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Reginald Le Borg
Lon Chaney Jr.,
Marcel De Lange is a struggling sculptor whose work and sanity are derided by the New York art critics. After waspishly officious critic F. Holmes Harmon ruins a sale for De Lange by dismissing his expressionistic cubist work as "tripe" and later gloating about it in his column, the distraught artist goes to the river to drown himself. There he discovers the half-drowned body of the notorious serial killer, the Creeper, and takes him back to his studio to recover. Feeling empowered by the friendship of the acromegalic sociopath, De Lange tasks him with murdering the critics who have pilloried him in print. When successful commercial artist Steve Morrow is wrongly suspected of the crimes, his art critic girlfriend Joan Medford decides to follow her instinct about a mysterious bust De Lange has suspiciously covered in his studio, and she decides to snoop around. Written by
Second of three CREEPER films for Rondo Hatton, filmed September 1945, but released March 29, 1946, following Hatton's death on February 2. See more »
In the penultimate scene, De Lange talks about the Creeper in seeming unawareness of his presence, even though the Creeper has already left his place of concealment and is standing right in front of De Lange. See more »
After saving the man's life from drowning, a vengeful sculptor uses a psychotic killer in a ploy to take down the spiteful art critics plaguing his work and forces a journalist to get the police on the trail of the killing spree.
Overall this one was a pretty decent if not entirely spectacular entry. One of the biggest marks against this one is the fact that the film continually finds itself traveling back-and-forth to the artists' laboratory despite continually being made aware of the killer's existence which really seems foolish and destined for danger. Not only is it completely at odds with the fact that she's obviously headstrong and determined not to do this repeatedly, the fact that her ignorance against the killer's identity despite plenty of evidence to the contrary in her earlier discovery of the sketch along with the note from the editing room asking for the purpose of printing the article all without protection or even advising the authorities on the matter makes her seem destined for death one way or another. Likewise, the fact that this one tries to play off the fact of his apartment encounter is really retribution for those actions which results in the mistaken identity issue has no reason to exist due to these early scenes giving him not only the look but also the general feel of this one so he shouldn't have had any problems carrying this out. Still, there's a few rather enjoyable parts here with the fact that the early stalking scenes are set-up to be quite chilling and typically enjoyable romps through the darkened alleyways famous in these kinds of efforts, the ability to pull off a kill against a suspect in police protection from the other room away is quite inventive and this manages to get a lot of mileage out of the unique and distinct appearance of the main killer. The grotesque, misshapen features and imposing appearance certainly get some great use throughout the sculpting scenes which have an uneasy air to them based on their relationship, and certainly helps in the finale with a lot of fine action that comes into play due to the killer's appearance, but otherwise this one didn't have much else for it.
Today's Rating-PG: Violence.
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