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SUPERNATURAL

                  

For Hicksflicks.com, Nov. 21, 2014

A young woman is invited to a séance by a phony psychic who claims that he has a message from her deceased brother. Her boyfriend is sure the séance is a scam but she's intrigued, so they attend. And wouldn't you know it, the woman becomes possessed by the spirit of another woman, a serial killer who's been executed — and who wants revenge on the psychic!

This plot development takes a bit too long in coming but the buildup is not without interest, especially the montage that shows us the exploits of the murderess. (And how unusual is it for a film this old to feature a female serial killer.)

What really gives "Supernatural" (1933, b/w) its juice, however, is a very young Carole Lombard in an early starring role (before she became the queen of screwball comedy with "Twentieth Century" and "My Man Godfrey") as the innocent who becomes possessed. And her boyfriend is Randolph Scott, years before he became the king of B-movie Westerns.

     

Randolph Scott, left, and Carole Lombard, center, in 'Supernatural'

"Supernatural" is a short film, just over an hour in length, more of a programmer than a feature. A lot of films came in at 60 to 75 minutes if they were going to fill out a double bill, and they were almost always genre pictures of one kind or another.

And as a follow-up to director Victor Halperin's "White Zombie," which stars Bela Lugosi, this one boasts a bigger budget and a glossier sheen.

"Supernatural" is an assembly-line picture but it's a good one.

And it's now on DVD for the first time thanks to the burn-on-demand Universal Vault label, which has been giving us quite a few Lombard films from her earliest days at Paramount Pictures (whose older library is owned by Universal).