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The Awful Orloffs - A Study of a Family (multi-comment)

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Atom Bezecny | 21 comments Hello everyone! Thank you for creating this discussion board!

This article looks at the family of Dr. Orloff, the villain of Jesus Franco's film The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962). I decided to examine Dr. Orloff and his cinematic ubiquity because of a note in one of the Crossovers volumes suggesting someone investigate the reason for all the fictional characters named Morpho who appear in Jess Franco's films—indeed, Franco had a tendency to reuse many names in his films, with a predilection for “Orloff” and “Morpho.” My short story “The Curse of Orlac” from the 2017 volume of Tales of the Shadowmen suggested that the many Morphos were homunculi created by the sorcery of Dracula, who was Orloff's ancestor. Dracula was the mystic “father” of the vampire Orlok, from Nosferatu (1922); according to Dennis Power's “Best Fangs Forward” Orlok was a “soul-clone” of Dracula who was created in tandem with the Dracula whose story was told by Fred Saberhagen. Orlok may have had non-vampiric descendants whose family name became Orlov. Five Orlov brothers made the Orlov clan famous in the 18th Century—one of them, Grigory Orlov (1734-1783), was the paramour of Catherine the Great. He was the father of her son, the Count Aleksey Bobrinsky (1762-1813). I theorize that Bobrinsky had an illegitimate son who reclaimed the Orlov name in distorted form as Orloff. Despite his illegitimacy, Feodor Orloff eventually became a Count. Count Feodor Orloff's plot to conquer the small nation of Czernova was the subject of John R. Carling's The Shadow of the Czar (1902).

Feodor Orloff had a son whom he had raised in England, Dionysus Orloff. He was the Dr. Orloff of Franco's film. His name, Dionysus, comes from Franco's film Jack the Ripper (1976), which claims that the true name of the Ripper was Dr. Dennis Orloff. In truth, Orloff was likely a mere suspect in the Ripper case, or a copycat, rather than the Ripper himself. Orloff married Melissa Mirakle, daughter of the controversial biologist Nathaniel Mirakle, whose exploits were depicted in the film Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932). Their daughter, also named Melissa, became the subject of her father's obsessions when she was rendered comatose by a disease. Orloff, along with his servant Morpho, was forced to go out on the streets of London to kidnap beautiful young girls and drain their blood to heal Melissa. This is what Orloff to become a suspect of the Ripper murders in 1888. When he realized London was no longer safe for him, Orloff fled to the small town of Mescal, New Mexico, where he killed several more people to sustain Melissa. He was able to frame an insane prostitute for the murders; this was the basis of the film Jack the Ripper Goes West (1974). While in Mescal, Orloff sired a son named Armando who would be adopted under the name Armando del Valle. Under this name, Armando Orloff would be forced to kill people and drain them of their vital essence to sustain his wife, in a situation similar to that which plagued his father, as seen in the film The Macabre Trunk (1936). Del Valle's name is similar to that of Dr. de Villa, from Bob Olsen's novel The Ant with the Human Soul (1932), and Dr. Devoli, from Don Wilcox's “The Whispering Gorilla” (1940), and I theorize they are the same man. Both of those stories involve a scientist who transfers a human brain into an animal body—perhaps this was a skill of Del Valle's.

Del Valle had two children of his own, Baltasar and Peter Orloff. Baltasar Orlok's villainy was the subject of the film Wrestling Women vs. the Killer Robot (1969). Peter Orloff, and his invention of a Griffin-esque invisibility mechanism, was depicted in the film The Amazing Transparent Man (1960), where his age was altered, and his name changed to Peter Ulov. In that film, Ulov's invention is exploited by a rogue Army major; his work would again be exploited, this time by Dr. Mabuse, in the film The Invisible Claws of Dr. Mabuse (1962), where he appeared under the name Dr. Erasmus. It is likely that Erasmus was his middle name. It is also likely that his work on invisibility was based on that which his grandfather Dionysus conducted; Dr. Orloff's experiments with invisibility formed the basis of Dr. Orloff's Invisible Monster (1970). Ulov once again associated with Mabuse in The Vengeance of Dr. Mabuse (1972), this time under the name of Dr. Orloff.

