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On the run from the law, the Creeper (Rondo Hatton), a horribly
disfigured murderer, finds refuge at Helen's (Jane Adams) place - she's
bling so she can't see his face, and her kindness touches something in
him. Still, his brain is addled, so the next day he kills a delivery boy
(Jack Parker) who has gotten a bit too nosey and only narrowly escapes the
police ... but leaves behind enough evidence for police captain Donelly
(Donald MacBride) and his sidekick lieutnant Gates (Peter Whitney) to
figure out his true identity - and what's probably even more important,
his next prospective victims, the couple that accidently caused his
disfiguration - you know, the Creeper was once a handsome college football
star (and in flashbacks played by Fred Coby), madly in love with fellow
student Virginia (Jan Wiley), but he was so obtrusive that her actual
boyfriend (and now husband) Clifford (Tom Neal) playd a trick on him that
eventually ended in a lab accident - and the Creeper's horribly disfigured
Of course, the Creeper eventually, and despite all precautions
on behalf of the police, breaks into Virginia and Clifford's home ... but
not to murder them, just to steel their jewellery. When he does murder
Clifford, it's rather an accident - but the jewellery he needs to pay for
an operation for Helen to regain her eyesight. However, when Helen wants
to cash the jewels she's picked up by the police and ultimately used as
bait to catch the Creeper ...
A movie with uncharacteristically
high production values for a PRC-quickie - basically because it
wasn't produced by PRC at all but by Universal,
who after the untimely death of its lead actor, the acromegalic Rondo
Hatton, decided not to release the movie - officially out of piety, but
the fact that they still decided to make money out of it by selling it to PRC
puts the piety into question ...
The film itself isn't all bad actually,
basically a macabre thriller based on Rondo Hatton's malformed features,
but he is given an actual personality too, and a tender side, which in
turn adds some heart to the movie often enough missing in similar
thrillers or horror films. And at least in some instances, nice
atmospheric filmmaking seems to shine through, too. But that said, The
Brute Man is certainly no masterpiece, just one of the more decent
programmers coming from PRC or Universal
from that period - and both studios in the mid-1940's tended to produce
more misses than hits ...