Movie Review: Indestructible Man (1956)

Synopsis: A scientist performs an experiment on the recently executed criminal Charles "The Butcher" Benton and unintentionally brings him back to life and makes him seemingly indestructible. The resurrected Benton immediately begins stalking the three accomplices he believes betrayed him, leaving a wake of dead bodies in his path.

Who's in it? The movie stars Lon Chaney Jr., Max Showalter, Marian Carr, Ross Elliott and Stuart Randall.

Review: A spring blizzard ruined any plans I had today and, while waiting for there to be enough snow on the ground to justify using my snow blower, I looked for something to watch. I've had this film on my list for a while now and decided to finally give it a try.

The movie turned out not to be quite what I was expecting, it was much more of a crime drama than a classic horror film, but I still enjoyed it.

I think the overall plot ended up being a lot better than I thought it would be. I'm still unclear about what the scientist (Robert Shayne) was trying to do with his experiment but at least the result was accidental (I always hate it when a scientist has an intended result that doesn't make sense). Also, while Benton (Chaney) was primarily after three other criminals, the fact he was killing everybody else who got in his way did make his capture/death seem a lot more necessary. Not to mention, since he was indestructible, there was a mystery about just how they would stop him.

Chaney himself was brilliant, in my opinion. Once he comes back from the dead, he has no lines (due to damaged vocal cords) but still manages to show the viewer his intentions through his body language. I especially liked how the filmmakers kept a shred of his humanity, especially when around his ex-girlfriend, Eva (Carr). Despite his new deadly persona, she was the one person it was clear he had no intention of harming, something that added a bit of a wildcard element to the film because she could have either used that against him or tried to save him.

Unlike a lot of movies like this, the film did seem to have decent pacing. Chaney wasn't in every scene but he was in enough of them to remind us how dangerous he was, and I didn't feel like the movie got bogged down at any given point. In other words, it wasn't one of those monster movies that wait an hour or more to finally introduce the monster.

Final Opinion: It's probably not one of Chaney's most famous movies but I do think it was one of his better performances and the overall plot and execution does make it worth watching at least once.

My Grade: A


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