The Creeping Flesh

The Creeping Flesh, 1973, dir. Freddie Francis. Watched on YouTube so you don’t have to.

I’m way overdue for my Cushing fix. What it is about Peter Cushing, I don’t know. That what-do-you-think-of-my-specimen smile. Those come-to-crypt eyes. The fashion aesthetic of a mortician on anti-depressants. I’ve never seen anyone who can stir a cup of tea with more repressed loathing.

Whenever I hear politicians talking about ‘austerity’, it eases the pain just a little by imagining it said by Peter Cushing. Au-stereh-teh. Which I will explain to you further in the lye-breh-reh.

(BTW – I’m not going to add the frame numbers in this piece. Really because it depends what version of the film you watch on YouTube. A lot of the numbers will be adverts, so they might not match up. It’ll still follow the action sequentially, so you’ll get an idea of how the film goes along. Plus it saves me a bit of time, and anyway – I’m not sure how many people reading this use them. If you want me to put them back in for other film reviews, let me know.)

So with all that in mind, it’s headphones on, mug of tea to the right, fingers on the keyboard and here… we…. go!

Opens with a table of assorted bones, then an artist working on the kind of violent painting you’d say ‘Wow – so vibrant – and I LOVE what you’ve done with the teeth…’ but then call social services the moment you were clear of the house. The music doesn’t help, either – written by a horror muso with a migraine.

As the camera pans into a close-up of the painted ghoul’s face, you get the credits in a kind of bunco booth yellow font. Christopher Lee. Peter Cushing…Lorna Heilbron… IN…. A Lovely Day by the Sea. Just kidding. THE CREEPING FLESH!

For the technical credits the music softens and gets more swirly, poignant. Maybe they didn’t get paid. Camera pans into an image of a woman in a white nightgown fleeing from peril. And that’s absolutely what I look like every night when I go upstairs to bed.

Favourite name of the cast list: Oswald Hafenrichter. I don’t know why.

Credits end with a close-up of the painted monster’s face – bloody claw up to a raging, fangy mouth. Which is me when I eat a salad and find out too late it’s got beetroot in it.

… and so into the film…

Turns out, Peter Cushing is the artist doing this erm….interesting piece of work. Someone knocks. Maybe it’s his therapist.

Peter Cushing is a Professor. Of bones, I’m guessing. Poor Peter. It looks like they couldn’t afford Makeup and Wardrobe so they just sent him to the local party hire shop and told him to ask for a professor outfit – pince-nez, bow tie, chalk for the hair. We’ll call him the Prof, because it’s short and honestly what else do you need?

‘I must talk to somebody,’ says the Prof to the new guy. ‘Nobody will listen to me. I must have help with my researches.’
(Researches? Not a Professor of English, then)
‘I MUST have a qualified doctor to assist me,’ says the Prof. ‘You ARE a qualified doctor? I ASKED for a qualified doctor?’
It’s all about the qualifications with the Prof. Although, to be fair, if I was being seen by a doctor I’d prefer they were qualified. Or at least insured.
BTW – you can tell the Prof is a serious man of science – because apart from the chalky hair you can see a skull, a beaker and a microscope on his desk.
‘My work is of the utmost importance for the survival of the human race’ says the Prof. ‘Do you believe in evil…?’
The Prof paces around behind his desk. There are stuffed monkeys behind him, in oddly casual attitudes, like they’re hanging out in a sports bar or something.

The Prof puts a slide on the microscope and invites the doctor to look. The essence of evil, says the Prof. The doctor looks at him as if he’s crazy. And also like he’d rather be wearing a mask and gloves at this point.

The Prof goes into a rant about how no one listens, we’re all doomed yaddah yaddah – all the while waving the slide with all the evil on it around. They’re certainly doomed in THAT particular facility, you’d have to think.

‘I am a scientist, not a madman!’ says the Prof, slamming down a folder of crazy stuff. O-kay.

