Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Horror Classics Triple Feature Vol 12 |
The Amazing Mr. X / The Mad Monster / The Monster Maker
Actors: Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, Richard Carlson, Donald Curtis
Directors: Bernard Vorhaus, Sam Newfield
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
3.5 Stars? Three of PRC's best (Admittedly, relative terms).
Doghouse King | Omaha, NE United States | 09/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Relative, because most of PRC's output was so cheap and stodgy as to render them like unto slide shows, or a sequential display of jpeg images. But these really are not that bad at all; there are certainly worse.Also relative in that Amazing Dr. X was made after PRC had become the somewhat better-regarded Eagle-Lion. At E-L Anthony Mann did some fine work, along with John Anton, one of the all-time greats. Anton himself lends a hand to this film, blending classy cinematography with occasionally skillful direction and an occasionally sharp script to overcome occasionally plodding execution. The plot has to do with a woman who has lost her husband and thinks he is trying to contact her from beyond the grave. So she seeks the help of suave but completely fake medium Turhan Bey, who was also seen prominently in a Universal Mummy movie or two. Her new fiancee doubts Dr. X, but after a plot twist, the flim-flammer has an opportunity to use his skills and gain some measure of redemption.
This is not really horror, although some of the supernatural elements do take a while to be disproved. It could be, I suppose, categorized as a "chiller."
Overall it's not as atmospheric as Strangler of the Swamp, not quite as good as Detour or some of Mann's best, but Amazing Dr. X is still near the top of this poverty row studio's list.Monster Maker
Both silly and distasteful, perhaps more of each because it is the other, this has to do with a madly-in-love scientist infecting the father of his obsession with acromegaly germs. This is in order to force him to let him marry her. This seems to be a short-sighted solution, but hey... whatever works.
Long story short, it doesn't work. This is a small movie, even smaller and less ambitious than many of these things. There is only one victim; even for these lumbering kind of movies, that is a low output. It's not terrible per se, just *lacking.* If you've seen even one of these things, you know the ending already.
There is one disturbing shot of a crippled pig, and a gorilla, for no other reason than to have a gorilla (man in a gorilla suit); gorillas were still outré in 1944, you see.
Naish is very likeable, but has never been my favorite as a heavy. He's too kindly and nebbish-ish to project any menace, whether here or in Universal movies or in The Whistler. Here that may have been meant to add depth to the tragedy of a basically good man gone wrong, but it didn't come off, and I was left garnering enjoyment from the somehow doting way Naish pronounced acromegaly, like a proud papa and his germs.Mad Monster
Sometimes silly, but having decent atmosphere, yet overlong even at only 80 minutes. These foregone conclusion enterprises need to really hum. Zucco again plays an elegantly mad scientist, desirous of getting even with his scholarly colleagues for scoffing at his plans to cross man and wolf to aid the war effort. He recruits simple-minded handyman Glenn Strange, impersonating Chaney's character in Of Mice and Men, to be his test subject. While PRC took their horror product seriously, in contrast to the spoofiness of Monogram, the films themselves were sometimes even harder to take seriously due to budgetary shortfalls. For example, the makeup for the werewolf is highly inadequate here, I must say. I have cousins far hairier than Glenn Strange in his werewolf guise. Anyway, our main characters reside in a foggy swamp, he has a pretty daughter. There are deaths, the police close in. All the familiar pieces are there. It's okay for genre fans.A word to the cautious: No bones about it, the dvd authoring for this disc is messed up. To play the films I had to go to Monster Maker and search through. The individual menus do not take you to that film, but to the start of Monster Maker. With patience you may find this disc acceptable, but for those with small children or high blood pressure, I cannot recommend it. (Although I think it's the only source for The Amazing Dr. X.)"