Melissa and Armando were hardly Dionysus Orloff's only children. By his wife Melissa Mirakle, he also sired Alfred, Feodor, Boris, Victor, Vaughn, Katja, and Paul Orloff. However, before examining their lives, I wish to explain Dionysus Orloff's death. By 1917, Orloff had retreated to a castle under the alias of Erik Vladimir Usher, where he continued to drain women of blood for Melissa with Morpho's aid. Jess Franco's film Revenge in the House of Usher (1982) has Dr. “Usher” played by Howard Vernon, who also played Dr. Orloff, and when “Usher” talks about his past murders, we flash back to footage from The Awful Dr. Orlof. It is fairly evident the two characters are the same. This helps explain Orloff's longevity as well—Usher explains to the film's protagonist Alan Hacker that his study of medicine enabled he and Melissa to maintain relative youth long beyond their natural lifespans. It is likely that Orloff learned the secret of alchemical longevity from his ancestor, Dracula. However, for all his knowledge and determination, Orloff was killed when the “House of Usher” caved in on him, as depicted in Franco's film. It is notable that Melissa is suffering from a disease in Revenge of the House of Usher, in contrast with the burns she has suffered in The Awful Dr. Orlof, which Orloff needs skin transplants for from his unwilling victims. It is possible that Franco altered the event of Awful Dr. Orlof in an attempt to cash in on the recent release of the rather similar film, Eyes Without a Face (1959), where the insidious Dr. Genessier steals skin from unwilling victims to heal his daughter.

Dionysus Orloff's son Feodor Orloff II was the villain of the 1939 film adaptation of Edgar Wallace's The Dark Eyes of London (1924). Under the false name of Professor Dearborne, Orloff ran a false charity business which delved into murder. When he was exposed, he was forced to take on an alias, becoming instead George Richard Marlowe. Under this name, he fell in love with and married the Countess Lorenz, taking her name to become George Lorenz. The Countess was the daughter of Anton Lorenzen, who sailed aboard the Mary Celeste—a theory suggesting Lorenzen was responsible for the mysterious disappearances aboard that ship was filmed as Phantom Ship (1935). Lorenzen ignored his background of nobility, though he evidently possessed the title of Count which he passed on to his daughter. He was the son of Count Sade de Lorenz, whose madness was depicted in the film The Dungeon of Harrow (1962), where his name was changed to Lorente de Sade. The Countess seems to have suffered from the same madness that afflicted her father and grandfather, and she also began to experience the same degenerative symptoms that affected her husband's sister Melissa. In an attempt to cure her, Dr. Lorenz began kidnapping young women and transplanting their vital fluids into his wife's body. In the end, however, “the Case of the Vanishing Brides” concluded with the death of Countess Lorenz, and the seeming death of her husband along with her. This was shown in the film The Corpse Vanishes (1942), where Dr. Lorenz is played by Bela Lugosi, who also played many of the figures described in this article.

Two years after the death of his first wife, Dr. Lorenz, now calling himself Richard Marlowe, married again, but his wife again became ill. This time, Marlowe decided to use voodoo to restore his wife, again relying on beautiful young women to supply the necessary essence. Marlowe's failed scheme was depicted in the film Voodoo Man (1944). He was forced to once more to fake his death.

