Saturday, August 23, 2014

BEHIND LOCKED DOORS - "The Human Gorilla" (1948)

Hey everybody, and welcome to yet another rousing round of Saturday Night Classics in The Dungeon! I like "Behind Locked Doors" a lot! It's a good story with a solid cast, and it's just over an hour long, which is a good thing for people with short attention spans like myself!

I honestly thought that the title was "Human Gorilla," but as it turns out, that was just an alternate title used when it was re-issued, to try and spice it up a bit! Gorilla was a good buzz word back in the day!

What a lovely couple! Richard Carlson as Private Investigator Ross Stewart, and Lucille Bremer as Investigative Reporter Kathy Lawrence!! It seems there's a dirty Judge hiding out in a local sanitarium, and Kathy wants to hire Ross to act like he's nuts to get inside and see if the Judge is really in there! There's a $10,000.00 reward for anybody spotting the Judge, so that's a cool five thousand apiece, which was a pretty nice chunk back in 1948! Since he just opened his office, and he hasn't had a client yet, Ross goes for it!!

Hubba, Hubba!! This is the Judge's main squeeze Madge Bennett as played by Gwen (SENORITA OF THE WEST) Donovan in her last role, and she's been spotted going into the Nuthouse on a regular basis, and that's what's tipped off Kathy Lawrence! It cracks me up when Ross comments that she looks pretty hot, Kathy doesn't waste any time letting him know that the picture is 10 years old!

Here he is, the Super-Swedish Angel himself, Karl Oscar Tore Johansson! I find it interesting that the great Tor Johnson wasn't even originally credited in this movie, but in the re-release title "Human Gorilla," his character was obviously the main selling point, but then again, that's just how shit works!

The sadistic bastard hospital guard Larson is record producer extraordinaire Kim Fowley's Pop, Douglas Fowley! Douglas had over 300 acting credits, and at least 7 wives!  What a guy!! You watch this movie, and you will not like this man! Larson is what is commonly referred to as a despicable person, or in the vernacular, an asshole!

Here comes da Judge!! That's Judge Finlay Drake on the right as played by Herbert (BEDTIME FOR BONZO, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, KING OF THE COWBOYS) Heyes. Herbert's acting career went all the way back to 1915! On the left is another guy this blog couldn't exist without, Thomas Browne Henry as Dr. Clifford Porter, the guy running the whole joint! Was Thomas in every cool 50's Sci-Fi and horror film ever made? It seems quite possible! Here's a short but truly unbelievable list: "Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers," "20 Million Miles To Earth," "Beginning Of The End," "The Brain From Planet Arous," "Blood Of Dracula," "Space Master X-7," "The Thing That Couldn't Die," and "How To Make A Monster!"

The only way for them to get Ross into this place was for Kathy and Ross to pretend that they were married, so on visitation days, Ross plays it to the hilt, while Kathy is less invigorated! While she feigns interest, he is actually going crazy, crazy for her, that is!!

Sneaking around in the dark at night looking for clues is not going to do anything but get Ross in big trouble!!

Richard Carlson is in our Sci-Fi/Horror Hall Of Fame without a doubt for obvious reasons like "The Magnetic Monster," "It Came From Outer Space," "The Maze," "Riders To The Stars," and "Creature From The Black Lagoon!" Perky Lucille Bremer was only on the big screen 10 times before she hung it up after she got married! Lucille was really a dancer, and was mostly in musicals with people like Fred Astaire and Judy Garland! In 1948 she met and married Abalardo Louis Rodriguez, a Mexican Millionaire and lived happily, and richly ever after until 1996 when she passed away at the age of 79!! I like her in this movie, it's a shame she didn't do more!

Here's something you sure as Hell don't see anymore! In 1973 matchbooks were federally mandated to move the striker to the back citing reasons of safety! I think one life has been saved because of that ruling! Ross Stewart has finally come up with a plan! He gives a book of matches to an inmate who has work duty access in the locked wards, and who is also a firebug! After the fire gets started it flushes out the Judge into the open where he can be seen!

While dousing the fire, Ross Stewart gets his first look at the Judge, and yep, that's him all right!

Unfortunately the Judge also spots Ross Stewart looking at him, and realizes his hiding place is no longer a secret! Time to take some action!

Now they only have one choice! They have to kill Ross Stewart, and even though Dr. Porter wants to have nothing to do with murder, the Judge easily convinces him that if they don't, then the good Doctor will surely be going to jail! Dr. Porter has that great line, "I was crazy to let you ever come here!"

Ross Stewart is unceremoniously thrown into a cell deep in the locked ward where nobody can find him until they figure out what to do with him!

In the meantime, his wife is told by the Doctor that she can't see him for some trumped up reason! It's right here that I called bullshit on this movie because she knows there's bad things going on, and there would be no possible reason in the world why she wouldn't have said "NO!" and demanded to see him! She got him into this mess, and I just don't believe she would have accepted this! She was too smart and sassy!!

They figured out a nice easy plan! Larson will put Ross Stewart in the cell with the punch drunk champ! That ought to take care of him, no problemo!

I really thought something would turn around at this point! Maybe Ross could talk to the Champ, or maybe he wasn't so bad of a guy after all, but Nope, he just kicks Ross's ass from one side of the cell to the other with Larson watching through the window and enjoying the show immensely!

But in the end, everybody gets their just rewards, Kathy Lawrence busts Ross out by sneaking in as the Judge's girlfriend, and in the commotion, dumbass Larson leaves The Champ's cell door open, and when Tor catches up with him, he tosses his tormentor off the top of a flight of stairs! On the 'Didn't Fall Asleep' meter, "Behind Locked Doors" gets a 10 from me, and that's hard to beat!!

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