Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5 - Indestructible Man [1956]

Indestructible Man (1956)
Director: Jack Pollexfan
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr, Max Showalter, Marian Carr

I'm busy tonight, so watched today's movie in early-afternoon. I wanted something suitable for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and settled on the oldest movie of the marathon so far, a 1956 scifi-horror starring silver screen legend Lon Chaney Jr.

By Indestructible Man, Chaney was a decade past his prime (playing The Wolfman in a string of 1940s Universal movies), but still capable of putting on a good performance. Not that he has much chance to here - he has a few lines early in the movie and is mute beyond that. 

Chaney plays a crook set up and sentenced to death. His dead body ends up in the hands of a scientist, who pumps his body with 300,000 volts of electricity. Before you can say "he's alive!", well... uh... he's alive. And, as you'd probably guess from the movie's title, he's now indestructible. As in bulletproof. He's also hellbent on getting some revenge on the nogoodniks who set him up.

Trying to stop the indestructible man are a detective by the name of Dick Chasen (sounds like what a woman of loose morales might get up to on a Saturday night), and a burlesque dancer. The detective is played by Max Showalter, whose career highpoint was no doubt playing Grandpa Fred in 1984's Sixteen Candles, sharing scenes with Long Duck Dong.

Indestructible Man has an element of science gone wrong, and there's plenty of killing, but the overall vibe isn't horror, or even science fiction, but film noir. It's essentially a crime thriller, with narration lifted straight out of a pulp detective flick.

I'm a lot more forgiving of movies from the 50s and 60s, because I enjoy their charm and naivete. That being said, this movie isn't very exciting. The acting's not bad, but the "special effects" amount to closeups of Chaney's squinting eyes when he gets angry. I mean, come on, the guy was zapped with 300,000 volts! At least give him some lightning bolts or something.

Like most scifi or horror movies from the 1950s, you can't go into Indestructible Man expecting anything too scary. But as a timewaster on a lazy Sunday, it did just nicely. 

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