I've speculated on what happened to Marlowe between 1942, when I believe Voodoo Man to have taken place, and 1953, when he next showed his face. I wrote several short stories on the Orloff family, which I host on Archive of Our Own, with my story “'As I Have Decreed, So Have I Done!'” linking some of the parallels between Voodoo Man and Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) to elaborate on this eleven-year gap in Marlowe's life. By 1953 Feodor Orloff had taken the name of Eric Vornoff, and conducted the strange experiments seen in Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster (1955). During this time, he worked with Lobo, a large brutish man who was played by Tor Johnson. Johnson played a nearly identical character in the film The Unearthly (1957), and in “The Curse of Orlac” I put forth the idea that Lobo was a homunculus of similar origins to Morpho. Vornoff acquired Lobo from a pact with his ancestor Dracula, much like the one his father made. Vornoff survived his seeming death at the end of Bride of the Monster, but met his final fate in “The Curse of Orlac.”

Feodor Orloff II had a son by the Countess Lorenz, named Feodor III. Feodor III ended up involved with a secret moon mission that occurred in 1958, which involved scientists from many different fields and nations. Orloff represented the Soviet Union. On the moon, he and his fellow astronauts encountered strange disembodied presences. Their weird encounter was filmed as 12 to the Moon (1960).

Boris Kolomb Orloff ended up living under a name which combined his middle and last names—he was known as “Boris Karlov.” (His choosing nearly the same alias as actor William Pratt appears to be an astounding coincidence.) Under this name he sired at least three children, Tania, Nana, and Anya. He may have also been the father of insane actor Basil Karlo, who became an enemy of the Batman. Tania Orloff was born of a Chinese mother, a fact which earned Boris the scorn of his Asian-hating brother Victor. In Charles-Henri Dewisme's stories of Bob Morane (written under the pen name of Henri Vernes), Tania Orloff is the niece of the villainous Monsieur Ming, the Yellow Shadow. In an unpublished essay I speculate that Ming was the son of the Gray Dragon, who was an enemy of pulp hero Peter Moore, aka Peter the Brazen. He would have been the brother of Kahn Meng, who Rick Lai speculates later became Peter Moore's enemy K'ang, the Man with the Jade Mask. As Rick Lai also theorizes that the Gray Dragon was the leader of the Si-Fan before he was replaced with Fu Manchu, it is likely that Boris Orloff was an agent or affiliate of the Si-Fan. Because the Si-Fan was formed to combat the efforts of Westerners, he must have proven truly valuable to them to fit in among their ranks. He met the family of the Gray Dragon, including Kahn Meng, Ming, and a third sibling, a sister. Orloff married or had a tryst with the daughter of the Gray Dragon, producing Tania. Tania left her father to work with her uncle Ming, eventually crossing swords with Bob Morane.

Boris' daughter Nana Karlova became a dancer—she was victimized by the Svengali-like mesmerist Ivan Tsarakov, as seen in the film The Mad Genius (1931). She married Tsarakov's disciple, Fedor Ivanoff, but it is not known if they had any children. Anya Karlova, meanwhile, fell in love with a member of the Petroff family, keepers of the priceless gems known as the Drums of Jeopardy. When she died suddenly her father blamed the Petroffs for her demise, and became a campaign of vengeance against them. This was shown in Harold MacGrath's The Drums of Jeopardy (1920). Boris Orloff used all he had learned as an agent of the Si-Fan to concoct hideous deaths for his enemies.

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Atom Bezecny | 21 comments It is notable that when The Drums of Jeopardy was filmed in 1931, the character of Karlov was played by Warner Oland, who had played the titular figure of The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu just two years prior. Perhaps this was the filmmakers' way of suggesting that Boris Karlov was an associate of Fu Manchu.

Boris Orloff survived the events of MacGrath's novel and next appeared as the wicked foreign agent Boroff. Using a gas that could disintegrate matter, Boroff clashed with Lieutenant Terry Kent, in the serial SOS Coast Guard (1937). After his defeat at Kent's hands, Orloff abandoned the Boroff guise to instead become “Monsieur Colomb.” He became a plastic surgeon and offered his services as both as a surgeon and a spy to the Empire of Japan—through the organization known as the Black Dragons, Orloff gave several Japanese agents Caucasian appearances. They were then sent to the U.S. to infiltrate various American industries and sabotage them from within. However, the Black Dragons betrayed Colomb, and sentenced him to death. He escaped and took on the task of murdering the agents he helped create. This formed the events of the Bela Lugosi vehicle Black Dragons (1942). In that film, Colomb disfigures his enemy with a chemical compound—it is likely this is the same formula used by Dr. Markoff of the movie The Monster Maker (1944) to induce the disorder known as acromegaly.

