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The Creeping Flesh (1972)

Ah, The Creeping Flesh. A simple tale of reanimated monsters, bad doctoring and incredible stupidity. 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 free monster.

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.

Possibly the greatest part of the film has to be the prop that is supposed to be the evil one's reanimated finger - yes, I know it's childish, but it doesn't half look like a thingy.

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

 

Last updated: February 18, 2010

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All photos, posters, sounds and videos are reproduced in good faith with the sole intention of promoting these films. Why should I be the only one to suffer watching them? If any film makers feel particularly strongly about abuse of copyright on the site, they obviously haven't got anything better to do. You could try Watchdog, but frankly, I think they've got bigger fish to fry...