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The Brute Man

USA 1946
produced by
Ben Pivar for PRC
directed by Jean Yarbrough
starring Rondo Hatton, Tom Neal, Jan Wiley, Jane Adams, Donald MacBride, Peter Whitney, Fred Coby, Janelle Johnson Dolenz, Oscar O'Shea, Jack Parker, Joseph Crehan, Lorin Raker, John Hamilton, Charled Wagenheim, Mary Ann Bricker, Peggy Converse, Warren Jackson
story by Dwight V. Babcock, screenplay by George Bricker, M. Coates Webster, musical direction: Hans J. Salter

the Creeper

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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On the run from the law, the Creeper (Rondo Hatton), a horribly disfigured murderer, finds refuge at Helen's (Jane Adams) place - she's bling so she can't see his face, and her kindness touches something in him. Still, his brain is addled, so the next day he kills a delivery boy (Jack Parker) who has gotten a bit too nosey and only narrowly escapes the police ... but leaves behind enough evidence for police captain Donelly (Donald MacBride) and his sidekick lieutnant Gates (Peter Whitney) to figure out his true identity - and what's probably even more important, his next prospective victims, the couple that accidently caused his disfiguration - you know, the Creeper was once a handsome college football star (and in flashbacks played by Fred Coby), madly in love with fellow student Virginia (Jan Wiley), but he was so obtrusive that her actual boyfriend (and now husband) Clifford (Tom Neal) playd a trick on him that eventually ended in a lab accident - and the Creeper's horribly disfigured face ...

Of course, the Creeper eventually, and despite all precautions on behalf of the police, breaks into Virginia and Clifford's home ... but not to murder them, just to steel their jewellery. When he does murder Clifford, it's rather an accident - but the jewellery he needs to pay for an operation for Helen to regain her eyesight. However, when Helen wants to cash the jewels she's picked up by the police and ultimately used as bait to catch the Creeper ...

 

A movie with uncharacteristically high production values for a PRC-quickie - basically because it wasn't produced by PRC at all but by Universal, who after the untimely death of its lead actor, the acromegalic Rondo Hatton, decided not to release the movie - officially out of piety, but the fact that they still decided to make money out of it by selling it to PRC puts the piety into question ...

The film itself isn't all bad actually, basically a macabre thriller based on Rondo Hatton's malformed features, but he is given an actual personality too, and a tender side, which in turn adds some heart to the movie often enough missing in similar thrillers or horror films. And at least in some instances, nice atmospheric filmmaking seems to shine through, too. But that said, The Brute Man is certainly no masterpiece, just one of the more decent programmers coming from PRC or Universal from that period - and both studios in the mid-1940's tended to produce more misses than hits ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD