Brutal: The Brute Man

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  1. Hal Moffat is a college football hero. After a tragic dating mishap leads to an explosion in the college chem lab, Hal is disfigured, and disappears. Years later, he belatedly takes revenge on those he blames for his accident by breaking their backs, becoming known as…The Creeper. Seeing how no one calls him The Brute Man, shouldn’t the movie be called The Creeper? Anyhoo, a pair of bored detectives sit around and do less detective work than Harrison Ford did in BLADE RUNNER. Hal falls for a blind lady, and strays from his To Kill list to knock off a jeweler, giving the loot to the blind lady, who ends up doing more to get The Creeper than do the cops. In the relentlessly gray climax, everyone behaves in an orderly fashion and Hal is taken away. The police give the blind lady sight.003c5309
  2. This is one of the earliest Hollywood prequels. I haven’t seen the original HOUSE OF HORRORS, but Rondo Hatton was not much of an actor, so why not just have him play the same part again? He’s a big, scary-looking guy who kills folks–why reinvent the wheel? Rondo Hatton suffered from acromegaly, a pituitary disorder which causes benign but disfiguring tumors. As with FREAKS, THE BRUTE MAN exploits an actual medical condition to create a movie monster.
  3. Why is Hal living in the worst waterfront property ever, UNDER a dock? There are only so many places an outcast can live in the city that rarely sleeps.  It’s the city equivalent of living off in a castle or cave. He’s got a whole ocean at his doorstep into which he can dump a body, but he keeps it in the middle of the floor in his one-room hovel. At least the cops didn’t have to break a sweat to find the latest victim.
  4. According to the PRC page on Wikipedia, Universal sold the finished product to PRC due to their ceasing production of ultra-cheapies and because they didn’t want to be accused of exploiting star Rondo Hatton’s death. It’s so cute to think that a studio did not want to be seen as exploiting human tragedy for ticket sales funny.4c2c1071286eca74b8327dac90204339
  5. Makeup man Jack Pierce worked on this, but did not have much to do.Brute Man (2)
  6. Another ‘wronged monster’ we’re to both fear AND feel bad for, ala Kong, Frankenstein, Wolfman. Even though I felt bad for the actor’s medical condition, I didn’t feel a thing for the character of The Creeper because Hatton was not a good actor. I stopped thinking about his medical condition in seconds, but Hatton is unable to shade his voice, walks slowly, and had two expressions: a serious expression and a serious expression with his eyes opened a little wider. The only variety in his performance was due to a couple of lower angle shots.  Most of his dialogue is with the blind girl, and he uses a softer tone when talking to her than when he’s talking to the couple he shakes down for money.  He just has zero shading. Maybe he should have taken dance lessons; worked for Fred Astaire.
  7. Tom Neal is the best actor in the movie. He had a tumultuous personal life, to say the least: He beat the crap out of Franchot Tone, got mostly small parts except for the one he’s known for–the “hero” of DETOUR–became a landscaper, and went to prison for killing his wife.  This description is more interesting than the movie.th (1)
  8. There is a scene with a cranky grocer who hollers at the kid who works for him. It should be a nothing part, but Oscar O’Shea lives the ‘There are no small parts, only small actors” cliche and knocks it out of the park. The delivery kid is obsessed with The Creeper, his boss doesn’t want to hear about it. “You’re getting paid to work!” he says, in a scene that should be mandatory viewing for millennial layabouts. Actually, forget it, because O’Shea comes off like the crankiest son of a bitch you’ve ever pushed a broom for, getting after the kid for listening to the radio on work time. The guy goes absolutely apeshit and sends the kid to his doom; it’s like something out of a John Waters movie. The producers missed out on a crowd-pleasing moment when they didn’t have Hal break this old bastard’s back.  “HERE’S your dollar and a quarter!” The Creeper could have said before breaking the old dude’s back like a breadstick. The audience would’ve applauded.
  9. This is a movie without a hero. The dullard detective and his captain just kind of poke around, strictly 9-to-5 sorts, no obsessiveness over finding the killer. Neither has ever been told “You care too much!” They play cards and wait for the back-breaker to drop by and give himself up.003c5307
  10. This was just about the end for the Universal Monster Factory. It’s gray, dreary and routine, with nothing going for it but the carnival freak show aspect.  There’s a reason freak shows died out.Brute Man (27)
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