Suddenly the film lurches into flashback, the film proper, I’d guess. Highly colourized, with the Prof giving the voiceover:

‘Three years ago I’d just returned from New Guinea where I’d been searching for the remains of primitive man…’
(insert cheap joke here about the place you live, local pub etc…)

He’d brought back a complete skeleton, to revolutionise evolutionary theory. Which beats a fridge magnet.

BTW – I should’ve said – this is all set in the nineteenth century. So everyone’s in hooped skirts, capes or undersized bowler hats. The cart driver’s in white leggings, for some reason. Maybe that was the highway code back then. Even the horses are in spats.

A woman in a flouncy dress runs down the stairs of the house with one hand on the handrail shouting Emily! Emily! It’s Father! He’s back!’

The Prof capes in and hugs Penelope. ‘My dear, dear child!’ he says, checking her hair for nits maybe. ‘Everything the same! How are you Martha?’ he says to Martha, the maid. (I thought it was Emily?) Martha looks like death. I would too if everyone kept getting my name wrong.

Penelope corrects him. Martha loosens up a little. Like a glacier calving an iceberg.

‘Waterlow! My old friend…!’ says the Prof to an old man in a white lab coat. Waterlow shakes his hand and says it’s all just in time because he was concluding the experiment the Prof instructed and other expositional stuff it says in the script but I’m too exhausted by all these new characters to take in.

Two geezers in tiny bowlers (or maybe their heads are oversized) struggle in with a huge crate and almost take the door frame with them. The crate’s covered with stickers: Fragile! Handle with Care! etc. Nasty ‘Orrible Monster – This Way Up! and so on.
‘Take it through to the laboratory’ says the Prof.
NOTE: Peter Cushing says ‘laboratory’ in the same, beautifully crafted way he says ‘library’.
Leh-borra-treh. Take it through to the leh-borra-treh. If you would. Thenk yuh.

In the leh-borra-treh the two geezers make a huge fuss of manoeuvring the crate into position, whilst in the foreground a stuffed monkey socialises with a skeleton. Saying something like:
‘He’s back, you know.’
‘Yes, Nigel. All rather distressing’
‘One’s peaceful nights in with Waterlow will be somewhat compromised.’
‘I agree with you there, Nigel. Absolutely.’

One of the geezers tries to score a tip, but the Prof is too busy getting excited about his specimen and how he’ll enter it for the Richter Prize and everything, waving his crowbar around in a flamboyant and Health & Safety breachy kinda way. So the geezer rolls his eyes and the two of them leave (the geezers, not the eyes).

Amazingly, the camera follows the two geezers out of the house.
‘Old skinflint!’ says one, which I suppose was pretty strong for 1973.

In the lobby, Penelope gives them a tip, which the main geezer spits on and says thankyou. (A cute custom, but makes you want to wear surgical gloves when handling change from now on).

Penelope tells Martha that once the Prof gets in his leh-borra-treh there won’t be any teasing him out. There are sounds of splintering wood from in there, which is either the Prof levering open the case or Waterlow escaping through the window.

Cut to: The Thing What Was In The Crate.

‘Fantastic, isn’t it?’ gabbles the Prof.
Waterlow’s so horrified his pince-nez falls off – which is PRETTY horrified, I can tell you.
It’s a big, ‘ornery, ‘orrible looking skellington, with an expression on its misshapen head like me when I’m trying to figure out where to put the rinse aid in the washing machine.

The Prof does a compare and contrast, holding a primitive man’s skull with his new exhibit. They make a lovely couple. Like Boris and Carrie Johnson.

Meanwhile, Penelope is waiting upstairs in the breakfast room.
‘You may inform my father that breakfast is ready,’ says Penelope, so warmly and brightly you just know she’s doomed.
‘Yes, m’lady,’ says Martha. Or Emily. Or whatever.

Cut to the leh-borra-treh. The Prof is taking measurements. From this angle it looks like the specimen is wearing a cycle helmet.

