The Monster Maker (1944)

March 20, 2011


 In 1944 PRC (Producers Releasing Corp.)  came out with a horror film to compete against the Frankenstein monster starring Oscar nominated J. Carrol Nash, Glenn Strange, Ralph Morgan, Tala Birell, and Wanda McKay. The Sam Newfield directed picture told the story of a doctor injecting a disease into a concert pianist called acromegaly (a real disease that killed Rondo Hatton) and offering a cure X53 only if he allows a marriage to his daughter. Ralph Morgan plays the pianist who is turned into this horrible ghoul that is a combination of the Wolfman and Frankenstein. Add a nasty henchman played by Strange and a huge gorilla to the mix and you have a somewhat interesting low budget film but still a big step below what Universal had to offer. Lower costs especially with the makeup of Morgan as a ghoul really took away from the production making it look cheap. Questions such as why did he have a crazed gorilla locked up? To experiment on him? His role in the film was one scene where he was released from his cage to kill his assistant in a failed attempt. He could have had more of a role instead of just being there growling and snarling. The dog belonging to Maxine had as big a role. The film score was the first credited to Albert Glasser who went on to do a lot of the science fiction material in the 50’s. I’ve included an audio clip with the main title plus the beginning of a piano concerto performance. The film is available to watch for free as it is part of the ever growing internet archive. In addition Alpha Video (ALP4032D) offers it at a very low cost if you wish to purchase.  Morgan alone is worth seeing the film as well as a nasty J. Carrol Naish who gets what’s coming to him at the end of the picture. There is a chapter devoted to the film in “Poverty Row Horrors by Tom Weaver. And the ending is a happy one as the assistant Maxine produces a bottle of X54 to cure him forever so that he may return to being a concert pianist. (**)

monster maker audio clip of the main title composed by Albert Glasser

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