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on January 6, 2014
THE STORY: Lon Chaney is Charles "Butcher" Bensen, a bank robber ratted out by his three criminal co-horts when he keeps the loot from their recent heist and refuses to divulge its whereabouts. Rail-roaded through the system, imprisoned & sentenced to death, Bensen vows to kill the three finks... even if he has to do it from beyond the grave! Luckily for the Butcher, immediately following his execution his body is purchased by an unscrupulous scientist's assistant, for the purpose of conducting unconventional experiments involving cellular regeneration. Robert Shayne (Inspector Henderson from the 1950's "Superman" TV show), and an uncredited Joe Flynn (Captain Binghamton from "McHale's Navy"), work their medical hocus-pocus on the Butcher's fresh corpse, and before you can say "Leapin' Lazurus!" the Big Guy is lumbering back to life, (understandably NOT in the best of moods), and immediately begins hunting down his former partners. Casey Adams (aka Max Showalter, who played Grandpa Fred in John Hughes' "Sixteen Candles"), is police Lt. Dick Chasen (good lord, was that name intentional?), a by-the-book cop who is determined to get his man, er... corpse, er... whatever, at any cost. He also provides voice-over narration, like many great old 1940's gumshoe flicks, to keep us from getting too confused,.

THOUGHTS: Let's be honest. This is an undeniably silly movie, but there's just something about it. It has a zany charm that I felt the very first time I watched it. This new "Widescreen Edition" is the 2nd or 3rd version of this film I've owned. That's how much I like it. It is goofy as all get out, but has real heart. It takes itself seriously but is too off-kilter to be enjoyed as a serious film from either a sci-fi perspective or as a crime drama. But... as a whacked out mishmash of both genres, it succeeds with flying colors!

THE DVD: This release from Bayview Entertainment/Widowmaker touts it as being a hi-def transfer in its proper widescreen format. The presentation here is certainly much cleaner looking than any of the other grainy, muffled-sounding, splice-ladden, washed out Public Domain releases that I've endured over the years. No, it's not a frame-by-frame Hi-Def restoration like Ben-Hur or Gone With The Wind, but it looks pretty dang good. I don't pretend to know all the history behind this low budget quickie, so I cannot say for sure whether or not this widescreen presentation is the proper aspect ratio. The picture fills my HDTV screen and the print quality looks quite nice. If you pick up a used copy thru Amazon then it's an even better bargain. 5 STARS for this goofy yet charming Lon Chaney Jr. sci-fi/crime noir/horror time-waster. It's perfect fare for late night viewing or any day when the weather's crummy.
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on July 28, 2003
This film really isn't so bad if you consider a few things. An encouraged guy named Jack Pollexfen (not unlike Ed Wood) had an idea (not unlike Ed Wood) and cast a great actor from the past (not unlike Ed Wood). The difference is that this is a take on "noir", though without the finesse of those earlier films (sorta like Ed Wood). Production values, as in any independent film with a somewhat believable plot, are low. ("Blair Witch Project", though innovative, was not much different). My idea is not to criticize it for its tackiness, but for its idea. The acting isn't that bad. Marian Carr is actually quite effective as the only female lead. Casey Adams was good as he could be; made a big mark on TV in "Green Acres"; it's almost a take on "Dragnet", the hit TV series at the time (though Adams has more life than Jack Webb ever did...). Then there's Lon Chaney, Jr., relegated to idiotic roles because Hollywood never knew what to do with him; with the studio collapse of the early 50's, no one remembered his touching performance as "The Wolf Man" (1941) or his most remarkable performance (as Lenny) in "Of Mice and Men" (1939, directed by Lewis Milestone). Whaddya do with a guy like this? Perhaps he knew that he was "hard to cast", but I beg anyone to say that his heart wasn't in it. Today's wave of independent film is suddenly recognized as a force to be reckoned with; budgets as they are, I think some of the "lousy" films of the 50's tried to do the same thing. They didn't have Miramax to back them...NO ONE, for that matter. Still, I was a part of the Drive-In crowd back then, and I still appreciate this kind of film fare. Even bad independent film should be respected, to a point. The really trashy films will be just that; small moments of ingenuity should be respected. I have the VHS version, and now the DVD. Both are of low quality, but I find both equally entertaining. This film has been written off as junk by the studios who've produced it. Despite the bad VHS/DVD transfers, the film held my interest. Decide for yourself. ADD'L COMMENT: I just got the DVD of the "Inner Sanctum" series, all starring Lon Chaney, Jr. They're 6 short B-movies from the mid-40's, and fun. Excellent picture transfer.
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on May 6, 2017
I recently purchased 12 Film Detective DVDs, mostly B horror movie titles and "Detour." All but one ("The Vampire Bat") showed absolutely no evidence of any kind of restoration and most pixilated to the point of being unwatchable. "The Vampire Bat" is the only one that was truly restored (by UCLA) and is the only one I'm keeping.
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on September 13, 2016
Widescreen version with sharp image, syndication prologue, syndication ending credits and some other duplicate footage near the end to pad the running time. No splices or cue marks, but it's very grainy and somewhat dark, though the darkness can be improved by bringing up the white level on your TV.
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on November 8, 2016
Love these old movies.
Guy gets death penalty and in Frankenstein style he is brought back to life. And is ready for revenge. He is out to get all those that ratted him out to the coppers.
If you love old black and white horror/drama this is a must watch.
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on August 31, 2014
A true classic! Lon Chaney Jr. as "THE BUTCHER." Wonderful shots of old Los Angeles... Angel's Flight, Bradbury Bldg., etc. See Lon murder people at them all HA! HA! Not to mention Joe Flynn, Robert Shayne & Casey Adams! You get all this on top of Lon Chaney coming back to life via 287,000 volts!!! A must see for one & all. Don't Miss It!!!
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on June 13, 2013
It's hard to carry on a movie career with a name of a famous movie legend who happened to be your father. Bur Lon Chaney, Jr has carved his own path to movie stardom. He's played a lot of great roles since the Wolf Man. He played them all with great intensity and as the indestructible man, he still delivered. So what it's a low budget flick, Pick this one up...and don't forget the popcorn.
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on March 10, 2017
Not the remastering I was hoping for.
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on March 16, 2014
Lon Chaney is great. The plot is fantastic and even more than a half century later, it is watchable. I like it better than the Chuck Norris rip off "Silent Rage"
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on July 22, 2015
good copy. arrived quickly
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