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Film / The Neanderthal Man

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The Neanderthal Man is a 1953 B-Movie starring Robert Shayne. Professor Clifford Groves, a celebrated anthropologist, moves with his wife and daughter to the Sierra Nevada so he can work on his masterpiece: a serum that can reverse a million years of evolution. He tests it on himself, turns into a Neanderthal, and goes on a killing spree.

The Neanderthal Man contains examples of:

  • Devolution Device: The serum can turn a man into a Neanderthal and a housecat into a saber-toothed tiger.
  • Dying as Yourself: After Groves is shot, he turns from a Neanderthal to a human, then dies.
  • Frazetta Man: The Neanderthal Man is a dimwitted, hairy brute who runs around strangling people and animals.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During the climax, the Neanderthal Man is attacked by his saber-toothed tiger, giving the sheriff's posse time to shoot him.
  • Mad Scientist: Groves.
  • Opening Monologue: "In brooding beauty whose parallel one would have far to seek, stand California's high Sierras, fishermen's paradise and hunter's haven, where the defacing hand of civilization has fallen only lightly, and nature's vestments are displayed in all her rugged, primeval abandon."
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Groves.
  • Technicolor Science: Groves's workroom contains vials full of different-colored liquid, one of which is bubbling and steaming.
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  • They Called Me Mad!: Groves's fellow anthropologists all think his theories are absurd. It doesn't help that when he's asked for evidence, he starts yelling about how close-minded everyone else is.
    Groves: Lunacy, is it? In other words, you will never accept a new idea unless it is offered with proof? You have no vision, only sight! Small men, small views! You want proof, do you? Well, I'll give you proof! I'll show you such proof that no men have ever had!
  • This Is Reality: Groves accuses his skeptical colleagues of having a "comic strip mentality."
  • Unwitting Test Subject: Groves originally tested the serum on the family's deaf-mute housekeeper, Celia. She only partially reverted, and she has no memory of being experimented on. Groves chalks up the failure of the experiment to "some incompatibility between my formula and the basic female constitution."


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