Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Brute Man

I recently watched "The Brute Man" as the second part of the double feature dvd "M is for Madman". "M is for Madman" is the third in Bill Blacks' Crypt of Horror series which takes us back to the days when drive-in movies and late night horror hosts were two of the things that made weekends so much fun. "M is for Madman" features "The Man Who Turned to Stone" and "The Brute Man" hosted by Lon Madnight.

Lon Madnight
is our horror host. He appears before and after each film to provide insightful trivia about the movie to be seen and later leave us with some final thoughts and a chuckle or two. He's exactly what's needed in a horror host. The production values on the dvd are top notch. The films are crisp and clear with excellent sound. The movies can be seen without the Lon Madnight openings and closings, but they're so much fun, who'd want to miss them? Priced at less than twenty bucks for two remastered movies and Lon Midnight -- you'd be hard pressed to find a cheaper evening of family fun.

I reviewed "The Man Who Turned to Stone" here, so let's take a look at "The Brute Man"...

The Pitch: "Frankenstein" meets "The Dark Man" set in the 1940s. A star high school football player is left disfigured by a practical joke and years later comes back for revenge.

The Good: The movie moves at a brisk pace. All of the cliches of the genre can be found here: spinning newspapers with headlines updating us on what we've just seen, the blind girl who doesn't know she's harboring the killer, a huge disfigured monster who walks the streets at night and easily escapes the cops after each murder... and there's even some comic relief with the chief of police and city commissioners. And let's not forget Rondo Hattan.

The Bad: How The Creeper kills his victims - he breaks their backs!

The Ugly: The Creeper.

The Summary: There are a couple of things that will make this a must own dvd for fans of the genre:

1] It was produced by Universal Pictures, so completists will want it for their collection to place along side "Frankenstein," "Dracula," etc.

2] It stars Rondo Hatton as the monster. Hattan suffered from acromegaly, a disease which caused abnormal growth of his hands, feet, and face. Because of the disfigurement caused by the disease, makeup wasn't needed for Hattan. Most reports attribute the onset of this disease to Hattan's exposure to mustard gas in World War I. Hattan is somewhat of a legend among horror buffs and even has a horror award named after him!

Trivia: Janelle Johson had a supporting role in the film. Her biggest claim to fame is probably that she is the mother of Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees!

If you'd like to see a clip of the first three minutes of "The Brute Man" click HERE. If you'd like more information about the dvd then click HERE.


Christopher Mills said...

One of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

This is when the horror genre was at it's best. I have yet to see "The Brute Man", but it sounds to be up my alley. Thanks for the recomendation Craig!


Anonymous said...

This is actually a spinoff from "Sherlock Holmes and the Pearl of Death"- which was the first movie to feature Rondo Hattan as "The Creeper". The character was Universal's attempt at launching a new monster, and Hattan followed "Pearl" by portraying the character again in "House of Horrors".

Hattan also appeared (albeit not as The Creeper) in a second Holmes' spinoff: "The Spider Woman Strikes Back". However, this was largely a sequel in name only, since Gale Sondergaard didn't portray the same character.

"The Rocketeer" would later pay tribute to Hattan, by using him as inspiration for the villain's henchman, Lothar.


Craig Zablo said...

SheriffFreddyHeflin, You really should check it out! As my buddy Jim Ivey used to say, "It's available!"

spiderrico, Thanks for the facts -- some of which I didn't know!

Craig Zablo said...

Chris, somehow I thought it might be!