I Saw A Film!

Peter Cushing is a dottering Victorian scientist (already with hollower cheeks than the skeleton he discovers) who on an expedition to the Pacific finds a giant-ass skeleton of something like a huge tree sloth mixed with a wicked cleft palate victim. It would be enough for a film if such a thing were verified as real, but oh no, there’s much more. Most of the film is actually taken up with a ponderous backstory of this fellow’s wife having gone mad, though, much of her madness–revealed in backstory clips–just seems to resemble a particular fondness for Bacchanalia–which is disturbing enough for these Victorians (at least we have been convinced of such, more and more I’m becoming convinced Victorians were much more wild than we like to think). Add to this, a slightly cloistered and curious adult daughter who our scientist worries is following in the late mother’s footsteps and is ready to do just about anything to avoid that. Got all that?

Now, the assembled monster skeleton lies on a table in said scientist’s study, and a bit of water is dribbled onto said monster skeleton’s hand, and lo and behold a finger develops out of reverse melting wax. The finger is about the size of a horse penis and much hilarity can be made of Cushing’s perverse dedication to slicing and extracting blood from the thing. Again, had such a thing happened, you’d have plenty for a film. Spontaneous regeneration of nonexistent tissue from water would be an amazing discovery–but in this film it’s treated as a ho-hum curiosity. Many minutes are spent looking at the specimen’s actually hairy blood cells. Hairy blood cells! Well you know what this means? It means we must inject them into a monkey!

And now, enter Chris Lee, who antagonizes our little bony scientist. Lee is threatening to cut his funding, and shut down his weird dedication to whatever it is he thinks he’s doing. Which frankly, should have probably happened a long time ago. Too late now, as Cushing is injecting the wacky serum into his daughter as well (the reasons for this are not easy to tease out, she’s merely shown a lot of curiosity about her mom). Of course, the monkey is found twitching and having gone loopy, and so we now realize that daughter is about to somehow locate a nightclub, dressed like a hussy, and party hardy.

The last ten minutes of the film finally have a few moments with the title monster, though it never gains much of that “creeping flesh” and instead makes due with a hooded robe. It terrorizes Cushing a bit and then we’re basically flash cut to a resolution. Lee is lecturing some poor slob about what happened to this once promising scientist who now has to spend his time locked in a sanitarium. Completely insane you see! Was any of it real? You won’t spend much time deciding as you’re holding the remote!

Freebie on Prime, and this one might be good for a laugh or a cure for a bout of insomnia. The lobby card has the nearly required image of the creature carrying off a lovely damsel, but this is, of course, a tease.

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