Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Terror Is a Man (1959)

After reading Jockes review of Brides of Blood I decided to take a look at the work of Eddie Romero. Finally. I found Terror is a Man cheap in town and it's not directed by Eddie, it's still one of his more celebrated works. It was instead his mentor, Gerardo de Leon, who directed this very stylish shocker which is more or less is another version of Island of Lost Souls. But with one "manimal" instead of a whole tribe.

It feels a lot like one of those povery row-movies from the fourties, with a lot of talking, a busty leading lady and a manly hero. What differs here is that this one has a good script. The story isn't original, but it feels fresh and interesting. The dialogue is smart and is not about making the movie longer than it should be. The monster itself, a panter-man, is great. The mask is cool and kept in the shadows a lot, but you'll get to see it clearly to.

De Leon injects a lot of tension in the lab-scenes and makes it quite creepy to be honest. There's no deeper explanation to how the monster evolved, except some notes that the main "villian" Dr. Charles Girard shows the hero. But I'm not sure if he's honest. I have a feeling that a lot of what he says is a lie. We never get to know the panter-man, which ads to the mystery.

The actors are better than average to. Greta Thyssen is a danish actress who probably in normal cases won't be remembered for her acting abilities... but she makes a good performance here, frail but still cocky, and with way more personality than a lot of the other ladies in the genre. The hero is played by Richard Derr (even the name sounds macho and heroic) and he's makes a credible performance as a quiet passive and skeptic hero, without being a wimp. Francis Lederer is the doctor who wants to play god. A magnificent actor that worked mostly as an acting teacher up to a tender age of one hundred years old! Then he died.

I wonder if the titles actually refers to the main monster, or maybe to what the mankind can do? Smart and cool, intelligent and far from the usual exploitation.

1 comment:

Patrick B said...

Sounds interesting. I'm gonna have to check this out.