The Prof says he’s too busy for breakfast.

Martha / Emily goes back to tell Penelope (at least it’s good exercise). ‘Very well. Perhaps you’d ask him again in a few minutes.’
Judging by the breakfast table, it looks like they’re only having toast, pepper and salt. Maybe some wax fruit.

Back in the leh-borra-treh, the Prof says his specimen proves there was intelligent life far earlier than previously thought. Although the two geezers delivering the crate could’ve told him that.

Martha / Emily comes back in to say Penelope has expressly asked for him to join her for breakfast. And if you could distil the look on Martha / Emily’s face you could dip an arrow in it and bring down a rhino. So he pats Waterlow on the shoulder and heads up. (Waterlow stopped off at Pret on his way in. He knows what the breakfasts are like in this place).

They chat. Penelope says she had to dismiss two of the servants whilst he was away because they’re running out of money. The Prof says his new discovery means they’ll soon be in easy street (I’m paraphrasing). And maybe Penelope should get out more. Penelope doesn’t look quite so thrilled to have her father back and furiously butters a letter.

Meanwhile the Prof goes through his mail. One letter is from Christopher Lee (playing Dr James Hildern). He writes to inform the Prof that his wife passed away (the Prof’s wife, not Dr H’s). Needless to say, he hasn’t told Penelope (shrug – it’s only her mother – she’d only fret).

The heading on the letter reads: The Heldern Institute for Mental Disorders.

Cut to: a horse and carriage pitching up to a gothic pile with a sign outside that reads: The Heldern Institute for Mental Disorders.

Dr H and the Prof wander through the corridors.
‘We must treat your wife’s death as a merciful release for you both,’ says Dr H.
‘…. I do not believe Penelope to be disturbed by any of this because she has believed her mother to be dead for many years,’ says the Prof, helpfully.

Turns out, the reason the Prof didn’t tell Penelope about her mother is because he was worried the mental thing might be hereditary. Dr H says all will be revealed when he publishes his manuscript – something he aims to enter for the Richter prize! The Prof starts! They’ll be competing for the same prize! (Although my money’s on the skeletong).

Also – we learn that Dr H is the Prof’s half-brother! With a full-sized chip on his shoulder. Dr H says he’s no longer willing to bankroll the Prof’s scientific explorations to expensive locations. Good day to you.

On the way out the Prof sees a patient having electric shock therapy and not enjoying it over much. Mind you, it was either 4000 volts or having to watch this film on a loop, so…
The Prof looks concerned, fondles his hat. The technician gets a big needle – then slams the door shut in the Prof’s face.

A warden rushes past with a big bunch of keys.
‘Lenny’s escaped, sir!’
‘Escaped?’ says Dr H.
Alarms sound. Doors are bolted. I take from all this Lenny isn’t an easy character.
The Prof leaves in his carriage, wondering why he hadn’t checked the place out more thoroughly before sending his wife there. The brochures made it seem more bougie. It got five stars on Gothic Asylum Advisor.

Back at the house the Prof finds Penelope reading a romance magazine. You can tell, because it’s got the word ROMANCE in big letters on the front. Which is helpful, and stops you buying it if you were after CYCLE MECHANICS. The Prof doesn’t approve of such literature. Penelope says she found it on the shelf – one of mother’s secret stash. Under a box of BDSM equipment.

‘I love you Father – but I MUST know about Mother’ says Penelope.
‘I do what is best – for BOTH of us’ says the Prof. Hmm.

He goes into the leh-borra-treh. He’d rather hang out with a skilitin than his daughter.

We hear a rumble of thunder – then get an odd close up of the skoloton’s teeth. This is why I could never be a dentist. Teeth always look horrible, even after flossing.

The Prof holds the skillitong’s hand, then goes to get a bowl of water. For some reason. No idea. I flunked biology.

Another rumble of thunder. Another mental dental close-up. What’s going to happen? Braces?

The Prof puts the bowl of water on the bench and begins cleaning the skoloting’s hand. It’s a tender moment.

