In honour of this serial, it’s tentacle week this week at Limerwrecks: eight limbs, but numerous lims! Check it.

Last we saw, Carter Holmes and Miss Stanhope were about to be smithereened by high explosives on the sinisterly-named Seal Island. We’re told that the cave has been charged with enough explosives to blow up the whole island, which seems odd as the evil rug merchant responsible is on the island at the time.

Of course, Duke Worne’s budget doesn’t run to blowing up whole land masses, so we’re offered one of the least satisfying pay-offs to any cliffhanger — a passing Tunisian snips the wire and the bomb doesn’t detonate.

As a kid watching serials I always had a healthy respect for cliffhangers that ended with gigantic cheats — the kind where the catastrophe presented at the end of Chapter Eleven would be reprised at the start of Chapter Twelve, but re-edited. Lantern-jawed Trunk Hugelet is wrestling with the controls of the runaway train, but it crashes off a cliff and bursts into flames — only when the story is continued, he throws himself clear, rolls in the dust, hails a passing jalopy, drives to the nearest town, hops on a barque and sails to the South China Seas, passes through customs and checks into a comfortable hotel. And THEN the train crashes off the cliff and bursts into flames. I knew I was witnessing the manipulative power of editing.

Anyhow, the serial team attempt to make up for their lame non-explosive dynamite by quickly arranging an exciting motorboat chase, of a standard that wouldn’t disgrace an early James Bond film. In fact, since there’s no rear projection in this one, it’s actually better than a Sean Connery. The upshot of it is that Ruth Stanhope is abducted and our criminologist hero has to be fished from the drink by the Tunisian.


Believing our hero dead, the rug merchant returns to his base in 33 Folsom Street, and Carter raids it with the police. There’s a massed punch up between cult members and cops, and the masked Monsieur X carries Ruth off through the secret exit.

Weird moment — apart from the staring eyes that keep appearing everywhere, we get another glimpse of supernatural influence. As Monsieur X hurries through subterranean passageways, a translucent vision of the dead Professor Stanhope walks past, or possibly through him. He doesn’t notice, and Ruth is unconscious, so there’s nobody to confirm to us in the audience the nonsensical and unexplainable thing we just saw really happened. I’m reminded of the gangs of rampaging non sequitur characters who stream through Ralph Bakshi’s COOL WORLD, superimposed footage obviously intended for deleted scenes, who make that film the druggy, confusing and often irksome experience it is.


Then Carter gets a mysterious phone call from the dead professor. Then Ruth turns up, unharmed, at home. And then another cliffhanger!


vlcsnap-2013-04-23-21h01m27s238A bullet-ridden end title?

7 Responses to “Shenanigans”

  1. mndean Says:

    Not just bullet-ridden, but by a crack shot! If I turn my head sideways, it looks like a +C which may be a clue!

  2. Possibly a marksman has been grading the movie as a below-average pass.

  3. Christopher Says:

    looks like the symbol for WOMAN..Is Ruth a ballsy chick in this?

  4. Mm… not really. She’s basically there to be kidnapped, rescued, and rekidnapped. Kind of like a library book with legs: borrowed, returned, borrowed, returned.

  5. Christopher Says:

    well…here y’are…don’t let her out again…

  6. DBenson Says:

    Some serials went beyond mere editing. One “Buck Rogers” episode ends with his kid sidekick felled by a ray gun blast, falling to the floor seemingly dead. The next episode begins and we see the kid jump out a window without getting hit — not just an edit but a whole different shot. Clearly they were banking on audiences doubting their memories after seeing the escape.

  7. That’s great! Sheer chutzpah. I hope they try something like that in Octo.

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