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The Brute Man is a 1946 horror suspense film about a deformed man seeking out revenge. It stars Rondo Hatton and was directed by Jean Yarbrough.
Hal Moffett was a football player in college who was trying to woo his best friend-slash-roommate's girlfriend. In lighthearted retaliation, said friend deliberately gives Hal the wrong answers in a study session so he earns detention in Chemistry class. Hal's temper makes him cause a lab accident that ends in caustic chemicals going off in his face; he survives, but it warps him in both face and mind, and he soon vanishes.
Years later, the city is in terror of a mysterious serial killer known as "The
Brute Man Creeper". While on the run from the police, the Creeper -- Hal -- stumbles upon a blind piano teacher who shows kindness to him and (unwittingly) shelters him from his pursuers. Now, on top of revenge, Hal is determined to help his new friend -- Creeper-style.
Meanwhile, the police doggedly pass the buck to avoid bad publicity and political interference during their pursuit of the Creeper.
- Anticlimax: Oh you were expecting some kind of confrontation between Hal and Helen!? Nope, he goes zero to Creep in 3 seconds and almost strangles her with her back turned before the cops stop him, without so much as a word. And now let's end it with a joke instead!
- Blind and the Beast: Subverted.
- Deus Ex Machina: The commissioner suddenly telling Helen that she could probably afford the surgery sure feels like one.
- Freudian Slip: After the police commissioner chews him out to distract the city representatives, Police Lieutenant Gates says that he'll pass the buc--the word to the rest of the department.
- Groin Attack: When Hal breaks into Clifford's home and threatens him and Virginia to get money for Helen's operation, Clifford eventually responds by firing multiple shots -- apparently right into Hal's "area".
- Grumpy Old Man: The shopkeeper.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl
- Jerkass: Just about everyone.
- Hal himself, blaming everyone but himself for his temper causing his change (plus being the Creeper and all).
- Clifford, for giving his roommate/friend Hal bogus chemistry advice just to screw him out of a date.
- Virginia, who went with Clifford to walk past the lab in which Hal had to stay after class, just to mock him after Clifford screwed him out of the date Clifford was on with her that very moment.
- The store keeper, who apparently openly hates his sole employee.
Storekeeper: Creeper! Creeper! Creeper! You give me the creeps!
- The apathetic police who don't seem to care much about the case or the murders.
- Helen, though, is nice. And look where it gets her.
- Poisonous Friend
- Rage Against the Reflection
- Reality Subtext: The plot of the film was semi-biographical as the story revolved around a handsome college athlete scarred and turned into a monster by an accident. Hatten was dying during filming, and passed away shortly after filming. Universal felt guilty about exploiting Hatten's disease to the extent that they sold the film rights to Republic and completely disowned the film.
- Two Guys and a Girl
- Villain Protagonist