Boris Orloff laid low for some time but there are several indications that he continued working as an agent of sabotage. I jokingly theorize that he may have seen an assignment for the Soviets in the late 1950s that brought him to Frostbite Falls, Minnesota with a female agent named Natasha, where they clashed with a pair of unique Moreau hybrids, created perhaps by Orloff's nephew Robert George van Ee.

Victor Orloff, as mentioned earlier, became an anti-Asian fanatic. He is known to have had one major exploit, under the name Victor Poten. He attempted to destroy American Chinatowns when their businesses threatened those of his employer, a woman named Sonja Rokoff, also known as the Dragon Lady. This was the subject of the serial Shadows of Chinatown (1936). My friend Katherine Avalon originally included the character's son, Victor Poten Jr., in her book The Fires of '16: Reign of Emperor Tromble (2016), as the fictional leader of Russia—with his name meant to be a parallel to a similarly-named modern-day Russian leader from our universe. However, she cut this reference in one of the drafts. (The Fires of '16 contains enough events that contradict history for it to not fit in with other crossover works.)

Vaughn Orloff was a roboticist who was involved with several minor cases of killer robots during the early parts of the 20th Century. He discovered he was a descendant of Dracula, and began calling himself “the Vampire,” incorporating many parts of the vampire mythos into his personality and habits (sleeping in coffins and such). In the early 1950s, one of his robots caused mayhem in Britain, until he was undone by a clumsy washerwoman named Mother Riley. During this time he used the alias of Dr. Von Housen. This formed the basis of the film Vampire Over London (1952). Upon his defeat, Vaughn Orloff retired to the United States, where he found love with a woman significantly younger than him. She tragically died of an illness, and he followed her to the grave shortly thereafter in a car accident. However, his remains and those of his wife were reanimated as part of a short-lived scheme by alien invaders. Their invasion was the inspiration for the movie Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959).

Katja Orloff was originally an original character who featured in my stories of ghostly adventurer Bloody Mary. However, I later retroactively made her the same as the titular character from Henry Robertson Waterhouse's “The Cuckoo-Girl; or, Jeffrey Pratt's Wedding” (1883) after learning of that story's existence. I've made the story available for free on Lulu, and it includes an essay connecting the events of the tale to other fictions.

Paul Orloff is one of the strangest of the Orloff siblings. He appeared on the island of San Sebastian working on zombies under the name Paul Renault, as seen in Zombies on Broadway (1945). This name was his true name as well as an alias. After the death of his wife Melissa Mirakle, Dionysus Orloff gave up his youngest son, and he was taken in by the Renault family. In truth the Renaults were cousins of the Orloffs. Nathaniel Mirakle had another daughter, Rebecca, who married a man named Renault. Their daughter was Rachel Renault, who had an affair with an Englishman named Clayton. He produced her two pairs of triplets—one raised under the name Clayton, the other under the name Renault. While I myself believe that the father was the promiscuous Sir William Clayton who was documented by Philip Jose Farmer, I could be mistaken. The brothers raised under the name Renault were Robert Parry, Amos Bradford, and Leonard Grainger Renault. The siblings known by the Clayton name were Elwyn, Lloyd, and Paula Clayton. Paul was adopted under the name Paul Renault, but he was a rebellious and theatrical child, which earned him the ire of his brother Robert. Paul worked as a stage magician, and on at least two occasions he used his magician's guise to cover up that he spied for the Nazis. He appeared under the name “Nardo” in Spooks Run Wild (1941) and “Emil” in Ghosts on the Loose (1943), which both pitted him against the East Side Kids; in both films, he is involved with fake hauntings, with the latter film revealing the haunting to be the work of the Third Reich. It is likely his full alias when working for the Nazis was Emil Nardo. To build up a reputation as a showman, it appears that for a time he ran a small movie studio under the name Joseph Steiner, where one of his actors was murdered—the murder was dramatized as The Death Kiss (1932).