But wait! The water has started to change the hand! This is not your average skimpington! This is more like a desiccated body!

The Prof puts his glasses on. His own glasses – not the glasses belonging to the skillimpton. I don’t think they had glasses back in the stone age. Or if they did they were too heavy.

Suddenly the scrimptinton has an actual finger!

The Prof thinks about it. Then gets a chisel and lops the finger off. The fingers starts wiggling’ and a-jigglin’ about. All in all, quite a moment in the leh-borra-treh.

Cut to: Dr H back in his own leh-borra-treh – which looks quite like the Prof’s except without monkeys. He’s looking at a brain in a bath of gloop and thinking about mental stuff. He’s actually got a heart in another bottle. Everything linked up by tubes and making bubbly, gooply noises. An arm in a tank, giving him the finger. But science was always difficult.

Down in the basement the inmates go nuts in their cells. Improvising topline dialogue. Dr H isn’t impressed. He asks the jailer for the keys so he can see how Lenny escaped.
‘D’you think that’s wise, sir?’ says the jailer.
‘Give me the keys,’ says Dr H.
Meanwhile, we see that one of the inmates has forced his door open and then closes it again in a sly way – so, no – probably NOT wise. But the jailer gives Dr H a spud gun, so he’ll be okay.

Dr H walks down the corridor with all the inmates reaching for him. He doesn’t respond, as cool and dispassionate as a doctor with a spud gun.

The inmate sneaks up on Dr H and grabs the keys. Dr H shoots him with the spud gun. Blam! Blam!
‘You should’ve used this on Lenny!’ he says to the Jailer. ‘Let’s hope we find him before he goes berserk again.’

Cut to: Waterlow getting the daily paper. Headline: ‘Dangerous Lunatic Escapes’. Then another shot of a line of police officers with long sticks and dogs (the dogs aren’t long, just the sticks), going through the woods. More topline impro: Over here! Mind those trees! Careful now… etc

Then – down in a cellar somewhere – a sack wriggles and Lenny emerges – like a lovely, big, lunatic moth. In a suit. He doesn’t look too bad. I’m Team Lenny now.

Cut to: Waterlow saying ‘Oh dear’ in the leh-borra-treh, cleaning up the bowl of bloody water and wondering about the skellotim with the missing digit. He wipes the skoloting’s head and thinks it a bit dusty, so he runs some water to clean it. Oh, no, Waterlow…

The Prof rushes in. ‘Noooo!’ he screams, and knocks the bowl out of Waterlow’s hands.

‘I was only trying to clean it, Professor,’ says Waterlow.
‘Hurry!’ says the Prof, dabbing the bench with Victorian kitchen towel. ‘The water mustn’t touch it.’

Meanwhile, back at Dr H’s Asylum for Overacting Extras, a police inspector is addressing the good doctor.
‘There’s no trace of this loony man in the local area,’ he says, empathetically. ‘He might have headed for London…’ (they so often do). ‘Can we have a better description?’

Dr H gives him a photo – the kind actors use for auditions. I’d hire Lenny, that’s for sure. Go Lenny!

Cut to: The Prof urgently sorting through his books. Looking for one called ‘How to Reconstitute ‘Orrible Skilingtins’ maybe? No – it’s actually The Folklore of the New Guinea Primitives’. My bad.

Meanwhile, Waterlow is examining the finger with a magnifying glass – like he’s been served a dodgy saveloy.

The Prof sends him off to the lye-bruh-reh to fetch the volume. Penelope’s there, wasting time on romantic TikToks or something.

Penelope tricks Waterlow into giving her the keys. It doesn’t look that difficult to trick Waterlow, to be fair.

Penelope’s starting to look more like her mother every day.

Back in the leh-borra-treh, the Prof sits on the arm of a chair (he can’t sit IN the chair because it’s got a monkey in it – which may or may not be Nigel), settling down to read Waterlow some stuff about the Folklore of the New Guinea Primitives. It seems to show that if the skolotin gets wet it’ll come back to life and carry on with its evil nonsense on earth.

