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
Rondo Hatton is the original Monster Without Make-up. He suffered from acromegaly, the disease caused disfigurement to face, spine, hands and feet. Doctors believed what set off this glandular disease in Rondo was exposure to poison gas in World War I. 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 »
Lunacy abounds...mostly amongst the few comments about this b-picture gem, but to that later. In this horror film, the lunacy of artist Martin Koslek directing the killer tendencies of Rondo Hatton to dispatch unfavorable art critics is inspired. It's quite a contrast to watch Koslek be wonderfully melodramatic while Hatton remains as flat as a board, which is perfect for his character. All this is done within the context of the period, and with all the elements mixing in a way to create, perhaps serendipitously, a chilling and vastly entertaining blend.
To the dimwits who have not been able to see beyond the constraints of their modern attitudes and mores, you are missing it. Rondo Hatton did not "intensely dislike" his brief career as a film fright figure, he was indifferent to it, and the prevailing common attitude towards working women in 1940s America was that they eventually would become married, stay-at-home mothers. The film isn't 'anti-feminist' at a time when the term feminist wasn't used, and when both men and women, not all but most, felt this way of life was appropriate.
So to you dunces I say, march onward, great re-writers of history, and make sure you burn Birth of a Nation, and continue to press Disney to never release Song of the South. Perhaps we ought to ban the Three Stooges, as well, for their insensitive, boorish portrayal of the common working man, and of course, to add insult to injury, they were also Jewish.
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