Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, March 14, 2008


THE MONSTER MAKER (1944). PRC. Directed by Sam Newfield.

Odd but reasonably attention-holding thriller in which J. Carroll Naish plays Markov, a scientist whose experiments with acromegaly have macabre and chilling results. On the run with the pretty assistant Maxine (Tala Birell) who loves him unconditionally, he spots a beautiful woman (Wanda McKay) who greatly resembles his late daughter. In an event that borders a bit grossly on the incestuous [an aspect that the script doesn't really delve into and which the production code would probably never have allowed it to], Naish falls in love with the woman and wants to marry her. Her father, a famous pianist (Ralph Morgan), strenuously objects and Naish deliberately infects the man with fast-acting acromegaly, making him hideously deformed and almost insane, and of course, putting an end to his brilliant musical career. The make up is very good but the stock musical score adds nothing to the picture. Naish is as good as ever – it might be said the unpleasant movie wastes his talents – and Birell also plays the lovelorn, devoted, but jealous gal-pal to the hilt. Glenn Strange appears in the small role of a giant. This strangely disturbing little movie is no classic but it has its moments.
Verdict: Small-scale but interesting. **1/2.

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