|MST3K: The Brute Man (1996, original air date)|
|Starring:||Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Trace Beaulieu|
|The Plot: Mike Nelson is trapped on the Satellite of Love with his best friends in the whole world… and they just so happen to be robots. This crew of misfits are forced, by the evil Dr. Forrester, to endure many incredibly bad movies. The only thing that makes this process bearable is the fact that they riff and crack jokes during the entire ordeal. Their film for the day is The Brute Man, which is an odd “prequel” of sorts to The House of Horrors. It follows a character known as “The Creeper,” AKA: Hal Moffet (Rondo Hatton), who is a deformed monster of a man searching for vengeance. You see, The Creeper wasn’t always the lumbering monster that he now appears to be. He was once a college athlete who was caught in a love triangle between his roommate and the girl of both of their dreams. When his roommate set him up with a series of wrong answers during chemistry class, Hal was forced to stay in the lab and concoct the right theorem. While dealing heavily with a lethal combination of chemicals, Hal accidentally caused an explosion that would forever change his life. Due to his glands being effected by these chemicals, Hal’s face began to deform and he became a wholly different person. Now, with society looking down on him as a monster, Hal becomes The Creeper and is out to destroy everyone who could be seen as vaguely responsible for this horrid series of events that have ruined his life.|
The use of Rondo Hatton’s deformity as a plot device is certainly something done in poor taste. Taking a great deal from Rondo’s own personal life story, the film treats him like a sideshow attraction. Whether or not it is based upon reality or not, it seems fairly offensive that his looks are continually insulted throughout the duration of the movie. Rondo Hatton’s appearance was certainly different from “normal,” but his deformities weren’t so completely unconventional as to get the reactions that he does throughout this movie. I commend the MST3K crew for avoiding attacks on Rondo’s deformity, which would have been in even worse taste than the actual plot for this movie. Although there are a few zings here and there, the majority of the jokes at Rondo’s expense seem to play him up as if he were a lug-head. This isn’t far from being offensive, but it at least leaves behind simple jokes at the expense of Rondo’s nose or specific abnormalities.
Featuring the most special features out of any disc on the Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXII boxset, The Brute Man has two very interesting featurettes, as well as the previously mentioned introduction by Mary Jo Pehl. The two featurettes are very solid. The first little documentary covers Rondo Hatton himself, and tells his rather sad story. A man who was transformed in a very similar way to The Creeer, the documentary goes into his entire life story and shows a very different look at this legend within the horror business. Indeed, I would recommend this box set for this one thirty minute documentary alone because it adds a considerable amount of weight to any viewing of Rondo’s work. The second featurette is a “Making of” made for Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in 1997. I had actually seen this little featurette before via YouTube, but to see it in higher quality was definitely a joy. Plenty of the jokes are worth sitting through multiple times, because this far from your average look behind the scenes of a television show.