Release Date: October 1st, 1946
Directed by: Jean Yarbrough
Written by: George Bricker, M. Coates Webster, Dwight V. Babcock
Music by: Hans J. Salter
Cast: Rondo Hatton, Jane Adams, Tom Neal, Jan Wiley, Donald MacBride, Peter Whitney
Producers Releasing Corporation, Universal Pictures, 58 Minutes
Actor Rondo Hatton had a very short-lived career. He actually died eight months before the release of this film. He wasn’t a good actor but he became one of Universal’s signature monster men due to his facial deformities caused by acromegaly. Maybe he could have evolved into a horror legend, had he been able to make more than a few pictures.
The Brute Man is not a good picture. While Universal had lightning in a bottle with the start of their beloved Universal Monsters franchise, the quality of those films fizzled out with sequel after sequel. This came out after most of those monsters ran their course. It’s so bad, however, that it makes the worst of the Universal Monsters films look like the best.
This film is incredibly short, probably because the material was so bad and the story wasn’t interesting enough to justify a motion picture. I’m not sure why this film exists, except to capitalize on and exploit the look of Hatton. Looking back now, Hatton wasn’t really that terrifying. He just had some really pronounced features. In fact, he wan’t really a brute either, as he was 5’9″.
The Brute Man follows Hatton’s Hal, known as the Creeper, as he goes on a pretty boring killing spree. Hal the Creeper wants to kill those that he finds responsible for his facial disfigurement, even though it was caused by an accident he did himself. The film also revolves around his love of the blind Helen, played by Jane Adams, who worked for Universal in House of Dracula.
For the most part, The Brute Man is an incredibly drab movie. It is a total waste of time and a clear indication that Universal Studios really needed to go back to the drawing board in regards to their monster movies. It would be another eight years before they gave us the spectacular Creature From the Black Lagoon.