Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 1, Episode 38

  Herschel Daugherty
   James Cavanagh (teleplay); Joseph Ruscoll (story)
   Constance Ford, Steve Brodie, Harry Townes
   17 June 1956
   24:28 (total) • 20:24 (film) • 1:28 (Hitchcock)

The Creeper
The East Side Killer, dubbed by the police as 'the creeper' is still at large and the women of the local neighborhood are getting nervous. Ellen Grant, a tenant in the building where new janitor George has just started working, seeks for him to fit a new bolt on her door for her safety but he makes the excuse that he is too busy to do so. An elder lady tenant, Martha Stone, confirms that she does not like the new janitor, despite his friendly nature.
Ellen has breakfast with her grumpy husband Steve who complains about the eggs, his shoes and his job. He shows little interest in his wife's concerns about the recent murders and quickly dismisses her complaint to have a new bolt fitted on the door or for him to switch to working days instead of nights. In short, he's a real miserable bastard! After he leaves for work she calls the janitor and pleads for him to come and secure her door. A few moments later Martha comes over to keep Ellen company but Ellen doesn't want her there, especially after Martha suggests the killer may in fact be a scored woman rather than a man.
Steve meets his newspaper reporter friend Ed in a bar and explains he is upset because he didn't get a raise in pay and therefore took out his frustrations on his wife. The hot and sticky weather is also a factor in his blame.
Ellen visits the shoemaker to pick up the shoes her husband complained about earlier but they are not ready, and despite him offering to bring them round to her later she refuses and storms off out - not wanting to give her address to the shoemaker. Ellen arrives back home to find Ed in her apartment. Turns out he is an old boyfriend of hers who has come to 'protect her' until her husband comes home. The persuasive Ed wants to know why she walked out on him all those years ago and she accuses of him of being horrible to her. Ed turns nasty and forceful with Ellen and tells her he holds a grudge against her. He attacks her but she is saved when the janitor knocks on the door and Ed leaves.
The janitor goes and picks up Steve's shoes from the shoemaker for Ellen just before the locksmith turns up to fit a bolt on her door. She lets him into the apartment (we don't actually see him) just as she is talking to Steve on the telephone. Then Steve tells her the latest news on the radio....

•I don't have any trivia from this episode. Want to contribute some?
[Hitch appears in a semi-shadow which turns out to be a keyhole] "Good evening and thank you for peeping in at me tonight. I shall try to make it worth your while. Now if you will look through the keyhole with your other eye. Excellent, thank you. Incidentally those of you who think these letters don't spell anything [on a large eye-testing board behind him] couldn't be any more incorrect. The last line was copied from an old insurance policy. Now that we're all in focus I would like to make a few prefatory remarks about tonight's liberette. [sic] It is called 'The Creeper' and is about a person who had a very peculiar way of striking up an acquaintance with women. He killed them. A distinctly anti-social tendency. For it never leads to any lasting friendship."immediately."

"And so once again the creeper commits the most heinous crime a woman can imagine: he takes a telephone away from her in the middle of a call! Obviously the sadistic criminal will stop at nothing. For the record the creeper was subsequently caught, and is now repairing locks at one of our leading penal institutions. If you liked our story please write in. Perhaps we could give you a sequel to 'The Creeper' called 'The Toddler'. Good night."

The killer is revealed at the end, but for those who haven't seen the episode and who are reading this review, I wouldn't want to spoil the ending for you. So you will have to go and watch it!

A clever whodunnit with several red herrings thrown in. It's one of those episodes where you start suspecting every new character that is introduced as the killer! The shoemaker in particular was creepy. Surely it wasn't the janitor?
I'd easily give this one more than 7 out of 10 : it's one of the most suspenseful episodes I've watched so far. Constance Ford is an actress more frequently seen on television than in movies, and her intimate style is ideally suited to these clammy, claustrophobic surroundings. She's excellent ; and we also know that she's doomed. This plays like a pocket version of "Sorry, Wrong Number" with the heroine trapped in her apartment and expecting the murderer to turn up at any time. And who is it ? My money was on the little janitor played by Percy Helton, because he looks just like an evil squirrel, and because - as is mentioned early on - he smiles too much. Maybe it IS him. Maybe it's not. I'm not telling you. This episode is the series at its very best.

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Steve Grant... STEVE BRODIE
Martha Stone... RETA SHAW
George, janitor... PERCY HELTON
Shoemaker... ALFRED LINDER

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Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 11 July 2020