“The knowledge we were unearthing, could be a boon to mankind.”
Nora Cavigny (Janis Wilson) is neurotic. She’s always been a little high strung, but since the expedition to the West Indies she has gotten worse. She has nightmares and panic attacks. She went to the West Indies with her father Dr. Cavigny (Ralph Morgan), Dr. Bordon (Onslow Stevens) and Gwen Runstrom (June Vincent). The purpose of the expedition was to research a serum that would make human tissue phosphorescent. The reason they want to do that is as an aid in surgery. The research involves cats. Why? I don’t know. While in the West Indies they discovered a serum that changes humans into cat-like killers. I don’t make this stuff up. The writers do.
Gwen is engaged to Dr. Reade (John Baragrey). After the researchers return from the West Indies Reade finds himself falling for the neurotic bug-eyed Nora instead of the bitchy Gwen.
There is a difference of opinion between Drs. Bordon and Cavigny concerning the ethics of what they are doing. Dr. Bordon wants to continue with the experiments but Dr. Cabigny disagrees. One night a cat-like creature enters the Cabigny residence and kills Dr. Cabigny. Police thing the cat fearing Nora has something to do with it, but alas, no proof.
“The Creeper” was released in 1948 and was directed by Jean Yarbrough. The movie was effectively creepy. And, the best cat claw shadow ever! Wilson was creepy in her own way. Almost everyone was a little creepy except Baragrey. He was mostly annoying.
The plot was interesting. A cat creature killing people. Loved it. Wanted more. But the plot devise of the phosphorescent tissue from cats was as far fetched as I’ve ever seen. Also what is so special about the cats in the West Indies that they are better suited for experimentation? Do they glow in the dark? Add to that the only expression that Janis Wilson had throughout the movie was that of psychotic terror, then you can see why there are some good points and some bad points to the movie.
My favorite actor in this soup of mediocrity was of course June Vincent. I have seen her play icy, vicious, bitch before and I’ve never seen anyone do it as well. All she needs to do is slide her eyes sideways and turn her mouth into a mirthless slit of a smile and you know you need to get out of the way. Otherwise you are going to get a blast of cool evil in the form of words that cut like a knife. If anyone is the personification of an alley cat, it’s her.
Outside of Vincent my only, other favorite character was Creeper, the cat. I mean the actual cat named Creeper with the one white paw, not the Creeper-killer, cat-person with the white paw. There must be some symbolism there.
Just as an aside, there is such a thing as phosphorescent tissue in the use of 3D imaging but I doubt very much they use cats for it.
All together the movie was bad, acting wise and plot wise, but there was enough eeriness and subdued horror that it was enjoyable despite its flaws.