The Creeper (1948)

This one is a curious oddity.

It plays out exactly like what it is, a copy of ‘s Cat People, complete with sinister cat slinking around, a young woman having strange dreams and beset with troubling fears, and plenty of Film Noir shadows lurking in the corners.

But there’s also a research lab, a jealous friend, tales of what happened back in the jungle and a mysterious killer, who is after the secret formula developed by the young woman’s murdered father.

Until, that is, it takes a last minute turn into the realm of science fiction in the most improbable way imaginable.

Improbable and slightly absurd, that is.

Curiously, the plot summaries I’ve seen reveal the surprise twist without actually having much of anything else to say about the film.  But then, I suppose it is the most memorable part of the film.

Other, that is, than the appearance of Eduardo Ciannelli as a mildly sinister and decidedly suspicious doctor who is always spying on the others.  Ciannelli, who was a frequent player at Republic Pictures, excelled at these sorts of roles.  Many of you may remember him as The Mysterious Doctor Satan, although he played villains and strange characters from foreign lands for years in the serials.

This is Twentieth Century Fox trying hard to look like one of Val Lewton’s RKO productions.  It looks good, but they weren’t quite as successful as RKO was at creating mood.  It isn’t a great film, but at least it’s short, reasonably coherent, and moderately suspenseful.

Although it does leave you wondering whether they just didn’t have enough money for a suit.

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