The surgeon’s daughter also sculpts a statue of Blizzard in the form of Satan. Blizzard is proud to be immortalized in the rock form of the prince of darkness. He is a man that is well aware of his hatred and his obsession with destroying the lives of others. Blizzard’s lack of legs is a constant reminder to himself that he can only do the devil’s work. He rabidly laughs in hatred when plotting and discussing destruction. Lon Chaney does a superb job expressing the maniacal laughter of this legless madman.
But what is “The Penalty” of a man who has made his life’s goal to destroy the lives of others? The price that Blizzard pays is honestly honorable and admirable. Blizzard confronts a fate that has been handed to him by his own actions. Fate unfortunately caused Blizzard to become legless as a child. When Blizzard became older he consciously decided to act cruel and heartless. The reality is that many hateful men like Blizzard die richly without confronting one of their sins. But then again, who knows what is really going on those men’s minds. Do they really have the courage to confront who they really are?
The Penalty is without doubt one of the finest American silent horror films. My taste in silent horror generally stays in the realm of the masters of German expressionism. The Penalty utilizes psychology horror in a similar way to the German silent masters (I.e. F.W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh) yet lacks the intricate set designs. The real wealth of The Penalty lies in Lon Chaney’s performance as the sadistic gangster. I honestly haven’t divulged too much into his acting career. It is about time that I do.