Indestructible Man (1956)

We are starting off my self-imposed, year-long punishment with a suitably awful B-movie. One part Dragnet style crime film, one part science-fiction horror, this movie is trying to be a lot of things. Do these genres mesh? No, not really. It’s stupid, and a bore to boot. I already regret my life decisions, but I must press on.

The film stars Lon Chaney Jr. as Charles “Butcher” Benton, a murderous robber that has stolen and hidden the sum of $600,000. His henchman squeal on him, and his crooked lawyer tries to extort him. He’s sentenced to death, but a mad scientist purchases his body and uses it for an experiment. The experiment revives Benton but leaves him mute. As a side effect of the revival, Benton’s cells have been multiplied a hundred times, which somehow gives him super strength instead of cancer, and also makes him impervious. Benton uses his second life to get revenge on his double-crossing henchmen and his lawyer. A detective named Dick Chasen, hold your chuckles, follows up on the Benton case which was officially closed upon Benton’s death, but learns that the new wave of murders is, in fact, the reanimated “Butcher” Benton. The entire LA police department chases Benton into the sewers, shoots him with a rocket launcher, blasts him with a flamethrower, before he flees to a power station and accidentally electrocutes himself, proving that the “Indestructible Man” is in fact destructible.

This film is uninspired. It’s a dumb concept to begin with, but any idea in the hands of talented a filmmaker can make a good film. There is no such talent to be found here. Director Jack Pollexfen has only B-movies in his blood. The production quality is cheap, and everything feels generic and stock. The situations are stock, and the characters are stock. Stock detective with stock narration. Stock gangsters. Stock mad scientist. Stock big, dumb, mute, monster man. This movie nothing but a collection of cliche’s ripped off from better, more imaginative films.

The saddest part of watching this is seeing the once great Lon Chaney Jr. stoop so low. He has almost no lines, as very quickly into the film his ability to speak is taken away. The only acting he’s allowed to do is through extreme close-ups of his eyes in which he makes the same exact strained expression every time. The Indestructible Man apparently “stars” Lon Chaney Jr., but he’s hardly in the film. Obviously, the filmmakers were just using his name to sell the film. You can tell Chaney didn’t care about this role beyond receiving a meager paycheck. His star had already fallen pretty far by this point, and he had to take whatever work he could get. It’s depressing to watch. Unless you have some sort of morbid curiosity, do not watch this movie. There is nothing here to see.

Looking pretty destructible there Lon.

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