon
- Bela Lugosi also starred in another 1942 horror film, Bowery at Midnight. In a scene in that film outside a cinema, the advertising poster outside the cinema doors is for The Corpse Vanishes and features Lugosi's image and name.
- Originally released on May 8, 1942, The Corpse Vanishes is tied with The Mad Monster - which was released on the same day - as the oldest feature film used on MST3K (though the short Catching Trouble from 1936 used in Experiment #315 is the oldest material ever used on the show).