The Mad Monster

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
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySam Newfield
Written byFred Myton
Produced bySigmund Neufeld
StarringJohnny Downs
George Zucco
Anne Nagel
Reginald Barlow
CinematographyJack Greenhalgh
Edited byHolbrook N. Todd
Music byDavid Chudnow
Distributed byProducers Releasing Corporation
Release date
  • May 8, 1942 (1942-05-08)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film's storyline concerns a discredited mad scientist who plots to kill his colleagues one-by-one using a secret formula that transforms his simple-minded gardener into a murderous wolfman.


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.




Filming began March 19, 1942[1] and took five days to complete.[2]


The film was re-released by PRC in 1945 as a double feature with The Devil Bat.[3] 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".[2]

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".[1]

In 1989, the film was featured in the third episode of the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Tom Weaver, Poverty Row Horrors p 82
  2. ^ a b Hardy, Phil, ed. (1986). The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies. NY: Harper & Row. p. 80. ISBN 0060550503.
  3. ^ G K. (15 Dec 1945). "Two Chillers Screened". Los Angeles Times. p. A5.
  • The Mad Monster DVD
  • Rovin, Jeff (1989). The Encyclopedia of Monsters. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 0816018243
  • Skal, David J. (2001). The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror. New York: Faber and Faber, revised edition. ISBN 0571199968

External linksEdit

Mystery Science Theater 3000Edit