Hideous Sun Demon, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1959; vt Blood on His Lips UK; vt Terror from the Sun, vt The Sun Demon). Clarke-King Enterprises/Pacific International Enterprises. Produced by Robert Clarke. Directed by Clarke and Tom Boutross. Written by E S Seeley Jr with additional dialogue by Doane R Hoag from an original idea by Clarke and Phil Hiner. Monster costume by Richard Cassarino (uncredited). Cast includes Robert Clarke, Fred La Porta, Patricia Manning, Nan Peterson, Peter Similuk and Patrick Whyte. 74 minutes. Black and white.

In a laboratory accident, alcoholic atomic Scientist Dr Gil McKenna (Clarke) is exposed to what should have been a fatal dose of radiation, but he shows no signs of injury when examined in hospital. When in sunlight, however he Shapeshifters into a reptilian Monster; the hospital implausibly releases him when he regains human form. His girlfriend Ann Russell (Manning) and friend Dr Frederick Buckell (Whyte) try to get McKenna to stay indoors during the day until radiation specialist Hoffman (La Porta) can try to reverse the process. Unfortunately, McKenna's craving for liquor overrules his reason. Locating a nearby night club, McKenna there meets singer Trudy Osborne (Peterson) and becomes infatuated with her. They have a late-night fling leading to both being on the beach at sunrise; but McKenna is able to flee before she sees his transformation. Her mobster boyfriend George Messorio (Similuk) learns of this episode and proceeds to severely beat McKenna when he returns to the club next evening. Additional such encounters follow, until one occurs in the daytime the transformed McKenna kills George. After a manhunt, the police corner McKenna in his monstrous form atop a water tower, and finally shoot him to death as Ann and Dr Buckell watch.

The Hideous Sun Demon is actor Clarke's only directorial credit; he showed some flair for the task despite having almost no budget to work with. The monster suit is fairly effective in this variation on the more usual Werewolf theme; Clarke later said he was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886). [GSt]

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