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Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) movie poster

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris  Karloff  starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff

Actually, despite the title of  Abbott and  Costello  Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, Boris Karloff  isn’t  the killer — €”but, he is quite funny in this movie.   In a nutshell, Lou Costello  plays a bellhop who is falsely accused of murder; His pal  Bud Abbott  tries to help, but only succeeds in getting Lou into more trouble.  

Boris Karloff plays the role of a hypnotist, who tries to hypnotize Lou into confessing — but Lou is too stupid to be hypnotized.   As more bodies pile up, there’s plenty of opportunities for Lou to do his patented frightened reactions.   A good movie, which I enjoyed, and hope you will too.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff – Lou’s too dumb to be hypnotized?

Cast of characters


Seven clients of the murdered Strickland. They decide that they must conceal their (criminal?) pasts and that Freddie must take the blame for the murders

Angela (Lenore Aubert) seducing the hapless Freddie (Lou Costello) in "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff"
  • Boris Karloff (The Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy) … Swami Talpur. Former client of Strickland’s. He tries to hypnotize Freddie into suicide. But Freddie’s too stupid for it to work!
  • Lenore Aubert (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein) … Angela Gordon. She tries to seduce Freddie, and gets him to sign a bogus confession.
  • Victoria Horne (Harvey, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir) … Mrs. Hargreave
  • Roland Winters (The Feathered Serpent) … T. Hanley Brooks
  • Harry HaydenLawrence Crandall
  • Claire Du BreyMrs. Grimsby
  • Vincent RennoMike Relia. His gun was used to murder Strickland. Eventually, he’s also murdered.

Other characters

  • Gar Moore (Illegal Entry) … Jeff Wilson
  • Donna Martell (Project Moonbase) … Betty Crandall
  • Alan Mowbray (Merrily We Live) … Melton. The hotel manager.
  • James Flavin (King Kong) … Inspector Wellman
  • Nicholas Joy (Desk Set) … Amos Strickland. Prominent criminal attorney. The first murder victim, whose corpse Freddie is unlucky enough to find.
  • Mikel Conrad (The Flying Saucer) … Sgt. Stone
  • Morgan Farley (High Noon, Soylent Green) … Gregory Milford. The late Mr. Strickland’s secretary. Later on, he’s also murdered.
  • Percy Helton (My Friend Irma) … Abernathy

Trivia for  Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff  (1949)

  • This was originally intended as a vehicle for Bob Hope  . After the huge success of  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein  (1948), Universal-International wanted another thrill comedy with  Bud Abbott  and  Lou Costello  so the script was rewritten for them. Oddly enough, the role played by Boris Karloff was originally written for a woman.
  • After filming was completed, Lou Costello was bedridden for several months due to a relapse of rheumatic fever, which he originally battled in 1943. As a result, the duo did not make another film together until Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, a year later.
  • The film was originally banned in Denmark due to the scene where corpses play cards.

The Swami

Boris Karloff as The Swami

[the Swami tries to get a hypnotized Freddie to kill himself]
Swami Talpur (Boris Karloff): Perhaps you should choose the manner of your death. How would you like to die?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): Old age.

Swami Talpur (Boris Karloff): [to Freddie] You’re going to commit suicide if it’s the last thing you do!

Swami Talpur (Boris Karloff): [to Freddie in a hypnotic voice] You didn’t see me… you didn’t see me… you didn’t see me… I wasn’t here
Casey Edwards: [to Freddy] Ready to go?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): I didn’t see him.
Casey Edwards: You didn’t see who?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): The man who wasn’t here.
Casey Edwards: What man?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): All I did was open up the door, see if the coast was clear, my mind went blank.
Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): Your mind’s been a blank all your life.

Freddie’s room

Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): It’s a booby trap.
Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): For what?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): For boobs.

Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): [seeing one of Freddie’s booby traps] That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): Oh yeah? Well let me tell you something, if the murderer comes in here alone, somebody else is gonna carry him out.

Murder attempts

Freddie Phillips: [upon escaping a  steam box] I saw a hand turn around the corner, and he put on a lot of steam, all the steam he could put on, f-full force… I think somebody’s trying to kill me.

Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): I have a confession to make.
Angela Gordon: You did it?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): No, I mean that stuff
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): I don’t drink that stuff, that’s like drinking poison.
Angela Gordon: Oh come on…
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): Oh stop it, the bubbles’ is tickling my nose.
Angela Gordon: For little Angela…
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): I wouldn’t drink it for big Angela.

Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): Who’s the culprit?
Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): The culprit and the murderer are the same!

Abernathy: [referring to bridge game] What’d she bid?
Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): Grand slam.
Abernathy: [Looking at Freddie’s hand] You bid a grand slam on that hand? You know what?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): What?
Abernathy: You’re going to get murdered.

Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): It’s Milford. Strickland’s secretary.
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): What’s he hangin’ around here for?
Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): He’s hang – – He’s dead, you dope.

Abernathy: Things have been awfully dead around here.
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): Much deader than you think.

Inspector Wellman

Insp. Wellman: Were you and Relia in cahoots?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): [having seen Relia’s body] The last time I saw Relia, he didn’t talk to me.
Insp. Wellman: If I could only find Relia. I could make him talk.
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): If you could, that would be a good trick.
Sgt. Stone: He could make him talk. You don’t know Wellman.
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): You don’t know Relia.

Insp. Wellman: I’m going to locate Milford and Relia if I have to take this hotel apart with my own hands.

Insp. Wellman: Someone in this room knows a lot more than he or she is admitting, and I intend to find out who it is.

Freddie and Casey

Casey and Freddie in "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff"

Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): Freddie, where did you that gun?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): I don’t know.
Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): Freddie, for the last time! Where did you get that gun?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): I don’t know.
Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott): Where did you get that gun?
Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): Hey, that’s not fair. You said “for the last time”. I answered it.

Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello): Ain’t I a lucky stiff? Lucky stiff? I should’ve never left Patterson.

Updated April 5, 2022

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