Director: Jack Pollexfen
Writers: Vy Russell and Sue Bradford
Cast: Lon Chaney, Casey Adams, Marion Carr, Ross Elliott, Stuart Randall, Kenneth Terrell, Marjorie Stapp, Robert Shayne, Peggy Maley, Robert Foulk, Rita Green, Roy Engle, and Madge Cleveland
Composer: Albert Glasser (Uncredited)
Release Date: 3/25/1956
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Double-crossed by Squeamy Ellis, Joe Marcelli (Kenneth Terrell), and attorney Paul Lowe (Ross Elliot), criminal Charles “Butcher” Benton (Lon Chaney) dies in the electric chair without revealing the location of his stolen fortune. Resurrected by Professor Bradshaw (Robert Shayne), Butcher—now a mute and indestructible monster—seeks revenge on those who betrayed him.
An Atomic Age remake of Man Made Monster, Indestructible Man should appeal to viewers who enjoy B-grade sci-fi/horror movies. Audiences of a critical mindset will nevertheless take issue with this offering, which suffers from numerous logical flaws and production mistakes.
By complementing Butcher’s story with the narration of Lt. Dick Chasen, Indestructible Man adds a neo-noir atmosphere to its horror and science fiction narrative themes. (There are times, however, when the lieutenant’s commentary borders on superfluous, causing Chasen to overemphasize the onscreen action at many points throughout this film.)
Indestructible Man also benefits from the casting of Lon Chaney, whose imposing size, lumbering gait, and murderous rampage will remind Universal Monster fans of the Frankenstein monster—especially when coupled with Butcher’s imperviousness to bullets, sharp objects, and bazooka rockets.
By featuring inordinate close-ups of Chaney’s eyes, Indestructible Man occasionally tries too hard to oversell the menacing nature of its title monster.
Additionally worth noting is that from a continuity perspective, this film is marred by one significant problem. Specifically, Indestructible Man fails to explain how Prof. Bradshaw easily obtains the corpse of Butcher Benton—a high-profile criminal whose notoriety would likely parallel that of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, or Timothy McVeigh.
Failing to embody the kindness, pathos, and compassion of his counterpart from Man Made Monster, Chaney’s character in Indestructible Man may struggle to evoke sympathy upon transforming into a mindless, homicidal creature motivated only by revenge—a shortcoming that prevents this film from attaining the status of a classic monster movie.
Indestructible Man deserves praise for combining Atomic Era sci-fi tropes with elements of the film noir genre. Chaney enthusiasts and creature feature buffs may therefore appreciate this movie, dubious “execution” notwithstanding.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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