The Prof seems to think this will give him immense power, for some reason. If he can control the monster he can do some good. Abolish evil forever. Make a new paradise. Waterlow’s not convinced, neither is Nigel and – for the record – neither am I.

Cut to: Penelope creeping about with the keys she nicked off Waterlow.

Cut to: Waterlow slicing up the saveloy and the Prof examining its blood under a microscope. He sees spidery things moving about – which seems significant, because normally you’d only see not very much.

The Prof mixes a sample of his blood with a sample of the skollotin’s blood. The spidery things chase the normal cells around in a mean kinda way. The Prof looks concerned.

Meanwhile, Penelope is heading to her mother’s room – the room she was forbidden to go in.

The Prof dictates to Waterlow some guff about evil and so on. How it might be possible to immunise people against evil. He wants to trial the serum on a living monkey, which the living monkey doesn’t look too thrilled about.

Penelope lets herself into her mother’s room. Lots of nice posters of the Folie Bergere. Dancing shoes and such. Her mum seemed fun. Funner than the Prof, I’d say. He was definitely punching above his weight. Maybe when they say ‘lunatic’ what they really mean is ‘liking the theatre’. But fair point.

Back in the leh-borra-treh, Waterlow extracts more saveloy juice and gets ready to make some anti-evil serum.

Penelope is busy going through her mother’s things. Sniffing her dresses. Fondling her merkins.

Back in the leh-borra-treh, the serum’s ready. The live monkey is just finishing off a baguette, but suddenly doesn’t like the look of how the afternoon’s going as Waterlow screws a syringe together.

The Prof injects the monkey, then looks at his watch (the Prof’s watch, not the monkey’s).

Penelope is playing with her mother’s toy theatre, making childlike, dah-dah-dee noises and moving the characters around – a bit like Freddie Francis in this hokey pile o’crap. But then she notices a newspaper next to the toy theatre, with a headline saying Famous Parisian Music Hall Artiste Committed to Asylum. Which puts a damper on things.

Back in the leh-borra-treh, on the monkey cam: current status, sleeping. The Prof looks at some more slides and concludes the serum is a success. He can inoculate people against evil! He shakes hands with Waterlow and they go to bed. Separately. Waterlow’s nice but not that nice.

There’s a storm outside. Thunder and so on. The camera pans along the skoloting. The sleeping monkey starts to twitch.

The Prof hears his wife’s piano playing – and knows Penelope has found the room! When he goes up there he finds Penelope in his wife’s dress playing something mournful, her hair all Asylum chic. The Prof has a go at Penelope for breaking in; Penelope has a go at him for not telling her the truth about her mother. It’s all very domestic. The Prof cries. Penelope rushes out. The Prof slumps down at the piano. Dries his tears on a merkin.

Flashback! The Prof’s wife Marguerite dancing lasciviously at the theatre whilst drunk guys leer down at her. When she goes back to her dressing room the Prof is waiting, looking very chilly. Then we see a montage of Marguerite seeing lots of other guys. Dancing on tables. Getting more wanton and out of control – until we see her playing crazy piano in her room and looking confused, her image distorted in a mirror… at which point she’s dragged off to the asylum.

‘No!’ says the Prof. ‘I won’t let this happen to Penelope!’
He rushes down to the leh-borra-treh to grab some serum.

He injects Penelope, who was in bed expecting Horlicks.

The monkey wakes up and screams.

Cut to: Lenny looking through the window of a pub. He goes in, assaults a woman, starts a fight, busts up the joint. Oh, Lenny! This is basically the curse of anyone called Lenny.

The police arrive after it’s all over (nothing new there). Arrest some sailors, I expect. The owner identifies Lenny. ‘That’s him! The big bald moth in a suit!’ (paraphrasing)

The police leave. The case is shaping up nicely.