Evidence for Paul Renault being the same as some of Bela Lugosi's other magician/showman characters is found in the film Scared to Death (1947), which features Lugosi as magician “Professor Leonide” alongside the psychiatrist Joseph van Ee. Van Ee is played by George Zucco who also portrayed the Renault/Clayton brothers in film. Leonide and psychiatrist are cousins but act like rival brothers. This is because they were both cousins and brothers. Joseph van Ee was actually Robert Renault under an alias. Robert, using the name “Dr. Parry,” experimented on transferring human brains into gorillas in The Monster and the Girl (1941); and his attempts to turn animals into humans were shown in Dr. Renault's Secret (1942). Robert Parry Renault was aware of his ancestor Nathaniel Mirakle's experiments on animals, and therefore became a successor to Dr. Moreau. He may have practiced brain-transfers with his cousin, Armando del Valle, under his “Dr. Devoli” guise; later his interest in the brain caused him to turn to psychiatry. Despite the immorality of his work, Robert was strongly dedicated to living up to his ancestor's legacy, and therefore hated his brother Paul for refusing to take Mirakle's achievements seriously. However, by the time he and his brother were reunited in 1945, Robert was fearful of legal repercussions for what he had done in Mirakle's name, and thus lived under the name Joseph van Ee.

Paul had previously stolen some of Robert's notes on gorilla-human experiments, and used them to write an essay on turning humans into apes which he published under name “James Brewster.” Monogram Pictures decided to turn this essay, which caused a minor stir in the scientific world, into a drama starring James Brewster as a character, which they called The Ape Man (1943). Later, Paul's stolen research would allow him to become Dr. George Zabor, whose experiments on apes and humans alike was shown in the awful film Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952). With this fixation on magic and gorillas, Orloff's previously-mentioned work on zombies seems to be a diversion from his other interests, but Paul developed an interest in Caribbean voodoo from fellow stage magicians he met who were involved with genuine matters of the occult. The work he did as Paul Renault was a union of his simultaneous love of science and magic. While he continued work on the living dead after the events of Zombies on Broadway, he was eventually ousted from his base on San Sebastian by his voodoo-using brother Richard Marlowe.

Paul Orloff had no children of his own, but he would twist his brother's descendants to an image he found suitable.

Robert Renault had a son under his Joseph van Ee alias, Ward. Ward married a woman named Laura, and though they had a contentious marriage—as seen in Scared to Death—they had a son, William, whom that film failed to mention. William van Ee was eventually convinced by great-uncle to adopt the name of Orloff, and William Orloff was the Dr. Orloff seen in the film The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff (1973). Robert George van Ee, Joseph's second son, was perhaps even more obsessed with human-animal experimentation than his father, though he wanted to more directly emulate Dr. Moreau. In fact, he changed his name to that of the doctor's, becoming R.G.V. Moreau, and he started claiming to be a descendant of the man H.G. Wells wrote of. Paul Orloff encouraged this, using the fact that he and young Robert shared the name “George” as an early in to talk to the boy. It is likely that Robert served as Paul's assistant during his animal experiments as George Zabor. A forthcoming short story of mine (submitted to Tales of the Shadowmen) shows what this version of Dr. Moreau was up to in the early '50s, but in the mid 1990s, he experienced events on his private island that became the basis for the disastrous 1996 adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau. In that film, the name “R.G.V. Moreau” is seen on a Nobel Prize which the doctor supposedly won. Given how Marlon Brando portrayed the character (and given that we know who historically won the Nobel Prizes), it is extremely unlikely that “Moreau”'s symbols of achievement were anything other than crude craft projects he printed off to impress his guests.

