Halloween Havoc!: THE NEANDERTHAL MAN (United Artists 1953)


I’ve seen a lot of horror movies. All the Universal classics, Hammer horrors, big budget, low budget, no-budget, you name it. THE NEANDERTHAL MAN is without a doubt one of the worst I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s not even so-bad-it’s-good. It’s just so-bad-it’s-bad.


This totally unlikeable turkey involves a mad scientist whose experiments in evolution lead him to create a serum that devolves species. After success with turning a cat into a saber-toothed tiger (via stock footage and some really bad fake tusks), Professor Groves injects himself with the stuff and becomes Neanderthal Man. The prof goes on a pretty tame killing spree before getting his inevitable comeuppance. In a part that begs for John Carradine (or better yet, Bela Lugosi!), we get Robert Shayne of TV’s THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN  fame. The erstwhile Inspector Henderson is all over the place, overacting in some spots, underacting in others. Whereas a Carradine or Lugosi would’ve given some credibility to the demented doctor, Shayne’s just plain lousy.


None of the actors really have a chance in the awful script by producers Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen (THE MAN FROM PLANET X ) .   Richard Crane (ROCKY JONES SPACE RANGER, SURF PARTY)  plays the hero, a zoologist called in to investigate the mysterious, dumb looking saber-tooth. Genre sweetie Beverly Garland’s on hand as a waitress who gets ravaged by the Neanderthal Man. Dialectitian Robert Easton has a small part as a local rube. The rest of the cast are pretty much non-entities, all of whom act overwrought trying to get through the long-winded screenplay.

German expressionist pioneer E.A. Dupont is credited as director, though it doesn’t seem like he did much directing here. Famed cinematographer Stanley Cortez had better days (THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, THREE FACES OF EVE), and shows none of the artistic work of those films. It looks like Dupont just said “point and shoot”, and Cortez complied. The makeup job by Ed Wood vet Harry Thomas is about as scary as a Walmart Halloween mask.


You readers can tell when I like a film, the posts are long and detailed. This one’s short. I see no reason to continue writing about this dull, unscary bomb. Don’t invite THE NEANDERTHAL MAN to your Halloween party, he’ll just bore everyone to death!!






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