Friday, September 28, 2012

The Mad Monster (1942)



Who's in it?: George Zucco (Dead Men Walk); Glenn Strange (House of Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)

What's it about?: A mad scientist (Zucco) creates a werewolf (Strange) to take revenge on the scientific community that mocked and ridiculed him. They mocked and ridiculed the scientist, that is; not the werewolf.

How is it?: It's worth watching if only to see Glenn Strange out of his Frankenstein make-up. For those who don't recognize Strange's name, he played the Frankenstein Monster for Universal after a couple of failed attempts with Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi. In fact, if you count Abbott and Costello (which you totally should because it rules), Strange played the Universal Frankenstein Monster as much as Karloff himself; the other two times being in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. Thanks to his ability to disappear into the role, he's better at it than anyone but Karloff, too. The Mad Monster shows just how enormous a guy Strange was and it's a joy to see him play the big, dumb bohunk that evil Zucco turns into a werewolf.

It's kind of cool that Zucco initially develops the werewolf serum in order to create an army of werewolf super-soldiers for WWII. I'd like a Captain America crossover, please. Unfortunately, those plans get sidetracked for the revenge scheme, but that's well done too, at least at first. There's a really cool scene early on where Zucco talks to the ghostly figures of his former colleagues in the science community. It's clear that the figures are all in Zucco's imagination and his arguing with them makes it obvious just how crazy he is.

It's too bad that the movie drags towards the end and that Zucco gets his comeuppance in a totally random way that has nothing to do with any action of any character in the movie, but the overalls-wearing werewolf makes up for that.

Rating: Good.
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