Old 09-18-2007, 04:12 PM
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Thumbs up The Creeping Flesh


Wonderful little Hammer style horror film from director/cinematographer Freddie Francis, starring the late great Peter Cushing as Emmanuel Hildern and Christopher Lee as his half brother, James Hildern. Cushing's role is more timid than usual, portraying a scientist that is hopeful and overly optimistic about his work, certain that with his discovery he can change the world as mankind knows it. Lee is in one of his most diabolical roles ever. James has always been jealous of his brother's scientific genius. He is also headmaster of the insane asylum in which Emmanuel's wife was placed after losing her mind. This has been kept a secret from Penelope, as she has been led to believe that her mother died years ago, in fear that any knowledge of her Mother's existence could spring her into chaos, as well. Before Emmanuel injects this serum into his daughter, he never once relishes on the fact that this predated fossilized skeleton he is using as his implement of betterness could be the root of a larger evil than current times are even aware of.

We get a lot of interesting subplots centered around the main story of The Creeping Flesh. For one, you get a five-man strong maniac that has escaped from James' lunatic asylum, hiding in the shadows and putting much physical harm on anything that gets in the way of what he wants. This ties in nicely later on in the film. And once James learns of Emmanuel's find in New Guinea, being the jealous brother he is, attempts to steal the skeleton, in the middle of a thunderstorm no less! You gotta love Lee in this gem.There's also a great and much unexpected ending that I just didn't see coming!

The flesh regeneration FX are done up nicely by Roy Ashton, who worked on quite a few Amicus and Hammer films also. When Cushing's character first learns that water brings back flesh, it grows on the skeleton's middle finger. And this is mainly executed with stop/play camera style action, though, still fairly effective (despite the fact that the finger has a very phallic reverence about it). Not a whole lot of bloodletting here, but the makeup FX with the Creeping Flesh itself is enough to keep a classic horror fan interested.

Freddie Francis was also no newbie to horror, having working on a couple of Hammer and Amicus films himself as a director (and later went on to direct an episode of HBO's Tales From the Crypt in '89). This explains a similar style to Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula), imo. Cinematography is beautiful as well, by Norman Warwick (Amicus' Tales From the Crypt). There's lots of creative shots inside the asylum, as well as a few bits in the town, particularly in the pub where the escapee goes mad over a woman.

Hammer or Amicus fans should have no trouble loving this gem of a movie, nor should Cushing or Lee enthusiasts.

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Old 10-02-2007, 10:31 AM
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I watched this a long time ago, I thought it was pretty boring, maybe I should give it another shot....

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Old 10-02-2007, 06:27 PM
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I saw this on FearNet a few months ago. It's a bit cheesey, but Cushing & Lee are great as usual.
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:03 PM
Dirge Inferno
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while not quite a classic, its still an enjoyable hammer-like film with lee and cushing who do a great job with it.
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