Monday, March 9, 2009

Day Forty-Two: The Mad Monster (1942) - Rank 1.5/5


I hate it when a movie that's 77 minutes in duration crawls by like it's three hours. I watched this public domain entry out of my inner geeky fandom for classic monster films of the thirties and the forties. "Glenn Strange as a werewolf?" I thought, "Why not?" But even Strange can't save the film's weak script and snail-like pacing. The basic gist? A shunned, mad scientist (aren't they all) transfers the blood of a wolf into a human to prove that he can make werewolves. However, just because one can make werewolves, doesn't mean that one should as we all soon learn one the victim count starts going up.

The werewolf transformation is a step backward from the cutting edge morph seen in "The Wolf Man" the year prior, leading me to think that this film was an exercise in exploitation rather than storytelling. The "werewolf" looks more like a grizzled, old prospector than a lycanthrope. There is one redeeming element to the whole film: George Zucco, who plays the mad scientist who transforms Glenn Strange's "Aw Shucks" bumpkin Pedro.


Zucco, it seems, was frequently typecast as a mad scientist and for good reason. The devours the scenery with zeal in an early scene of the film where he brags about his scientific accomplishments to a nonexistent, scientific community. I couldn't help but identify with him, because ever so often I find myself sitting on my couch, swapping puns with guests who could be there. *sigh* lonely...

I couldn't locate a trailer, but you can watch the mediocre werewolf transformation here in the only form of quality that public domain films provide.

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