FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 27, 2006

Day 24- zzap!

"He knew who he was...and he knew who he hated."

I decided to step into the Wayback Machine today and set the dial for "B-Movie: Awesome"...sadly, I miscalculated my coordinates and ended up in "B-Movie: Boring".

Lon Chaney stars in Indestructible Man (1956) as Charles "The Butcher" Benton, a nefarious fellow who masterminded an armored car heist, netting a cool 600Gs. When his partners turn state's evidence and Benton is sentenced to die, he vows to somehow kill his partners and his slimebag lawyer but good.

After San Quentin sees to gassing up The Butcher, his corpse is given to a noble biochemist who's trying to find a cure for cancer. Delighted to finally have a human specimen to experiment with, The Noble Biochemist pumps The Butcher full of...err, goo and zaps him with 300,000 volts of pure electric electricity. As can be expected, the procedure brings The Butcher back to life. He's not only back, however- he's back and better than ever, for he's now...an invulnerable mute!

Like any good invulnerable mute, The Butcher promptly strangles The Noble Biochemist and sets off towards Los Angeles to wreak his vengeful revenge on his stoolie jerko partners.

This sounds fantastic, right? Sure it does! 15 minutes into Indestructible Man, I was starting to wonder how I could go about becoming an invulnerable mute myself, because frankly it would solve a lot of my problems. Much to my chagrin though, the movie promptly slows to a crawl and we get large chunks of time wherein Lon Chaney walks around with his hands in the pockets of his rather stylish coat and sweats.

We also spend lots of time with the detective who's been working The Butcher case for more than a year...Lieutenant Dick Chasen. I'll leave comments on that name up to you- I mean, I can't give you everything, people.

With tighter direction and better writing, Indestructible Man could've kicked ass. For example, when The Butcher does meet up with his old cronies, he wastes no time taking care of business- his eyes get all crazy and he picks people up and throws them. The problem is all the non-crazy-eyed "action", which crawls along at a dreadfully dull pace. This movie clocked in at about 80 minutes, when it should've been 60. Why pad things out? If it takes 60 minutes to tell your story well, then it takes 60 minutes. I'd rather have more Lon Chaney throwing people than Lon Chaney sweating. Oh well. It just goes to show that even movies featuring invulnerable mutes aren't always going to be great...and yes, this was shocking to me. I give it 4.5 out of 10 I need a sweet nickname like The Butchers.

5 comments:

m13b said...

Oh, how cool is that? Local horror host Penny Dreadful is going to be showing this movie tonight on her show.

Kismet, I tells ya.

Anonymous said...

Hello Thrill Seekers

Accidently stumbled on to this and was surprised to see that the era of the great stars of horror still exist.

Though classed as "B" movies today they were the founders of the "FX" that we now have. In their "Hey Day" they were the best of blood curdling, seat gripping emotions of entertainment.

Great site, keep up the chills, and as Boris Carloff says "Pleasent Dreams"
Maj. Damage

Stacie Ponder said...

Thanks for stopping by, Major Damage, sir! You're absolutely right- what's "quaint" now was "terrifying" back in the day...hell, sometimes these movies are still terrifying. I love classic horror films, especially with all the late great stars: Karloff, Chaney, Lugosi, Cushing...and the great but not late Christopher Lee.

Film had a different pace back then, for sure, and sometimes they get a little dry. That's what happened (for me) in the second half of Indestructible Man, which bummed me out- the first half was so great!

Amanda By Night said...

I like the older movies too, but I have to say I'm more a novice to that era, which is a shame. I have yet to see the Uninvited... I'm lame, dontcha know?

Amanda By Night

Bill Walsh said...

Hey, I've actually seen that one! Not bad, as you say. You know what's a cool old-school occupation name? Candy butcher. I think maybe you could be Stacie "The Candy Butcher" Ponder. Or Stacie "The Candy Ponder" Butcher.

And, of course, you know to look out for your onomastically-determined nemeses:

Candie "The Stacie Butcher" Ponder

and

Candie "The Stacie Ponder" Butcher