The Monster Maker

Director: Sam Newfield

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

A minor monster movie barely over an hour's length, The Monster Maker (1944) regards mad scientist Dr. Igor Markoff (J. Carol Nash impersonating Bela Lugosi). Attending a recital, he spots Patricia (Wanda McKay), the daughter of a famed concert pianist (Ralph Morgan), & is attracted to her at once because she greatly resembles the wife he had driven to suicide.

The Monster MakerPatricia is totally creeped out by the European physician's slimy attentions. Her father eventually visits him to tell him the police will become involved if he does not stop harrassing the girl.

Our mad doctor is a specialist in the pituitary disease acromegaly, which causes gigantism of the hands, feet, & facial bones. He bonks the concert pianist on the head & while he is unconscious, injects him with a viral serum that causes speeded-up acromegalism.

Very soon the pianist's hands have swollen in proportions so he can no longer perform, & not long after that, his entire face turns monstrous (with fairly good make-up FX), so that he must flee & hide from his own daughter.

The mad doctor offers a cure that will reverse the disfiguring disease but only if the daughter agrees to marry him.

Dr. Markoff also keeps a gorilla, played as always by a chap in a fleabag of an ape suit. In old movies, mad scientists frequently kept giant apes upon the flimsiest of premises & sometimes for no reason at all.

This gorilla dislikes the doctor's lab assistant, an attractive woman (Tala Birell) who knows all the doctor's secrets, & is (unimaginably) in love with him even so. When she threatens to reveal his actual identity he turns the ape loose to kill her, but her german Shepherd saves her by herding the ape back into its cage.

In addition to keeping a gorilla about, there's the redundant character of the giant henchman Steve, played by the aptly named Glenn Strange.

The story runs its course with few surprises, but is nevertheless an entertaining example of the poverty-row horrors of its decade, despite that had it been any longer than the hour, it would've gotten tedious.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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