Jack Pollexfen’s Indestructible Man is a quirky blend of a crime movie, horror and science fiction with a light noir edge. It’s also heavily dominated by its villain, Charles “Butcher” Benton, who is played by a mostly silent (but seemingly deadly) Lon Chaney, Jr. Taking place in Los Angeles, the story mostly concerned Butcher after he survives the gas chamber. How’d he do that? Well, a scientist (Robert Shayne) uses his corpse for an experiment, subjecting the body to strange chemicals and high-intensity electric shock.
Much like the infamous Frankenstein’s monster, Butcher Benton is resurrected. However, Benton is perhaps even tougher than Mary Shelley’s brainchild, having super strength and becoming impervious to bullets (among other things). Also, rather than being a brainless fool, Benton is burdened with an especially specific bloodlust against the criminal low-lives who double-crossed him, including his own lawyer (Ross Elliott).
Is Indestructible Man Good?
Like a lot of movies of this caliber, perceived quality is mostly up to individual taste. From my perspective, Indestructible Man is one of those films you’ll want to only watch sparingly, if at all. Nevertheless, there is some entertainment value to be had, and Mr. Chaney brings the character to life, then to death, then back to life again to kill others.
It’s a meat-and-potatoes stomp-’em-up, but I like it. It’s possibly a winning formula for people who want to see a straightforward man-turned-monster movie. On that note, I find this movie quite superior to the ever-floundering The Beast of Yucca Flats, which is something I’ve always wanted to like, but just couldn’t. Also, the idea of making human tissue resilient to bazooka blasts has its own merits.
Indestructible Man also stars Max Showalter/Casey Adams as police detective Dick Chasen, as well as Marian Carr as Benton’s ex, Eva. As the detective falls in love with Eva, there are unexpected elements of a rom-com. Thankfully, though, Benton is never gone from the screen for long, so the lovey-dovey stuff is kept to a minimum.
Why it Could Work as a Series
This movie has a fair amount of Butcher moments, though the story may have worked better as an ongoing television series than a one-off film (I feel weird saying that, but I think it’s true). Frankly, I think there is potential for an Indestructible Man revival because the story really could be expanded upon. It has far-reaching implications! Much like Dr. Eric Vornoff of Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster, the Indestructible Man could be a harbinger of “A race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world!” Wouldn’t that be nice?
What are your thoughts on Indestructible Man? Let us know in the comments!