Weird Woman

Weird Woman is a 1944 Inner Sanctum film noir mystery and horror film directed by Reginald Le Borg and starring Lon Chaney Jr., Anne Gwynne, and Evelyn Ankers.[1][2] The "Inner Sanctum" franchise originated with a popular radio series and all of the films star Chaney Jr. The film is one of several films based on the novel Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, the others include Night of the Eagle (1962) and Witches' Brew (1980). Co-star Evelyn Ankers had previously worked with Chaney in Ghost of Frankenstein, when Chaney played the monster, and The Wolf Man, when Chaney played the wolf man.

Weird Woman
Theatrical poster
Directed byReginald Le Borg
Produced by
Screenplay byBrenda Weisberg
Story byW. Scott Darling
Based onConjure Wife
by Fritz Leiber
Music byPaul Sawtell
CinematographyVirgil Miller
Edited byMilton Carruth
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • March 1, 1944 (1944-03-01) (United States)
Running time
63 minutes
CountryUnited States


Professor Norman Reed (Chaney, Jr.) falls in love with and marries a woman named Paula (Gwynne) while on vacation in the South Seas. When they return to his hometown, she is greeted coolly by much of the community, especially Ilona (Ankers), who felt that Reed was hers. Strange things begin to happen, including the death of a colleague, which turns people against her even more, especially as she believes in voodoo and other supernatural phenomena. Reed must work hard to prove her innocence and find the real culprit behind the strange doings.[3]



Director Reginald LeBorg recalls being given the script on a Friday and being told to begin shooting a week from Monday; the cast was filled out shortly before filming. This rushed production schedule was the norm at Universal.[5] Inner Sanctum films cost approximately $150,000 to produce, and shooting schedules were routinely 12 days.

Actress Evelyn Ankers would later say that she found playing a villainess rather difficult. When LeBorg would say "action" and Ankers would try to exact a menacing look, she and co-star Anne Gwynne would almost inevitably start laughing. Universal never hired her to play a villain again.[6]


  1. Maddrey, Joseph (2012-02-15). Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film. McFarland. ISBN 9780786482740.
  2. Dixon, Wheeler W. (1998). The Transparency of Spectacle: Meditations on the Moving Image. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791437810.
  3. Rowan, Terry (2016-10-14). Hollywood Monsters & Creepy Things. ISBN 9781365461972.
  4. Senn, Bryan (1998). Drums of Terror: Voodoo in the Cinema. Midnight Marquee & BearManor Media.
  5. Weaver, Tom; Brunas, John (2011-12-20). Universal Horrors: The Studio’s Classic Films, 1931–1946, 2d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9780786491506.
  6. Senn, Bryan (1998). Drums of Terror: Voodoo in the Cinema. Midnight Marquee & BearManor Media.

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