Call me strange.Like most fan-boys I do imaginary movie castings. Like for instance I think of a big-budget Batman movie in the 40s that stars Robert Taylor as the "caped crusader" with Conrad Veidt and Paulette Goddard as respectively the Joker and the Catwoman. You could also throw in Goddard's husband Burgess Meredith as the Penguin. Can't get around it.Meredith would have been perfect as the Penguin no matter what the era. But I also imagine comic book adaptations of favorite B-Movies. I think it comes from my formative years being in an era when Dell Comics was adapting movies and television shows to comics. And I imagine from time to time an adaptation of the 1946 cult film HOUSE OF HORRORS illustrated by Steve Ditko.
Best known for his work on Spider-Man and Dr.Strange at Marvel Comics he also did great work for Charlton,Warren and DC. His work on BEWARE THE CREEPER is some of the best examples of "comic book noir" ever drawn. So it's easy for me to imagine Ditko drawing adaptations of 1940s mystery movies or low-budget horror flicks. Actually the comic book versions might have been better. Being un-hampered by budget restrictions.
Coming to us from 1946 is HOUSE OF HORRORS.
Directed by Jean Yarbrough with a screenplay by George Bricker,from an original story by Dwight V. Babcock this is a little 65 minute movie that has gained cult status over the years. It stars Rondo Hatton in his signature role as the Creeper a neanderthalic killer. Robert Lowery plays pin-up artist Steve Morrow and Virginia Grey plays art critic Joan Medford,Steve's love interest. The best performances in the flick come from Alan Napier,as an acerbic art critic F.Holmes Harmon, who would have been played by Clifton Webb or George Sanders if this was an "A" picture, and Martin Kosleck as the unhinged sculptor Marcel De Lange.
The film's simple storyline has unhinged artist Marcel De Lange on his way to the river to end it all after art critic Harmon causes him to lose a sale. Instead he ends up saving escaped killer the Creeper (no other name is given in this picture) from drowning and puts him to work as a model...and killing his critics. What would have made this so great as a vehicle for Ditko is the main set is crazed artist De Lange's studio/home with it's abstract sculptures.
Over the years Ditko has drawn a number of stories featuring artist's studios. And I dare say they steal the show. The other thing he would have nailed would have been the character of the Creeper. Ditko had a certain way of drawing physical brutes that was unmatched. His interpretation of Rondo's Creeper character would have been unforgettable.
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