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Crypt of Curiosities: A Look Back at Universal’s Horror Films Featuring Rondo Hatton’s “The Creeper”

In the mid ’40s, the Universal Monsters were in a tough spot. Up until then, the ’40s had been a nonstop flow of sequels and one-offs, with an avalanche of Invisible Men, Draculas (Draculi?), and the odd Frozen Ghost here and there releasing at a steady clip. But this high release rate had made them stale, and by the time 1946 came around, the studio was in desperate need of a new, recognizable monster.

Enter Rondo Hatton. A journalist-turned-b-movie-bit-player, Hatton had been afflicted with acromegaly for most of his adult life, which enlarged his jaw and pronounced his forehead over the years. This distinctive appearance led to him being cast as nameless goons up until the ’40s, when he got his big, career-defining role as The Creeper.

Curiously, The Creeper’s first appearance wasn’t in a horror film at all. It was in The Pearl of Death (1944), one of the

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