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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Indestructible Man (1956)

In the horror genre, there are some stellar movies... and plenty of not-so-stellar ones.  But sometimes, even the less than great horror movies have good things in them.

Charles "The Butcher" Benton vows revenge on his lawyer, Paul Lowrie for sending him to his death in the gas chamber.  After his execution, Benton's body is used for a secret experiment that revives him.  Taking this opportunity, Benton cuts a swathe of death as he heads ever closer to Lowrie and his cronies.  The police are hot on his trail, but something about "The Butcher" is different... bullets just bounce off him.  What can stop the "Indestructible Man"?

This movie stars Lon Chaney, Jr- whose father is famous for roles in "The Phantom of the Opera", and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and is a real B-movie.  So much so that it was actually featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

I have to admit that this movie is far from being great.  In fact, it's a pretty cheap rip-off of the "Frankenstein" story:  A dead body is brought to life, and the immensely strong (and mute) monster goes on a rampage.  Despite that, there are SOME good things in this movie.

I thought it was neat that they tried to blend horror and film noir genres.  The voice over was a little cheesy, but fun.  The music was an interesting mix of sci-fi/horror and detective styles as well.

Over all, the camera work was far from good, even though there were one or two decent shots and made good use of various locations around the city to make those shots more eye catching.

I found Max Showalter's police detective character to be a little bland.  The character didn't do much- other than flirt with Benton's girlfriend, and express frustration at not finding the money that Lowrie hired Benton to steal.  It was hard to cheer for him.

Marian Carr, was simply beautiful to look at- even if her character didn't do much more than unsuccessfully try to warn those "The Butcher" wanted to kill.  Having her character as a burlesque dancer did, however give the producers ample reason to show off her figure- and a very nice figure it was too.

The character of Paul Lowrie had more depth than Showalter's character... but was ultimately forgettable enough that I can't even remember the actor's name that played him.

And then, there's Lon Chaney, Jr..  I have to admit that even though he did great in the role- it wasn't enough to bring this movie up to the status of his father's films.  His only dialog was at the start of the film.  As soon as he was revived, he didn't utter a thing.  Essentially, he was a shambling Frankenstein type of killer.  The burn make-up at the end of the movie though wasn't bad (not great), and was probably quite shocking for the time this movie came out.  Also, Chaney does give us a decent example of "crazy eyes" as well.

Even with Lon Chaney, Jr bringing his skill to this movie, it was not enough to save this film from being declared one of "The Ugly".

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