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

Thursday, June 2, 2011


HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER (1958). Director: Herbert L. Strock.

"An artist must have no fear."

When make up artist Pete Dumond (Robert H. Harris) is let go by the studio because new executives claim horror films aren't making any money, he hypnotizes the actors playing a teenage Frankenstein (Gary Conway of Burke's Law) and werewolf (Gary Clarke of Missile to the Moon and Michael Shayne) into murdering his bosses. Dumond metamorphoses from a kindly professional into a nasty maniac who slaughters anyone who gets in his way. Robert Shayne plays an agent; Morris Ankrum is a cop; Malcolm Atterbury is a security guard; and Thomas Browne Henry plays a director. John Ashley plays himself in a brief musical guest appearance. The last ten minutes, which are in color, feature a lot of Paul Blaisdell creations hanging in Dumond's workshop as examples of his art. In his only starring role in movies, Harris -- a busy television actor of the period --  is excellent, and Paul Brinegar is fine as his cowering assistant Rivero. As you would expect, the make ups are great.

Verdict: Fun primarily because Harris delivers. ***.

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