The other Renaults, and the Claytons, were only cousins of the Orloffs, but each of them deserves a brief description. Amos Bradford Renault, more commonly known as Amos Bradford, was the criminal known as the Black Raven. He ran a self-named inn which helped smuggle criminals across the Canadian border. In 1941, he was caught up in events that led to his death, though he showed a bit of a noble soul in the end. This was filmed as The Black Raven (1943). Leonard Grainger Renault, who went by the name Leo Grainger, was a criminal who was betrayed by some of his comrades, whose betrayal involved killing his wife. After returning from prison he took up residence in a former pirate headquarters on a distant island, and invited his former comrades out there, where he murdered them with traps. However, he met his own death, though he died with the closure of having avenged his wife. This was set to film in Fog Island (1945).

Elwyn and Lloyd Clayton developed a rivalry much like that between Paul and Robert Renault. However, this one had perhaps a more rational cause: Elwyn was a servant of the dark arts, and became a vampire. He may have also become a member of the Egyptian Priests of Karnak cult, under the name Andoheb, who was first seen in The Mummy's Hand (1940). Lloyd died destroying his vampiric brother when the latter tried to turn his own daughter Gayle into a vampire like himself, as seen in Dead Men Walk (1944). It is notable that in Fog Island, Leo Grainger's stepdaughter is named Gayle. It is likely that her mother, Karma, was originally married to Elwyn Clayton, and left him for Leo, resulting in Leo becoming Gayle's stepfather as well as her uncle.

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Atom Bezecny | 21 comments Paula Clayton was raised on a Pacific island among a tribe who worshipped a deity called Kahuna'ana'ana. She grew up with many of the local superstitions and customs instilled in her mind. She married an outsider, a scholar named Norman Reed, who tried to shake her out of her beliefs, but was confronted with the possibility of their reality by a series of unsettling incidents. Their story was told in the film Weird Woman (1944). Paula Clayton was disgusted by her husband's intolerance of her beliefs, however, and ended up having an affair with a Russian astronomer named Joseph Javorski. Their union produced a son which Paula claimed was Norman's, who was raised under the name Daniel Clayton. Joseph Javorski and Daniel Clayton's sad fates were depicted in The Beast of Yucca Flats (1956) and Plan 9 from Outer Space, with the latter being named “Daniel Clay.” Father and son were both played by Tor Johnson. My audio story “The Javorski File” has Lobo the homunculus mystically cloned from Javorski during the story's incidents.

Finally, there are the cousins of the Orloffs, from the various families who splintered off from the main Orlov branch. One of them who still ended up with the Orlov name was Podovsky Orlov, whose life was depicted in both Octopussy (1983) and Rambo II (1985); actor Steven Berkoff portrays General Orlov in Octopussy, and the similar character of Lieutenant Colonel Podovsky in Rambo II. Leonard Orlok, alias Leonard Nosferatu, is the creator of the eponymous city from Alphaville (1965); tellingly, Orlok is played by Howard Vernon, who also played Dionysus Orloff. Byron Orlok, played by Boris Karloff, was featured in the film Targets (1968), appearing as a character very similar to Karloff himself. One of my AO3 stories posits half-seriously that Byron Orlok was the father of “Olaf Orlok,” known to readers of A Series of Unfortunate Events as Count Olaf. Olaf could have inherited at least some degree of his father's acting talent, or at least he hoped he had.

