Night of the Ghouls (which was also known as Revenge of the Dead) was Edward D. Wood Jr.'s first attempt at making a horror film without any contribution, either in a true performance or through the presence of archival footage, from Bela Lugosi, who had died three years earlier. The plot, which was as confusing as most of Wood's scripts, seems to make it a sequel to Bride of the Monster and, to a lesser degree, Plan 9 From Outer Space, incorporating events and characters from both, including Paul Marco's portrayal of the ubiquitous Officer Kelton. (Indeed, some Wood scholars have referred to the three movies as a group as "the Kelton trilogy," since he is the only character to turn up essentially the same in all three films.) Duke Moore, who portrayed the detective lieutenant in Plan 9 From Outer Space, is back in this film, and now he seems to be identified as a specialist in bizarre and unusual cases, making him sort of Ed Wood's distant precursor to The X Files' agent Fox Mulder and The Night Stalker's Carl Kolchak. This time there are strange goings-on, including disappearances and ghostly apparitions, at a mysterious house in a remote part of town. It turns out that this is the same house (rebuilt) and the same locale where Bela Lugosi's mad scientist was creating zombies in Bride of the Monster, and that Tor Johnson's Lobo is still there, somewhat the worse for wear. Instead of a mad scientist, however, the man behind the mayhem is a phony mystic named Dr. Acula, played by ex-cowboy actor Kenne Duncan. None of it makes too much sense, as though anyone needs to be told that, knowing that this was an Ed Wood movie, but parts of it are fun in that unique way that Wood's movies can be -- the strange word usages and dialogue patterns, as well as odd characterizations, mismatched shots, and incomprehensible plot elements all weave their eerie spell on the viewer willing to absorb them.
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