Back to the leh-borra-treh. Waterlow has found something awful there and calls the Prof down. The monkey has broken out of the cage, smashed the place up, then died. Basically done a Lenny. (Except the dying bit. That was the monkey’s idea.)
‘The serum!’ says Waterlow. ‘Thank god we didn’t use it on a human being!’
The Prof looks worried.

Cut to: Penelope out in the local market. She’s wearing a vampy red dress and looking happier than ever. Maybe the serum is slow acting. You’d have to ask the monkey.

We see Lenny coming out of a warehouse, which fits him better than his suit.
At a push I’d say Lenny’s overall look was less Crazy Giant Moth and more Psychotic Baked Bean.

The police inspector is visiting Dr H again.
‘We’ve traced Lenny to the East End of London,’ he says. ‘Due to his violent nature, I can’t guarantee to bring him back alive.’
‘Just bring him back,’ says Dr H.

Meanwhile, Penelope sees some sailors going into a pub called The Blue Anchor. Looks like a fun place. Hurdy gurdy. Cor blimey. In she goes.

Actually, this is the same pub Lenny smashed up about a minute ago, so they’ve done well to get it back looking this crappy.

Penelope has come out without any money – but there’s a creepy gentleman prepared to pay for her drinks. He looks like he was heading for a wedding five years ago and got sidetracked.

The Prof is touring the streets in a hansom cab, looking for Penelope.

Actually, she’s in the Blue Anchor being accosted by the creepy gentleman who strokes her thigh and says ‘Having a good evening, eh?’ He takes her upstairs. She rakes his face with her nails. He goes back down again.

The Inspector arrives outside the Blue Anchor. He never seems to have any time off.

Penelops goes down into the bar and starts dancing wildly, like what her mum used to do. When a sailor grabs her she smashes a bottle and stabs him in the neck. (Which is probably an average night out for a sailor – especially in the Blue Anchor). Penelope runs out of the pub.

Suddenly she’s being chased by half of East London. Whistles and everything. I’m surprised they don’t have pitchforks and flaming torches.

Penelope dodges into a warehouse – the same one Lenny’s been sleeping in.

She backs away into a corner. Lenny’s hand comes out to grab her.

The villagers – I mean, the Londoners – are busy trying to break the warehouse door down just as the Prof arrives in the hansom cab.

Lenny drags Penelope upstairs. They go to the top of the warehouse. When Lenny looks out of a window to glare down at the villagers she whacks him with a plank and he falls out. Nooo!

The police rush in, arrest her and cart her away in manacles. Which isn’t a great look.

She gets taken to Dr H’s Asylum. Down in Dr H’s lab, technicians are experimenting on the effects of disco lighting on rats.
‘Any results?’ says Dr H.
‘No apparent reaction,’ says the tech. ‘A little funky chicken perhaps. The robot. Nothing really. It’s impossible to tell whether these lights have any effect at all…’

Another technician gives Dr H a blood sample from a woman who was just brought in.
He looks at it through the microscope and sees all the ‘orrible spidery things.

Dr H takes Penelope in a cab with her hands manacled. He delivers her to the Prof’s house, and tells Martha / Emily to take her upstairs and keep her under constant supervision. Which Martha / Emily isn’t thrilled about. But I can’t imagine Martha / Emily being thrilled about anything. Maybe a house fire.

Dr H goes into the leh-borra-treh. Finds the skulleton. Looks through the microscope. Sees more of the ‘orrible spidery things. Reads the Prof’s notes. The Prof comes in and demands Dr H leaves. Dr H says he could ruin the Prof if he let it be known he’d experimented on his own family. Although maybe it’d backfire and he’d win the Richter Prize instead.

Back at the Asylum, Dr H decides to steal the skellutun, because he thinks there’s something fishy about it that the Prof’s keeping quiet. He employs a ne’er do well on a freelance ne’er do well contract to ne’er do well and get the bones.

