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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


More frightening than Frankenstein! More dreaded than Dracula! 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 comes in out of the heavy rainstorm, his hair is dry and his cloak shows only a few wet spots. 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 »


References The Skull (1965) See more »

User Reviews

Slow but interesting
20 June 2007 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Kindly, absent-minded professor Emmanuel Hildren (Peter Cushing) brings home the skeleton of what he thinks was a prehistoric man. His evil brother James (Christopher Lee) runs an asylum. Things get complicated but by the end of the movie there are two maniacs and a monster running around loose!

This is a slow but OK horror movie. The script is kind of silly. Most of the first hour is all talk and the revelation of what the skeleton really is is absolutely ridiculous--but Cushing manages to put it through. It's more of an old-fashioned horror movie than the blood and gore movies Hammer was putting out at the same time. The rating is PG and there are only two bloody (but tame) throat slashings. Also the look you get of the monster actually made me jump. I loved it the first time I saw it on TV (edited) back in the early 1980s but, unfortunately, it doesn't hold up on a second viewing. The plot was a whopper. I could handle it the first time but the second time around I thought it was just dumb.

Good acting all around helps. Cushing and Lee (playing brothers!) are just great--but I think those two were incapable of giving a bad performance. Lorna Heilbron was also good as Cushing'd daughter Penelope. She has do a complete turnabout with her character halfway through the movie and she pulls it off.

Worth seeing for horror fans--especially people who like old-fashioned ones.

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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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