October 27, 2020

Heinous Henchmen of Classic Horror #7

In the mid-19th century, cadavers for medical research and teaching are hard to come by. Dr. Wolfe "Toddy" MacFarlane (Henry Daniell; no relation to Todd MacFarlane), is a respected surgeon who has taken to teaching at a medical college in his advanced middle age. 

When a distraught mother approaches MacFarlane as a last resort to help her crippled young daughter, he at first refuses to help, telling her that if he conducted surgeries for everyone who came to him, he would have no time for teaching. 

Over drinks at a local tavern, MacFarlane's medical student assistant, Fettes (Russell Wade), and his supplier of cadavers, cabman John Gray (Boris Karloff) manage to get the doctor to change his mind, as the poor girl's condition will only worsen if she doesn't have an operation. Fettes is perplexed by the relationship between the esteemed doctor and the lowly cabman, with Gray being extremely familiar with the uptight MacFarlane and contemptuously calling him by the nickname Toddy.

The doctor needs a fresh cadaver to prepare for the girl's complex operation, and Gray is called in to supply one ASAP. MacFarlane will once more have to look the other way as Gray The Body Snatcher employs his extremely dubious methods for securing bodies.

Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Henry Daniell in The Body Snatcher (1945)
MacFarlane: "Gray, I must be rid of you, you've become a cancer, a malignant,
evil cancer rotting my mind." 
Gray: "You've made a disease of me, eh Toddy?"

Boris Karloff as Cabman John Gray in The Body Snatcher, 1945


Name:  John Gray           Date:   1945       

Supervisor:  Dr. Wolfe MacFarlane              

Category Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Excellent Comment
Work Productivity

X Gray and I go back a long way, and in all that time the employee has delivered dozens, if not hundreds, of bodies.
Work Quality

X The cadavers Gray delivers are invariably fresh and very suitable for teaching and research purposes.
Work Relationships

I do wish Gray would stop calling me by that infernal nickname "Toddy."
Is there such a thing as too much initiative? Gray should not be getting specimens from the "pre-deceased."

XEvery time I turn around, Gray is there, pulling up to the delivery door with a fresh body, or frequenting my favorite tavern. He's nothing if not dependable.

Summary: I can live with the way Gray obtains the cadavers, but I can't stand it when he calls me Toddy in front of my colleagues and students.

Menacing shadow (Nosferatu)
Don't miss these other great henchmen!
Fritz (Frankenstein, 1931) | Morgan (The Old Dark House, 1932) | Sandor (Dracula's Daughter, 1936) | Jake (The Human Monster, 1939) | Ygor (Son of Frankenstein, 1939) | The Creeper (House of Horrors, 1946)

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