Waterlow disturbs the bone burglar and gets done in good n’proper.

As the bone burglar carries the skollingdon outside, it drags its hand in a water trough. Plus it sounds like rain. Reconstituting tonight!

How they’re going to fit the skelligtun into the tiny cab is another question altogether. Although I suppose skenglingtons fold up in the middle pretty good. Like a person, basically.

The Prof sees Dr H ride off.

The skeggiton is sitting next to Dr H in the cab. Looks pretty happy about it. Could murder a coffee. But a day out in a storm has got to be good.

The Prof saddles up a horse, slams it into first gear and hurries out.

There now follows a thrilling horse / cab chase. With capes. In the rain. And the picture quality is so poor on this laptop it’s like trying to make out carp in a muddy pond.

The skoggington’s hand is reconstituting! Dr H is oblivious.

The cab hits a rock and tips over, crushing the cabbie. Meanwhile, the skogington gets soaked in the rain…starts to bulk up…

Dr H tells the squashed cabbie he’ll get help from the Asylum – because in this film everything is conveniently near everything else. The slokingingon climbs out of the cab.

The Prof finally catches up with the crashed cab. Finds the squashed cabbie. Sees a cloaked figure coming towards him. Rides off again.

The rescue party from the Asylum arrives at the crash site. Take turns looking at the squashed cabbie and trying not to vomit. Set off to find the skoingingong.

The Prof arrives back home and locks all the doors. Picks up the saveloy and tosses it in the fire.

Later that night – an owl hoots. It’s what they do.

The Prof sprints up the stairs to see Penelope. Goes up to Marguerite’s room instead.

In Penelope’s room, Martha / Emily is asleep. Penelope takes the manacles and stranacles her. That really was NOT a good working environment for her.

Meanwhile, the shadow of the beast falls across the outside of the house. Walks up to the front door (maybe I’m wrong – maybe it’s Deliveroo). Reaches out and flips the knocker. Which is not something you’d expect the missing link to know how to do, but maybe knockers are instinctive.

Penelope runs downstairs. Lets the skollingbon in. For some reason it ignores her and heads through to the leh-borra-treh. Starts smashing it up. Penelope goes outside and starts dancing.

The Prof goes out onto the landing and looks down. Sees the maxibon coming up the stairs. Hurries back into the bedroom and locks the door. The skelibonmax starts forcing the door. For some reason the Prof changes his mind and lets him in. (For the love of God WHY?) It advances on the Prof in a breathy and ‘orrible way. You see its face – like cooked shrimp on a soggy pastry base. It tears off one of the Prof’s fingers. Could’ve been worse.

Dr H arrives at the Prof’s house. Sees Penelope dancing on the lawns. Goes inside and finds the Prof crying at his dead wife’s piano. Looks down at him with an expression like: how’m I gonna sort THIS shit out?

And so we’re back to where the film started – the Prof hiring the fully qualified Doctor to help him in his quest to cure evil….

But ….

turns out….

…the Prof is NOT in his own lab, but in a mock up put together in Dr H’s asylum. The doctor locks the cell and then walks on with Dr H – who tells him the whole thing’s a fantasy. The Prof even believes that Penelope is his daughter (she’s dancing in a nearby cell).

‘How long’s he been here?’ says the doctor.
‘Oh – three years, I think,’ says Dr H. ‘The year I won the Richter Prize!’

The Prof sinks to his knees behind the bars. Reaches out to grab them. He’s MISSING A FINGER!

And that’s it!

The End.

So what’ve we learned?

  1. Don’t be tempted to try the Blue Anchor. It’s lively but trouble.
  2. When you’ve finished looking into a microscope, it’s important to come back up slowly with a stunned expression like you’ve just discovered something stupendous. Every… single … time.
  3. Don’t take your skegginton out in the rain if you can help it. It’s not a good look.
  4. It’s tough to make a living in the theatre so it definitely helps if you’re insane
  5. Romance magazines. You know what’s in ‘em.

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