The Monster (1925) - Rowland West

Rowland West is a veteran director of film noir from the 20's and 30's. The Monster is still pretty early on in his career, but it packs the same punch as other movies that he would be responsible for. This horror/comedy was one of the first films to be advertised as such and one of the first that I am reviewing starring horror extraordinaire Lon Chaney. 

Lon Chaney takes the lead in this film as a mad scientist that has recently overthrown the staff at a local sanitarium. He enslaves some of the inmates and locks away the remaining staff. Now running the sanitarium he can begin his journey to find the secrets of life. He would, however, need a female to complete the "experiment". Our hero is a comedic one. Donned with the handle Johnny Goodlittle. Goodlittle runs the general store and becomes a detective of sorts. He and a curious couple stumble upon the sanitarium and unravel its secrets. 

The movie hasn't received many positive reviews and I found it to be rather bland. The comedy is great and it doesn't even need to be scary. That aside, this movie shouldn't be considered a horror movie. Yes, we have a mad scientist that preforms crazy experiments in his goal for total understanding. However, the other elements that make a horror film are noticeably absent . I could see this film sitting on the shelf next to

Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein

It seems apparent to me that

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

, used this movie for inspiration. There are a few similarities. However,  I would really believe that Richard O'Brien had this on in the background while writing the movie. 

A human monster watched with cat-like eyes for victims.


  • This film is arguably the first Mad Scientist film, excluding Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
  • The film is different, in that, the comedy is presented in such a way that sets it aside from other horror/comedy films of the time. The comedy in this movie is ironic and fuses running gags with slapstick. 
  • The original play opened in 1922 in New York.