Some writers I respect, including Tom Weaver in Poverty Row Horrors, have trashed this film and accuse many "Strangler" fans of parroting an earlier upbeat review by William Everson in "Classics of the Horror Film." I can't speak for others, but I never read Everson's book and Weaver is just plain wrong. There is a pervasive atmosphere of dread Wisbar creates as the Strangler slowly goes after his revenge. The swamp creates a claustrophobic atmosphere that adds to the dread. I admire LaPlanche's mixture of stoicism and faith to deal with the terror.
Here is a small capsule review I wrote for "Strangler of the Swamp" as part of a column for The Standard-Examiner and also on Plan 9 Crunch's main blog:
"Strangler of the Swamp" — Made in 1948, this atmospheric thriller involves a man, hanged for a murder he didn't commit, who returns as a ghost and assumes the role of ferryman at the swamp. Instead of ferrying passengers, he strangles locals in revenge. Finally, a young woman (Rosemary LaPlanche) prepares to offer herself as a sacrifice to get the ghost to leave. The strangler (Charles Middleton) was "Emperor Ming" in the old "Flash Gordon" serials.
As mentioned, a great 40s C genre film, better than most A productions of that time. Don't miss it!
-- Doug Gibson