The Mad Monster is a 1942 American black and white horror film, produced and distributed by "Poverty Row" studio Producers Releasing Corporation. The melodrama was produced by Sigmund Neufeld, directed by Sam Newfield, written by Fred Myton, and stars George Zucco, Glenn Strange, Johnny Downs, and Anne Nagel.
|The Mad Monster|
|Directed by||Sam Newfield|
|Written by||Fred Myton|
|Produced by||Sigmund Neufeld|
|Edited by||Holbrook N. Todd|
|Music by||David Chudnow|
|Distributed by||Producers Releasing Corporation|
On a fog-bound moonlight night, a wolf howls in a swamp. In his nearby laboratory, Dr. Lorenzo Cameron (George Zucco) draws blood from a caged wolf. Secured to a table is Dr. Cameron's simpleminded but strong gardener, Petro (Glenn Strange), who is to be the subject of the doctor's experiment. Cameron injects a serum made from a wolf's blood into the cooperative Petro, who loses consciousness, grows fur and fangs, and awakens after he has transformed into a wolfman.
Cameron turns to an empty table, visualizing his former colleagues sitting there: The four professors dismissed his theory that wolf blood transfusions could be used to give a human being wolf-like traits. He recalls how the scientific community, the press, and the public joined in a resounding chorus of ridicule that finally cost him his position at the university.
Addressing the four spectral professors, Cameron declares, "Right now, we're at war, at war with an enemy that produces a horde that strikes with a ferocious fanaticism". Cameron proposes giving wolfman traits to soldiers in order to help win the war. When the professors scoff, Cameron says to them that his proposal doesn't really matter; he is going to have his wolfman kill them one-by-one. For the time being, however, he administers an antidote that transforms Petro back to normal; Petro remembers nothing.
The following night, Cameron injects Petro again and sends him into the swamp. As a wolfman, he enters a nearby home and kills a little girl. Hearing about the child's death, Cameron knows his formulation works. Now he can proceed to eliminate his former colleagues. He begins by setting up elaborate encounters in which Petro, left alone with each scientist, makes his wolfman transformation. The more times this happens, however, the more unpredictable Petro becomes while killing them.
Cameron's daughter Lenora (Anne Nagel) is romantically involved with Tom Gregory (Johnny Downs), a newspaper reporter investigating the death of the little girl. As the professors are killed, Gregory begins to suspect that Cameron is behind the murders.
The principals arrive at the Cameron home as a large thunderstorm begins. A bolt of lightning suddenly strikes, setting Cameron's laboratory on fire. Lenora and Tom are able escape from the spreading fire after first encountering an agitated Petro, now in his wolfman form. The transformed Petro suddenly turns on Cameron and kills him, as the raging fire brings down the house on both of them.
- George Zucco as Dr. Lorenzo Cameron
- Johnny Downs as Tom Gregory
- Glenn Strange as Petro
- Anne Nagel as Lenora Cameron
- Gordon De Main as Prof. Fitzgerald
- Reginald Barlow as Prof. Warwick
- Robert Strange as Prof. Blaine
- John Elliott as Prof. Hatfield
- Sarah Padden as The Grandmother
- Ed Cassidy as The Father
- Mae Busch as The Mother
- Henry Hall as Community Doctor
- Slim Whitaker as Officer Dugan
- Gil Patric as Detective Lieutenant
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The film was re-released by PRC in 1945 as a double feature with The Devil Bat. According to British film historian Phil Hardy, the film "shocked the British censor enough to ban it until 1952, and even then to insist that it should be accompanied by a disclaimer on the matter of blood transfusions".
Author Tom Weaver described the basic story as "a combination of The Wolf Man and PRC's own The Devil Bat with Zucco subbing for Lugosi as the wacky doctor ... one of those uniquely bad films that is difficult to dislike".
In 1989, the film was featured in the third episode of the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.