Cast & Crew
Obsessed by the idea of eternal life, Professor Dexter and his fellow researcher, Professor John Gilmore, awaken a tramp they have frozen in slumber for four months. To prove his theory that life can be sustained indefinitely, Dexter decides to travel to the Arctic to uncover a prehistoric man who has been imprisoned in the ice for a millennium. After a grueling ten-month search, Dexter and Gilmore unearth a body and transport it back to Dexter's laboratory. Upon defrosting the creature, the scientists discover that it is neither man nor beast, lacking the basic abilities of speech and reason. To civilize the creature, Dexter decides to transplant a portion of a modern man's brain into its skull. At a party at the Gilmore house that evening, Dexter becomes intrigued by Steve Rogers, the fiancé of Gilmore's niece Anne. Determining that Steve's brain would make a perfect subject for his experiment, Dexter invites him home. Suspecting Dexter's diabolical scheme, Gilmore follows them to the laboratory and finds Steve unconscious on the operating table with Dexter poised for surgery, scapel in hand. Alarmed, Gilmore pulls out his gun and orders Dexter to halt. Steve is revived, and after he departs, Gilmore upbraids Dexter and threatens to turn him in to the police. Later that night, the apeman bends back the bars of his cage and escapes, killing a policeman before Dexter is able to recapture him. Reading about the murder in the morning paper, Gilmore phones Dexter and is relieved when the scientist asks his help in destroying the monster. When Gilmore enters the lab, however, Dexter paralyzes him with an electronic ray and then transplants his brain tissue into the apeman. The operation is a success, but when the creature awakens, he thinks that he is Gilmore and returns to the Gilmore house. Lumbering into Mrs. Gilmore's bedroom, the ape man strangles the startled woman to death and then flees. While Steve chases the monster, Anne summons the police. After being knocked unconscious by the creature, Steve is revived by the police and leads them back to Dexter's house. By the time they arrive, however, Dexter has hidden his creation behind his laboratory wall. Breaking down the wall, the apeman attacks his creator. Before dying, Dexter warns that incineration is the only way to destroy the beast. As a city-wide alarm is sounded, the creature returns to the Gilmore house and kidnaps Anne. Swinging across telephone lines, it carries Anne's unconscious body to a deserted theater. When the police arrive, the ape man swings onto a catwalk above the stage and escapes. The creature then carries Anne back to Dexter's house, the creature imprisons her in the lab. As the police approach, the apeman switches on some electronic equipment, generating sparks that set the lab ablaze. Braving the flames, Steve rescues Anne, leaving the ape man behind to perish in the conflagration.
The working title of this film was Revenge of the Ape Man. According to a modern source, George Zucco was originally to play the role of the apeman until he became ill and was replaced by Frank Moran. Although onscreen credits list both Moran and Zucco in the role of "Ape man," only Moran appears to have played the part. A modern source adds Frank Leigh to the cast.