Creeping Flesh Reviews
While having breakfast with his daughter, Penelope (the breathtaking Lorna Heilbron), Emmanuel reads a letter informing him of his wife's death. Unbeknowst to Penelope, her mother has been in an insane asylum since she was a little girl. Fearful that his wife's mental illness may be hereditary, Emmanuel has sheltered his daughter at their estate with only the servants to keep her company. She's not allowed outside, except for short walks within the gated premises.
Emmanuel travels to the institution where his wife died. He meets up with his half-brother, James (Christopher Lee), who happens to be the insane asylum's director and a competing scientist. Emmanuel was always the favorite of the two siblings, the one destined to achieve greatness, so it's with great pleasure that James tells him that he is in the running for the prestigious Richter Award. In addition, he will no longer fund Emmanuel's transcontinental trips.
I'm not familiar with most horror predating 1980. I rate this somewhere between 60%-70% (about a 6.5/10). I've never watched a movie, horror or other genre, with so much anticipation and dread for what may come. The climax is truly a frightening one. The suspense is nail-biting! Lee and Cushing are great but it's the beautiful Heilbron who steals the show. I want to watch more films she stars in.
I recommend this to horror fans who want to explore the classics. No gore, torture, or loud music cues to instill a false sense of fear. I liked it!
"The Creeping Flesh" is a decent chiller that is a bit slow in getting started, but once it gets going, it's a riviting experience. It's got Peter Cushing giving one of his best performances as a mentally unstable scientist, Christopher Lee at his most effective as a monstrous villain hiding behind a veneer of respectablity, and the uniquely beautiful Lorna Heilbron as a gorgeous and completely deranged young woman.
Out of all the films that uses Victorian-style fantasy, horror, and pseudo-science, this is perhaps the film that captures the sexual repression and misogynism that was at the heart of so much of Victorian thought. And Cushing and Heilbron capture this mindset to a tee.
It may not be the best horror film ever made, but "The Creeping Flesh" definately captures the mood of "gothic horror" that I was shooting for back when I worked on the Ravenloft line. It's also a film that fans of both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee will be happy for seeking out.
The Creeping Flesh
Starring: Peter Cushing, Lorna Heilbron, Christopher Lee, and George Benson, and Hedger Wallace
Director: Freddie Francis