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Rap Sheet: Which classic monster is the worst offender?

Published October 28, 2013 11:30 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Disclaimer: The should not be taken as any form of legal counsel or guidance; there may be errors in interpretation of the law and there may be crimes and violations missing from this list. I am not an officer or an attorney; I am a movie fan with a blog.

Since it's almost Halloween, I took on seven classic movie monsters in this week's Rap Sheet — The Wolfman, Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, Gill-man, The Invisible Man, The Mummy and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde — to find out which blasphemous horror is the worst of the worst. Could it be the patriarch of monster-dom, the dreaded count? Or is there a dark horse in this race?

Place your bets on this monster mash and read on!

Larry Talbot, "The Wolfman" (1941)

Voyeurism • Talbot, with the aid of a telescope, watches Gwen Conliffe in her second-story bedroom.

Homicide • Talbot, as a werewolf, attacks and kills a grave digger.

Obstruction of justice • Talbot cleans up the muddy wolf tracks leading to his window after he kills the grave digger.

Two counts of assault • Talbot, once again in his werewolf state, attacks his father and Conliffe in the woods.

Verdict • At only five crimes, one of the most obviously remorseful monsters in the bunch also has the least number of offenses to feel bad about. Had he not been beaten to death in the woods, Talbot would have served up to life in prison for killing the grave digger, plus 16.5 years imprisonment for everything else. That is one short stint compared to where things go from here.

The monster, "Frankenstein" (1931)

Three counts of homicide • The monster kills Fritz (Henry Frankenstein's assistant), then Waldman (Franksenstein's mentor).Then, upon escaping from the windmill-turned-laboratory, the monster meets a little girl and throws her in a lake, causing her to drown.

Criminal trespass • The monster enters Frankenstein's home, regardless of what fear that would cause.

Assault • The monster attacks Frankenstein, knocking him unconscious.

Kidnapping and attempted homicide • The monster carries Frankenstein to the windmill, from the top of which he then throws the scientist.

Verdict • There's a case to be made whether the monster is competent to stand trial for his seven crimes. Convictions would land him up to three life sentences, plus 31 years imprisonment. Lucky for you, Jim Dalrymple and I are having that argument later this week. Be sure to tune back in to the crime blog when that goes up!

Gill-man, "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1954)

Two counts of homicide • Gill-man kills two of the research team aids.

Criminal mischief • Gill-man wrecks the team's giant net.

Homicide • Gill-man kills a member of the ship crew.

Criminal mischief • Gill-man wrecks a lantern on the boat.

Manslaughter • Gill-man kills another crew man, but one who was attacking him as well.

Assault • Gill-man attacks Kay Lawrence.

Assault resulting in serious bodily injury • Gill-man attacks Edwin Thompson, badly injuring him.

Homicide and kidnapping • Gill-man kills Mark Williams and kidnaps Lawrence, taking her to his secret cave.

Assault • Gill-man throws an air tank at David Reed.

Verdict • Gill-man, the least human of all the monsters, places fifth in this ranking with 11 crimes. He could serve up to four life sentences, plus 33 years.

Imhotep, "The Mummy" (1932)

Theft • After waking up, Imhotep steals an ancient scroll from the Cairo expedition.

Homicide • Imhotep kills a Cairo Museum security guard.

Attempted aggravated robbery • Imhotep threatens to kill Joseph Whemple and another man if they do not give him the scroll.

Criminal trespass and homicide• He unlawfully enters the Cairo Museum to spy on Whemple, then kills him.

Homicide • Imhotep kills Whemple.

Attempted homicide • Imhotep tries to kill Frank Whemple.

Kidnapping • Imhotep hypnotizes Helen Grosvenor into going to the Cairo Museum.

Criminal trespass • Imhotep breaks into the Cairo Museum.

Criminal mischief • Imhotep breaks the glass case around the princess' mummy.

Desecration of a body • He moves the princess' mummy and burns it.

Attempted homicide • Imhotep tries to kill Grosvenor.

Two counts of threat of violence • Imhotep threatens Frank Whemple and Joseph Whemple with a knife.

Verdict • 13 crimes, not bad for a kind-of-dead guy. If Imhotep had not turned into a pile of bones at the end of the movie, he could have served up to two life sentences, plus 82 years imprisonment for his deeds. Then again, what's that time to a man who was already condemned to be mummified and buried alive? He had already served a life sentence and then some.

Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931)

Two counts of assault and threat of violence • Hyde attacks Ivy Pearson and a server at the music hall, then threatens another man at the music hall with a broken bottle.

Assault and threat of violence • Hyde attacks Pearson and threatens to hurt her again at her home.

Homicide • Hyde kills Pearson.

Three counts of assault • Hyde attacks a man during his escape from Pearson's home, then attacks Muriel and one of her servants.

Homicide • Hyde beats Muriel's father to death.

Failure to stop at the command of an officer • Hyde keeps running despite an officer's command to stop.

Obstruction of justice • Jekyll lies to the police about Hyde's location.

Assault and interference with an arresting officer • Hyde attacks Lanyon, then again tries to evade arrest when the police swarm him.

Three counts of assault on an officer, plus one attempted assault on an officer • Hyde attacks three policemen and tries to attack a fourth, before he is shot and killed.

Verdict • Jekyll should have been busy inventing an elixir of life instead. For his (or Hyde's) 18 crimes, a judge could sentence him to serve up to two life sentences, plus 24.5 years imprisonment.

Dracula, "Dracula" (1931)

Assault • Dracula attacks R.M. Renfield inside his castle.

Eight counts of homicide • Dracula kills the whole crew of the ship that is bringing Renfield and him to England.

Burglary and homicide • The count flies into Lucy Weston's room through the window and kills her.

Criminal trespass and assault • Dracula flies into Mina Seward's room and bites her.

Assault • He attacks Seward again in the garden.

Threat of violence • Dracula threatens to kill Seward.

Criminal trespass and assault • Dracula attacks Seward again while she's sleeping.

Homicide • Dracula kills Renfield.

Verdict • The dreaded count might be the unofficial king of Halloween, but he falls just shy of the crown in this tally. Like Hyde, he also committed 18 crimes, though the vampire's were more severe — he could serve up to 10 life sentences and 18.5 years imprisonment if convicted.

But that's nothing compared to the monster who takes top condemnations.

Jack Griffin, "The Invisible Man" (1933)

Assault • Griffin attacks the innkeeper's husband.

Interference with an arresting officer and assault on an officer • He defies the officer's attempt to arrest him, and strangles him in the process.

Two counts of assault • Griffin attacks two men in the inn during his flight.

Criminal mischief • Griffin knocks over the inn's grandfather clock and some glassware in the inn.

Theft and three counts of assault • Griffin steals a man's bicycle, then throws the bicycle at three men and hits one of them with a broom.

Child abuse and criminal mischief • In his continued flight, he knocks over a baby carriage and breaks a store window.

Aggravated burglary • Griffin threatens Arthur Kemp with violence to get clothes, food and bandages from him.

Terroristic threats • He plots to kill people without distinction and wreck "a train or two."

Propelling a substance at an officer • Griffin throws the contents of an ink well at an investigating officer.

Assault and homicide • Griffin throws a pail at the innkeeper, then strangles the officer and throws a stool on him, killing him.

Threat of violence • Griffin promises to kill Kemp.

Five counts of assault on an officer and failure to stop at the command of an officer • Griffin strikes five officers in his flight from Kemp's home.

120 counts of homicide • Griffin kills 20 search party members and 100 people on a train that he purposefully derailed.

Robbery • Griffin steals money from a bank.

Criminal trespass • Griffin sneaks into the police station so he can follow Kemp.

Kidnapping, vehicular theft and homicide • Griffin ambushes Kemp, ties him up, steals his car and pushes it down a cliff to kill the man.

Criminal trespass • Griffin sneaks into a farmer's barn to spend the night.

Verdict • Sneaking to the front of the pack as only an invisible man could, Griffin came out as the worst of the worst with 149 crimes. The others were bad, but none of them derailed a train full of people. If Griffin had been tried and sentenced, he would have remained out of view for a real long time yet — 123 life sentences, on top of 73 years for the lesser crimes.

But don't let this post be the final word. Feel free to flex your attorney muscles and give these monsters their Constitutional right to a defense. Was Frankenstein's monster legally incompetent? Should inhuman beings such as Dracula and Gill-man even be tried in our courts? Sound off in the comments section below.

And if you want to get your own monster mash on, "The Invisible Man," "Dracula," "The Mummy," and "The Wolfman" were all streaming on Netflix as of this post, and the rest are available to rent on Amazon Instant. As far as this blogger is concerned, Griffin's record-setting crime spree — accomplished largely in the nude — is the most entertaining of the bunch.

— Michael McFall






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