Rondo Hatton was a victim of poison gas in World War One. He developed Acromegaly. That led to a short career in Hollywood playing maniacal killers. Of course they’re not classics but still worth checking out at least one. This is a good place to start.
The city is being plagued by a killer nicknamed The Creeper. He’s already killed a chemistry professor named Cushman (John “Perry White” Hamilton) and Joan Bemis. The cops are chasing him and he climbs through the window of a waterfront apartment. Inside is a girl named Helen Paige (Jane Adams). The cops come to the door and she tells him to hide in her bedroom. He ducks out the window and escapes. He doesn’t know that she wasn’t afraid of his face because she’s blind.
He slips a grocery order under a store door and Jimmy the young delivery boy takes the order to a waterfront shack. A voice tells him to leave it by the door. Jimmy goes next door and looks through a window. He should have looked behind him.
The heat is on Captain M.J.Donelly (Donald MacBride). Make an arrest or find another career. What he does find a little later is The Creeper’s hideout and Jimmy’s body. Donelly is searching the place and finds a newspaper article picturing three college friends. They are Clifford Scott (Tom Neal), Virginia Scott and Hal Moffet.
The Creeper goes to a pawn shop and gets a pin. When he’s refused credit the pawnbroker is refused the rest of his life. He goes back to Helen’s and gives it to her. Now he finds out she’s blind. She says she needs three thousand dollars for an operation. She doesn’t make much giving piano lessons.
Donelly goes to the Scott’s house and gets the lowdown. Hal was a college football star with a quick temper. He had eyes for Virginia but she’s Clifford’s girl. One night Clifford and Joan are waiting in a restaurant for Hal and Virginia. They show up late because Hal was stalling to have more time with Virginia.
Clifford and Hal were roommates. Clifford helped him pass his subjects so he could keep playing football. The next day there’s a chemistry test. Hal asks him to check his answers. They’re right but he changes them after Hal says he has a date with Virginia after class. Since his answers are all wrong professor Cushman keeps Hal after school.
Just to throw in a jab Clifford walks Virgina past the lab window where Hal is doing an experiment. He gets angry and throws a test tube on the floor and it blows up in his face. The Creeper is born. A guard is placed outside the Scott’s place.
The Creeper sneaks past the guard and confronts Virginia and says he wants a lot of money or at least some jewels. Now Clifford comes home and walks in. Some class reunions are no fun at all.
Hatton does have a presence and is worth seeing at least once.