The Creeping Flesh (1973)

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

A researcher finds the origin of evil and works to create a cure for evilness.


Horror, Monster


James Hildern - Christopher Lee

Emmanuel Hildern - Peter Cushing

Penelope - Lorna Heilbron

Waterlow - George Benson

Lenny - Kenneth J. Warren

Inspector - Duncan Lamont

Barman - Harry Locke

Doctor Perry - Hedger Wallace

Carter - Michael Ripper

Emily - Catherine Finn

Young Aristocrat - Robert Swann

Young Doctor - David Bailie

Karl - Maurice Bush

Sailor - Tony Wright

Female Assistant - Marianne Stone

Whore - Alexandra Dane

Emmanuel's Wife - Jenny Runacre

1st Warder - Larry Taylor

2nd Warder - Martin Carroll

Lunatic - Dan Meaden


Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Emmanuel Hildern is painting a picture of a hooded creature surrounded by fingers. James Hildern tells Emmanuel that a Young Doctor is there to see him. Emmanuel tells him that he needs help with his research on studying the existence of evil as a living organism. He says that evil can be cured like any other disease, but it is spreading. He continues that he is guilty of unleashing evil onto the world 3,000 years early. He shows the Young Doctor his notes which started three years ago, on February 21st, 1893, when he returned to London from New Guinea. He brought back a skeleton which he thought was of primitive man.

Penelope calls to Emily and tells her that Emmanuel is back. Emmanuel walks into the house and hugs Penelope and then greets Emily and Waterlow and promises to eat breakfast with Penelope. The box with the specimen is brought to the laboratory by Carter and another man and Emmanuel excitedly tells Waterlow that it might win them the Richter Prize. Carter waits for a tip, but Emmanuel ignores him and as he is walking out of the house Carter calls Emmanuel a skinflint and Penelope pays him. Emmanuel shows Waterlow the specimen and compares the skulls of primitive humans to the large skull of the specimen. Emily tells Emmanuel that breakfast is ready, but he tells her that he is too busy. Waterlow and Emmanuel figure out the specimen must be older than Neanderthal, but seems more advanced. At breakfast, Penelope tells Emmanuel that she had to fire some servants, because they could no longer afford them. Emmanuel starts going through his mail and opens a letter from James that informs him that Emmanuel's Wife has died. Emmanuel goes to The Hildern Institute for Mental Disorders and James tells him that Emmanuel's Wife is buried on the institute grounds and asks Emmanuel when he is going to tell Penelope the truth about Emmanuel's Wife. Emmanuel tells James that he is worried the Emmanuel's Wife's mental illness was hereditary and Penelope might develop it. James shows Emmanuel a manuscript he has written which he is presenting for the Richter Prize and then tells him that he will no longer subsidize his expeditions. As Emmanuel is leaving, he stops and watches as Doctor Perry administers shock treatment to a patient. 1st Warder tells James that Lenny has escaped.

Emmanuel catches Penelope reading a romance book from Emmanuel's Wife's room and gets upset. As Emmanuel is using water to clean the specimen, it suddenly grows flesh on the part that water touched. Emmanuel then cuts off the finger. James goes to the ward with the locked up patients and gets the keys from 2nd Warder who hands him a gun for protection. As James is inspecting the area Lenny escaped from, a Lunatic breaks free from his cell and as he is escaping, James shoots him dead. The Inspector tells James that they haven't found Lenny yet and James gives him a photo of Lenny. Emmanuel tells Waterlow about a myth the people of New Guinea had in which their giant ancestors fought a war between good and evil and how, by removing the specimen from the ground, he sped up when the next war between good and evil will happen. Emmanuel looks at the specimen's blood under the microscope and sees living blood cells. He mixes the specimen's blood cells with his own and thinks evil could be prevented by inoculating people with a serum made from the specimen's blood. Penelope sneaks into Emmanuel's Wife's room and looks at her things. Emmanuel injects a monkey with the serum he just made. Penelope finds a newspaper article which mentions Emmanuel's Wife being committed to an insane asylum and the letter from James telling him of her death. Emmanuel looks at the monkey's blood and notices the serum has formed a protective film around the blood, and protects it from the specimen's evil blood. Emmanuel catches Penelope in Emmanuel's Wife's room and gets upset and she says he only wants to keep her a prisoner like Emmanuel's Wife. He remembers back to when Emmanuel's Wife started to go crazy and was taken to the institution. He later injects Penelope with the specimen's blood.

Lenny goes into The Blue Anchor pub and starts touching a Whore and then starts to choke her. The other pub patrons start to attack Lenny, but he beats them all up. The Inspector questions Barman who identifies Lenny from the photo. Waterlow goes to the laboratory and then calls Emmanuel and they find the monkey has gone crazy. Penelope goes to The Blue Anchor pub and orders a drink from the Barman. She asks for another and when she has no money to pay, a Young Aristocrat pays for her drinks. The Young Aristocrat pays for a room and brings Penelope into it and attempts to rape her. She scratches his face and he leaves. Penelope goes back down to the main room and starts to dance to the music being played. A Sailor grabs her and tries to kiss her and she breaks a bottle and slashes him in the throat with it. She runs away and goes inside a warehouse. Lenny, who is hiding in the warehouse grabs her and tells her to be quiet. The Inspector arrives along with 1st Warder and other police and they try to ram the door down. As Lenny is looking out a window, Penelope hits him with a board and as he is hanging from the window asking her to help him, she smiles and steps on his hands and he falls to his death. She is arrested and taken to James' asylum. James checks on Perry who is experimenting on guinea pigs and Perry wonders if the electric wave theory is wrong. A Female Assistant tells James that Lenny is dead and gives him a blood sample from Penelope.

James takes Penelope back home and sees the specimen and looks at the blood sample, which matches Penelope's. He reads Emmanuel's notes and when he sees Emmanuel, threatens to expose him. James tells Perry that he has to get Emmanuel's specimen and hires Karl to steal them. James and Karl go to Emmanuel's house and Karl kills Waterlow while escaping with the specimen. As Karl is carrying the specimen its hand gets dunked in water. James finds Waterlow's body and notices it is going to rain and rides after James and Karl. Flesh starts to grow on the specimen and lightening starts to strike. A tree branch falls down and James and Karl's carriage overturns onto Karl. James goes to get help and the pouring rain reawakens the Specimen. Emmanuel finds the carriage and sees Karl dead and the now Creature walking around and he rides away. James returns with Perry and see the Specimen is missing. Emmanuel returns home and burns the finger sample he took from the specimen. Penelope wakes up and steals the keys from a sleeping Emily after killing her. The Creature knocks on the door and Penelope lets it into the house. The Creature destroys the lab and attacks Emmanuel and rips off one of his fingers. James and Perry arrive at Emmanuel's home and find Penelope dancing in the front yard and Emmanuel laughing and humming.

Back to the present, Emmanuel warns the Young Doctor of the Creature and the evil it is spreading. The Young Doctor locks Emmanuel's cell and James tells him about his fantasies that Emmanuel thinks they are siblings and Penelope is his daughter. Emmanuel asks them for help as they walk away.