"Stop Screamin'" - The Creeper.
Welcome to the month of trick or treating, broomsticks, and the bogeyman. We are dedicating this month to a man, who departed this world too soon, but left a lasting legacy in the B horror genre, Rondo Hatton.
On April 22, 1894, Rondo was the oldest born to two school teachers, Stewart Prince Hatton, Sr. and Emily Zarring Hatton, in Hagerstown, Maryland. After the passing of his brother, Stewart Prince Hatton, Jr in 1911 at the age of 11 or 12, the remaining Hatton family moved, settling in Hillsborough, Florida in 1912.
Here, Rondo would quickly flourish, becoming popular with his fellow classmates. In his senior year, he became an athlete in track and football and was voted Handsomest Boy. After graduation, Rondo joined the Florida National Guard, serving in combat on the Pancho Villa Expedition along the Mexican border and later during World War I in France for the United States Army. While in France, Rondo would be exposed to mustard gas and hospitalized with a lung injury. He was soon given a medical released from serve and a pension.
Back in Florida, Rondo obtained a job as a sportswriter for the Tampa Tribune. After some time, his features began to change. According to sources, the exposure to the gas triggered a disorder in his pituitary gland known as acromegaly, causing deformity in the bones in the head, hands, and feet.
While covering the filming of Hell Harbor, Rondo was offered a role from the film’s director Henry King. In 1936, Rondo and his second wife, Mabel Housh, packed up and moved to Hollywood, leaving his journalism career behind. For sometime, he was given bit parts. It wasn’t until he was cast in Universal’s 1944 film “The Pearl of Death” as Hoxton Creeper, that his career began to take off. But it was short lived. He would be cast in two more films, “House of Horrors” and “The Brute Man” before he would suffer a fatal heart attack, taking his life on February 2, 1946. His body was returned to Tampa, Florida to be laid to rest in the American Legion Cemetery. He was 51.
To honor this cult icon, I have chosen the” “House of Horrors” as the premiere film for Rondo Hatton. Released by Universal Pictures, this 1946 horror classic stars Rondo as “The Creeper”. Directed by Jean Yarbrough, this 66 minute picture is about a suicidal, struggling sculptor who saves the life of a madman known as ‘The Creeper” from drowning. Taking the killer into his care, he soon uses him to murder the critics of his artwork. Though this movie has its flaws, it’s still a wonderful B horror flick, filled with surprises and treats. So, grab a cup and get ready for some chills, thrills, and murder. “House of Horrors” can be seen for free on Dailymotion.