Stephen Orlac was a famous pianist until an accident deprived him of his hands. He received a transplant to replace them, but the hands apparently came from an executed murderer, and through these hands the spirit of the murderer compelled Orlac to use them to kill. This was the source of Maurice Renard's novel The Hands of Orlac (1920). In “The Curse of Orlac,” I elaborated on what happened to Orlac later. Though his role in the original stretch of murders was proven to be a trick, he later on did start experiencing the desire to kill. Consulting the psychic adventurer Sâr Dubnotal, Orlac learned that his hands could have come from a relative, which would explain why there was no tissue rejection. In seeking out his relatives, Dubnotal was led to the home of Eric Vornoff, born Feodor Orloff II. It was revealed that Stephen Orlac was working with Vornoff to trap the Psychagogue, under the orders of Dracula. Dracula had been injured in battle with one of the Frankenstein's monsters, and needed Orlac's hands to perform an alchemical operation on him to help him recover—his hands had once belong to Dionysus Orloff, which allowed Orlac to invoke Orloff's mystical and surgical skills. “Dr. Usher”'s corpse had been recovered by people from the village near his castle and his tissues were used to advance medical science. It was a seeming coincidence that Orloff's hands ended up on Orlac's body. Feodor Orloff died his final death in this conflict, having survived the events of Bride of the Monster. Stephen Orlac also supposedly died, but in truth, he used Dracula's sorcery to transplant his consciousness into a fellow pianist who had been staying at Orloff's house, a man named Duncan Ely. Readers of Fred Mustard Stewart's The Mephisto Waltz (1969), or viewers of its 1971 film adaptation, can get a glimpse of what happened to Orlac's soul from there.

* Feodor Orloff II, Dr. Mirakle, George Lorenz, Richard Marlowe, Eric Vornoff, Anton Lorenzen, Boroff, Colomb, Victor Poten, Von Housen (and his undead counterpart from Plan 9), Paul Renault, Professor Leonide, James Brewster, George Zabor, Nardo, Emil, and Joseph Steiner were all played by Bela Lugosi. I hope that helps clarify some of these connections.


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Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
This definitely makes me regret my lack of education in B-movies. Great article. :-)

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Atom Bezecny | 21 comments I wish I could say my studies have led me to good places. Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.

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Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
Adam wrote: "I wish I could say my studies have led me to good places. Thank you! I'm glad you liked it."

Ha ha... I think I know that feeling.

Please feel free to share any theories you have moving forward! This is definitely what I was hoping to attract with this group.

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Jonathan Gysen | 2 comments I just read L'Île aux Chimpanzés. It is a short story written by Marija Nielsen published in 2013 by Le Carnoplaste. Here is the summary:

The primatologist Tatiana Orloff has developed a theory that humans are no match for the intelligence of chimpanzees kept in their natural environment. Humiliated by her colleagues who consider her experiments on primates obsolete and devoid of any interest, she resigns. She retired to one of the islands owned by the Orloff family and found funding to continue her observations of the apes. A few kilometers from the island where she lives, there is a second island on which she has surveillance cameras installed and she introduces chimpanzees. The chimpanzees develop their intelligence by making rudimentary weapons and are particularly aggressive when they hunt the animals brought to the island to feed them. After three years, Tatiana invites her former colleagues to her island to show them the results of her experiments. But during the dinner, she drugged them and brought them to the chimpanzee island with the help of her butler Eli. While unloading the still unconscious victims, one of them wakes up. Panic-stricken, Tatiana goes back on the boat and abandons Eli with his former colleagues who are four in number (three men and one woman). They confront the chimpanzees several times and then are confronted by Tatiana who returns to the island to hunt them with her crossbow. After many adventures, all the males are killed (monkeys and humans). Nelly, the last survivor, confronts Tatiana in a fight whose outcome is unknown. Eighteen months later, a group of tourists attracted by rumors about Tatiana land on her island and enter her home. After that, Tatiana and Nelly, who has become her ally, discreetly approach it.

Some additional information:
The geographical location of the islands is not indicated in the story, but the rules of a role-playing game based on it tells us that they are located in the Azores.
Tatiana Orloff is 45 years old at the beginning of the story. Assuming that the prologue takes place one year before the publication of the novella, she must have been born in 1962. It seems quite likely to me that she is Robert Renault's granddaughter, what do you think?

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