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The Creeping Flesh (1973)

PG | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 1973 (UK)
A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones ... See full summary »


Freddie Francis


Peter Spenceley (original screenplay), Jonathan Rumbold (original screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Lee ... James Hildern
Peter Cushing ... Emmanuel Hildern
Lorna Heilbron ... Penelope
George Benson George Benson ... Waterlow
Kenneth J. Warren Kenneth J. Warren ... Lenny
Duncan Lamont ... Inspector
Harry Locke Harry Locke ... Barman
Hedger Wallace Hedger Wallace ... Doctor Perry
Michael Ripper ... Carter
Catherine Finn ... Emily
Robert Swann Robert Swann ... Young Aristocrat
David Bailie ... Young Doctor
Maurice Bush Maurice Bush ... Karl
Tony Wright ... Sailor
Marianne Stone ... Female Assistant


A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones unleashing a malevolent being on the scientist's family and friends. Written by Ray Hamel <hamel@primate.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A terrifying journey through the nightmare worlds of evil, insanity and terrible revenge. See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Freddie Francis took over directing from Don Sharp at short notice. See more »


When Emmanuel visits Dr. Hildern after the death of his wife, a book stand appears out of nowhere between cuts, to the right of Hildern at his desk. See more »


James Hildern: I've got to get hold of that skeleton somehow.
Doctor Perry: Oh I don't know... There is the question of professional ethics.
James Hildern: Oh indeed, indeed... that is why I shall have to employ someone for whom ethics have no significance.
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Alternate Versions

Early UK cinema versions were cut by the BBFC to remove a shot of a sailor's slashed throat. All later releases were uncut. See more »


Featured in Out of this World Super Shock Show (2007) See more »

User Reviews

A Good Project that Fails for Too Many Ingredients
29 December 2006 | by ragosaalSee all my reviews

This film's idea of a reviving ancient flesh when in contact with water is truly original, its sordid atmosphere is very well achieved and Peter Cushing and Cristopher Lee's presence give it a sort of category in the genre. In fact, when Cushing arrives back in England with a strange scary huge skeleton from New Guinea and you learn that water could bring it back to life you have the feeling you'll watch a most interesting horror picture focused mainly in that strange fact.

But then other story appears about Cushing's insane wife's death and their daughter's obsession with her mother that turns into a parallel plot. And that's when "The Creeping Flesh" looses quality and sense -in its genre of course- and things start to mix up badly; there is also a mad killer at large (not frightening at all). What I mean is that so many different topics -unrelated between them- is too much for just one film, and the final outcome is not a good product. Besides, the special effects of the Papuan monster came to life are poor, even for 1973.

Perhaps a better product would have come out if the film had stayed with just the archaelogical evil creature, but it seems the writers couldn't find a way to develop the subject and make a full script out of it.

The picture has some good moments, but in my opinion it is just for Cushing and Lee's fans and no more than that.

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Release Date:

1973 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Creeping Flesh See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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