Oct 3, 2011
From the Horror Movie Poster of the Day File: In The Devil Bat (1940), Bela Lugosi plays Dr. Paul Carruthers, who invents a shaving lotion/cologne that attracts giant killer bats. And while he’s at it, Carruthers invents a giant killer bat! He’s not just doing this for kicks. He’s trying to get revenge on a rich family that owns a local company and chiseled him out of his share of the profits of the successful lotions and perfumes he invented for them. So why wouldn’t we root for Carruthers against these capitalist parasites? Handsome Dave (Reefer Madness) O’Brien turns up as a reporter, who travels to the scene of the deadly bat attacks with his sidekick, photographer One-Shot Maguire (Donald Kerr). Suzanne Kaaren (star of the Three Stooges’ classic Disorder in the Court) turns up as the movie’s token babe. It doesn’t end so well for poor Dr. Carruthers, which wouldn’t have been the case if Yours Truly wrote the screenplay to this sucker.
Aug 11, 2011
Movie Poster of the Day: The Brute Man (1946) starred Rondo Hatton, an actor who suffered from a condition called Acromegaly, which results in excessive growth hormone production and can lead to severe deformities. Born in 1894, Hatton appeared in numerous films before starring in this Universal Pictures B horror film, which was eventually released by Poverty Row studio Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). In today’s market, this film would be one of those straight-to-DVD movies. Universal backed out of distributing the film because Rondo Hatton died on February 2, 1946, of a severe heart attack related to his condition. Nervous about releasing a film with a dead star, Universal sold the film to PRC for a measly $125,000. The Brute Man was directed by Jean Yarbrough, who started in horror movies (he directed the wonderful Bela Lugosi PRC film Devil Bat) and later graduated to Abbott and Costello films. The Brute Man is about a character called The Creeper who has a tragic past. We eventually learn that he disfigured himself in a college chemistry mishap, thanks to the machinations of a nasty student (played by Tom Neal of Detour) who was competing with him for the affections of a female student. The Creeper eventually gets his revenge on his old college buddy that stabbed him in the back, but in the process, the poor menacing man (whose real name in the film is Hal) is eventually fatally wounded and dies. The Brute Man is fascinating yet not always easy to watch, made all the more tragic when you’re aware of Hatton’s painful backstory and a life cut short by a tragic syndrome.