The Monster Maker (1944) - Sam Newfield

49/100

With a higher budget and more planning, this could have been a great movie.

Director: Sam Newfield
Producer: Sigmund Neufeld
Writer: Lawrence Williams, Pierre Gendron, and Martin Mooney
Starring: J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, and Tala Birell
Studio: Producers Releasing Corporation
Release date: April 15, 1944

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The Monster Maker is an American Horror movie from filmmaking brothers, director Sam Newfield and Producer Sigmund Neufeld. Starring J. Carrol Naish and Ralph Morgan among various starlets and b-movie actors like Glenn Strange and Tala Birell. There was even a famous animal actor, Ace the Wonder Dog, that got some screen time. It was released on April 15th, 1944 through the P.R.C. (Producers Releasing Corporation). A small-time production company that hadn’t been producing much after doing some financial adjusting in the year prior. It’s a sort of return to horror for the studio.

Dr. Markoff is working on a horrible plan to spread a terrible form of the acromegaly disease. He is experimenting on human subjects, injecting them with the formula, disfiguring them. Transforming the victim into a walking abomination. We get to see the horror unfold on an unfortunate subject, a concert pianist that is infected by the evil doctor's concoction. He begins having pains in his hands that quickly mutates his bone structure. Changing him into a twisted, aggressive monster.

This is a very talk-heavy picture that doesn’t have much in the way of action. It’s simple, not taking many twists or turns with the plot. Unfortunately, that makes it predictable and obvious. But on the upside, the special effects are surprisingly good for such a low-budget movie. The acting isn’t terrible either. Our lead J. Carrol Naish and supporting actor, Ralph Morgan, both of them turned in the best performances of the picture. Naish delivered Dr. Markoff in a cold and sadistic way that left me feeling uneasy. His characters lack morals when it comes to other humans is almost sickening. Morgan was great in the makeup. His character had loads of progression and emotion. He played a tortured man so well.

With a higher budget and more planning, this could have been a great movie. It surprisingly kept me entertained, but wouldn’t fare well with general audiences. It’s too simple and doesn’t provide a clear hook. I liked the disfiguring disease aspect, but the Neufeld brothers lost me with the addition of an ape. Another damn ape movie! I am done with these damn dirty ape movies!

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