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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Those crazy evil scientists are at it again. This time around it is Professor Groves who decides to play God. He has developed a serum that can regress animals to a prehistoric form by tapping into the information stored in their body. It starts off innocently enough with housecats becoming Sabretooth Tigers! One gets loose and is spotted by a local hunter and the game warden which brings Dr. Harkness to investigate the sightings. He and Groves’ daughter hit it off much to the dismay of the Professor who has moved on to human experimentation. He injects himself and becomes the Neanderthal Man. Much caveman violence ensues and an angry posse of locals is on the hunt!

I have difficulty reviewing movies like this one. One the one hand I did enjoy it. There are all the things that I look for in a B movie from the ‘50s. You have the absurd experiments by a mad scientist that creates a monster. Said monster goes on a rampage until the locals manage to put a stop to it. There is a man running around in a rubber suit, or in this case a rubber mask. We have the hero and his love interest that has some connection to the cause of the problem. I’m checking a lot of boxes here on my must have list.
Not great effects work.
But even I must admit some issues with The Neanderthal Man. I have a sliding scale when it comes to effects works and creature designs. You can’t judge an old movie by what they can do with today’s technology. That said even by the standards of the ‘50s there are problems. The creature here is a man in a gorilla mask and gloves. It looks cheap on the screen. Plus, we have continuity errors where they keep forgetting to have the actor wear the gloves in long shots. I mean you only have three pieces to the suit how do you miss two of them? Speaking of cheap the footage of the tiger used for the Sabretooth doesn’t match the close-ups of the really goofy looking puppet.

Other things I wanted to point out. The acting is stiff and over the top. I thought that Robert Shayne was fine as Professor Groves, but wasn’t fond of those assembled around him. Additionally, the staging and direction was also bad. The final scene of the movie with the family surrounding Groves is a perfect example of both the bad acting and horrible staging. I don’t expect art when watching a movie like this but competence wouldn’t be out of the question.
I did say it was good for a few laughs. 

I’ve covered a lot of old ‘50s science fiction and horror movies for the blog since I launched it. Previously I’ve reviewed movies that I knew I was going to like because I’ve watched them before. While I’ve seen The Neanderthal Man before I didn’t remember much about the movie. After watching it I know why. What is my final decision on this one? As I’ve pointed out there are a lot of flaws. As a fan of bad movies, I had some fun with the cheesy creature and terrible acting. But if you aren’t into that sort of thing it will be a chore sitting thru The Neanderthal Man. This is by no means on the level of other classic science fiction and horror films of the ‘50s that I’ve reviewed. I can’t recommend it unless you like a bad B movie. If that is the case, then it is good for a few laughs. As an added bonus you can watch the movie for free online. I've linked to the full movie above instead of the trailer. 

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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