A promotional film poster for "Indestructible Man."
|Directed by||Jack Pollexfen|
|Produced by||Jack Pollexfen|
|Written by||Vy Russell
|Starring||Lon Chaney Jr.
|Music by||Albert Glasser|
|Cinematography||John L. Russell, ASC|
|Edited by||Fred R. Feitshans Jr.|
|Distributed by||Allied Artists|
|Release date(s)||25 March 1956|
|Running time||70 min|
Indestructible Man (1956) is an American black-and-white science fiction film, an original screenplay by Vy Russell and Sue Dwiggins for producer-director Jack Pollexfen and starring Lon Chaney, Jr.. It was produced independently, and picked up after completion for distribution in the United States by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation. It is somewhat of a remake of Chaney's 1941 film, Man Made Monster and owes much to Frankenstein.
Told in flashback by police detective Dick Chasen (Showalter), the movie concerns a 72-hour period of horror for the main characters. Charles "Butcher" Benton (Chaney) is a double-crossed convicted robber and murderer who was executed in the gas chamber. His body is unlawfully sold to a scientist (Robert Shayne of Adventures of Superman fame), who plans to move his testing to human subjects. The corpse is subjected to chemical injection and massive jolts of high-frequency electricity in order to study the effect on human tissues. But Benton's heart is restimulated and he completely revives (though rendered mute due to electrical damage to his vocal cords), immensely strong and with skin virtually impervious—even to bazooka shells.
After killing the doctor and his assistant (Joe Flynn, pre-McHale's Navy), Benton sets out to avenge himself on his attorney and the lawyer's henchmen who, in collusion with the attorney, had betrayed Benton in order to steal his loot. Benton had left the location of his stash to his stripper-girlfriend (Carr), who had since gone straight and begun dating the detective who brought Benton to justice, after she had rejected the lawyer's own advances.
The story then follows Benton's revenge on his enemies; the police who first learn of a wave of mysterious killing, then of Benton's reanimation; and the developing relationship between the detective and the stripper. The lawyer, fearing for his life after the two henchman are murdered, confesses the plot to the police, and reveals that Benton had always used the sewer system to evade detection; and to find a hiding place for the money, as it turns out.
Tracked down by the police, Benton is weakened but not killed when he takes a direct hit in the solar plexus from a bazooka, and is disfigured by a flame thrower. He runs to a power station, where he maneuvers metal equipment and himself into position to trigger a high-voltage jolt of electricity, which kills him. At the fade-out, Chasen proposes to his girlfriend.
- Chaney has almost no dialogue in the film. His character's emotions were displayed through extreme close-ups of his face.
- Angels Flight appears prominently in this film.
- In addition to the presence of Robert Shayne, the stock footage of the Los Angeles City Hall and of various police cars and motorcycles appeared in Superman episodes from time to time.
In popular culture
- John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats has revealed that his favorite song, "Rotten Stinking Mouthpiece", is a direct narrative of this movie and concerns the tragedy of Lon Chaney Jr. developing cancer prior to filming and undergoing surgery[dubious ]. As a result he had no voice for the movie and could only 'lumber around'.
- The film has been released by numerous studios as a "bargain bin" disc.
- The MST3K version of the film has been released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 11 box set.