The Mad Monster
is an American film horror film released in 1942 in film by P.R.C. (Producers Releasing Corporation), a Poverty Row studio. The film, a B-movie shot in black and white, features a mad scientist and a werewolf as the main characters. Directed by Sam Newfield and written by Fred Myton, the film—Poverty Row's only Werewolf movie—stars George Zucco, Glenn Strange and Anne Nagel. Its running time is 77 minutes. It was featured in an episode of the cult classic TV show "Mystery Science Theater 3000" in 1989 in television.
- Johnny Downs as Tom Gregory
- George Zucco as Dr. Lorenzo Cameron
- Anne Nagel as Lenora Cameron
- Glenn Strange as Petro
- Sarah Padden as Grandmother
- Gordon De Main as Professor Fitzgerald
- Mae Busch as Susan
- Reginald Barlow as Professor Warwick
- Robert Strange as Professor Blaine
- Henry Hall as Country Doctor
- Ed Cassidy as Father
- John Elliott as Professor Hatfield
- Slim Whitaker as Officer Dugan
- Gil Patric as Detective Lieutenant
The plot involves a scientist who has been discredited by his peers. He attempts to kill them off after he develops a secret formula that transforms his gardener into a murderous wolf man.
The story begins on a fog-bound moonlight night in a swamp; a wolf howls. The scene shifts to the nearby laboratory of Dr. Lorenzo Cameron (George Zucco), who 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 doctor's subject in an experiment. Dr. 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 turned into a wolf man.
Dr. Cameron then turns to an empty table and visualizes his former colleagues sitting there—four professors who ridiculed his theory that transfusions of wolf blood 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, which cost Cameron his position at the University.
Addressing the 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 wolf man traits to the army to help with the war. When the professors scoff, Cameron says that his proposal matters no longer; he is now going to have his wolf man kill his former colleagues. Cameron then administers an antidote to Petro that transforms him back into a human; Petro remembers nothing.
The following night, Cameron turns Petro into a wolf and sends him to the swamp. Before the night is over Petro has entered a nearby home and killed a little girl. When Cameron hears of the child's fate, he knows his formula works. He turns to his real priority which is destroying the scientists who ruined his career. The rest of the film involves Cameron setting up elaborate scenarios in which Petro is alone with each scientist when he becomes a wolf. The more he does this the more Petro's transformations into a wolf man become unpredictable.
Cameron's daughter Lenora (Anne Nagel) is romantically involved with Tom Gregory (Johnny Downs), a newspaper reporter who is investigating the death of the little girl. As the professors are killed off one by one, Gregory begins to suspect that Cameron is behind the slayings.
The principals are in the Cameron home when a thunderstorm begins and a bolt of lightning sets Cameron's laboratory on fire. Lenora and Tom escape from the house after encountering Petro in wolf form. Petro turns on Cameron and kills him, just before the fire brings the house down on both of them.
Cameron's erence to being at war against a fanatical adversary specifies no particular war and the subject is never mentioned again.
The story takes place in a non urban area filled with fog, howling wolves, swamps and uneducated, superstitious country people who live in simple homes. Dr. Cameron lives and does his work in a large house that includes a secret room which Cameron uses as a laboratory. Tom Gregory ers to the house as a "haunted castle". A nearby town in which one of the Cameron's intended victims lives is called Ashton.
The clothes, cars, and telephones suggest that the story takes place in the then present of the 1940s.
Description of the monster
Petro becomes a werewolf because of a process of blood transfusion and injection. Werewolf folklore is downplayed, and the word "werewolf" is mentioned in the film only by an old country woman. In one scene Cameron does er to him as a wolf man and says Petro has wolf like traits from the transfusion. In another scene a still-human Petro tells Lenora that voices from the swamp are telling him to do something terrible. In still another scene Petro seems to be bulletproof. These two seemingly supernatural events go unexplained.
In wolf form, Petro has a beetled brow and long neat hair. He has a beard but no mustache. Other physical traits include large fangs and hair on the back of his hands. Petro wears the same overalls he wears in human form.
Other 1940s man-into-animal films
Man-into-animal stories were popular in the 1940s. They include Pinocchio (1940 film)
(1940), which showed boys turning into donkeys, Cat People (1942 film)
(1942), and Captive Wild Woman
(1943). Werewolves were featured in several films that were released during the 1940s, such as The Wolf Man (1941 film)
(1941), The Undying Monster
(1942), Cry of the Werewolf
and The Return of the Vampire
(both 1944), and She-Wolf of London
List of films in the public domain
- The Mad Monster DVD
- The Encyclopedia of Monsters by Jeff Rovin. Published by Facts on File, 1989
- The Monster Show, revised edition by David J.Skal.new edition, 2001
Category:1940s horror films
Category:Mad scientist films
Category:Producers Releasing Corporation films
Category:Films featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes
Category:Pre-1950 science fiction films
Category:Werewolves in film
Category:Films directed by Sam Newfield