The Creeping Flesh
not that The Creeping Flesh doesn't have a gripping storyline, a clever
idea behind it or excellent performances - it's just that the whole thing
drags more than a bit in places. Peter Cushing, always excellent, is a
scientist just returned from a trip overseas. Forgoing the usual 200 Rothmans,
straw donkey and bottles of undrinkable plonk, he's come back with a duty
Said monster is actually an outsized skeleton with a weird head - Cushing
comes to the conclusion that this may well be the skeleton of "The
Evil One", who will lay waste to the world if by any chance water
touches his dessicated remains.
It's only a matter of time before someone does spill water on it, of course,
and before you can say "get a cloth and mop that up", the Evil
One has quite literally grown a finger.
Doctor Cush immediately takes a scalpel to the rogue digit and bungs it
in formaldehyde, but we all know the story's not going to end there. Of
course, this isn't the only storyline that's going on - we also have Cushing's
daughter, understandably feeling a little neglected when daddy would rather
spend time with a thousand year old corpse than have lunch with her.
There's also Cushing's brother Christopher Lee (another splendid performance),
who runs the local nuthouse, where he practices a little known branch
of psychiatry - if they act up, shoot 'em in the back.
Things have been (slowly) building up so far, but here comes the best
bit - Cushing's wife went bonkers a few years ago, and he's scared that
his daughter will go the same way. So he does what any caring father would
do and takes some of the Evil One's blood and injects it into his daughter.
He thinks it will act as a kind of antidote to the inherited "evil"
lurking in her brain, but of course, that's bollocks. The young lady,
a model of primness up to this point, then goes on an evil rampage. Evil
Chris nicks the skeleton for his own evil ends, takes it out into the
rain, and the whole thing builds (slowly) towards one of the most depressing
film endings in history - everyone either dead or insane, and The Evil
One nowhere to be seen.
Cut about half an hour out of the running time and you'd have one of the
best films on this site. The snails pace unfortunately knocks it down
from a 10 to an 8.
And I can't let it go without mentioning a couple of things - the Evil
One's finger is possibly the most revolting prop ever seen in any film
ever, and why are Gothic films infatuated with the view that girls who
like sex are evil? Mr Stoker, you've got a lot to answer for
Creeping Flesh, The (1973)
Director: Freddie Francis Writer(s): Peter Spenceley & Jonathan Rumbold
Cast: Christopher Lee - James Hildern, Peter Cushing - Emmanuel Hildern,
Lorna Heilbron - Penelope Hildern, George Benson - Waterlow, Kenneth J. Warren
- Charles Lenny, Duncan Lamont - Inspector, Harry Locke - Barman, Hedger Wallace
- Doctor Perry, Michael Ripper - Carter Wearing Derby, Catherine Finn - Emily,
Robert Swann - Young Aristocrat, David Bailie - Young Doctor, Maurice Bush -
Karl, Tony Wright - Sailor, Marianne Stone - Female Assistant