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The Monster Maker
The Monster Maker
Actors: J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, Tala Birell, Wanda McKay, Terry Frost
Director: Sam Newfield
Genres: Horror, Television
UR     2002     1hr 2min

No Description Available. Genre: Horror Rating: NR Release Date: 27-AUG-2002 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actors: J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, Tala Birell, Wanda McKay, Terry Frost
Director: Sam Newfield
Creators: Robert E. Cline, Holbrook N. Todd, Sigmund Neufeld, Lawrence Williams, Martin Mooney, Pierre Gendron
Genres: Horror, Television
Sub-Genres: Horror, Television
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 08/27/2002
Original Release Date: 04/15/1944
Theatrical Release Date: 04/15/1944
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 2min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 11/15/2010...
This is a 1944 monster movie made by the poverty row studio PRC. It suffers the usual weaknesses: shabby sets, a melodramatic score, a lame script that doesn’t give characters enough to do, and the hambone acting of J. Carrol Naish. With glares and stares, he plays Dr. Igor Markoff with a hokey Slavic accent and stiff movements that bring to mind Richard Nixon. A guy in a gorilla suit traipses around and so does Ace the Wonder Dog, an Alsatian who is clearly fond of Dr. Markoff’s female assistant.

On the upside, the themes of coercion and poor research ethics interested me. Dr. Markoff is working on a cure for a syndrome of the pituitary gland, acromegaly. Often striking in middle age, it can cause premature death, but worse it is debilitating and severely disfiguring. He tests the experimental drug not only on animals, but on unwitting human subjects from whom he has not obtained informed consent. Against the scientific value of sharing his findings with the world and alleviating suffering, his research goal is to develop the cure and then charge desperately afflicted people exorbitant fees.

He combines greed and research misconduct with coercive behavior in his personal life too. A concert pianist’s daughter Patricia reminds him of his dead wife in her youth. His approaches are rebuffed. He induces acromegaly into the concert pianist and stipulates that he will provide the cure if his request for the hand of the daughter is granted. This reminds of Victorian bankers threatening hard-prerssed fathers with foreclosure unless they hand over their comely daughters. But somehow this old-fashioned twist is particularly malevolent in this movie.

The other positive is that it is only 62 minutes long. Longer and one would start to wonder, Is this worth more of my life?

Movie Reviews

Genetic tinkering
Draconis Blackthorne | The Haunted Noctuary | 08/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A most intriguing film about an immigrant named Markoff arrived in America after killing a Doctor in the olde country, thereby taking credit for his years of research and work in the field of glandular disorders, particularly a disease called "Acromegaly", which cripples with an enlargement of the extremities, essentially resembling elephantitis, which comes a particularly hard blow to a concert pianist, who also happens to be the father of a young lady who is the focus of Markoff's amorous attentions, who actually strongly resembles his deceased wife, whom he himself afflicted with the dreaded "acromegaly" to prevent her from leaving him - the classic "if I can't have her, no one will" motive. After besieging her with unwelcome attention, her father decides to pay him a visit, and ends up being knocked on the head, thus becoming another subject for his experiments, inflicting him with the deforming malady.

Assisting Markoff is a lurch-like henchman and a pretty young nurse who harbors an infatuation for him, and whom is also his hypnotic power. Her infatuation ends when she learns the truth of his intentions, and the manner in which he "achieved" his medical prominence. Luckily for the Pianist, a cure is developed while under the subjection of the "doctor", using this knowledge to barter for the affections of the young lady. Her suitor does not appreciate this, and a scuffle eventually transpires in which the "doctor" is shot. All seems lost with no hope for the pianist to recover, but gratefully for all, the nurse just so happens to know the cure herself, subsequently attending a concert once the pianist recovers.

One pointless character herein is an ape kept in a cage at the "doctor's" office, who at one point wanders off to attack the nurse, released by Markoff with the intent that he crush the rebelling nurse.

So Markoff turns out to be an ersatz "Dr. Frankenstein" {without the noble intent of furthering forensic science} - ergo. the "monster maker" who infects all those who threaten his dishonestly-acquired "reputation", whose primary motivation was ill-gotten greed. There is nothing wrong with Greed of course, as it is a motivating factor to achieve success, but one must take an ethical issue by which it is utilized in this case, a rotten opportunist taking credit for a true genius' efforts.

What I found most outstanding about this presentation is the deportment of the characters herein - exemplary in etiquette, aesthetics, and eloquence, when totalized civility was the rule of the day, which makes for a thoroughly entertaining and perspective-lending viewing."
Acromegaly Refined at Last!
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 08/16/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is a tale of paranoia and revenge. It begins all nice and sweet with piano virtuoso Anthony Lawrence (Ralph Morgan, who was a well-known character actor in his day; his biggest claim to fame is likely a star on the walk of fame in Hollywood) and his daughter Patricia Lawrence (Wanda McKay, who appeared in dozens of movies; her two biggest claims to fame: she was born Dorothy Quackenbush - sorry, I find that name to sound more fake than her stage name, and she was married to famous songwriter Hoagy Carmichael). Unfortunately for everyone concerned, whacko Dr. Igor Markoff (J. Carrol Naish, who has a Golden Globe and a star on the Hollywood walk of fame) spots Patricia and goes into stalker mode.

We soon discover that Dr. Igor Markoff is neither a doctor nor is he who he says he is; heady stuff! We also discover that Dr. Igor Markoff has a serum that induces acromegaly. Since this little review is not a treatise on acromegaly, I will just say that acromegaly causes enlargement of the extremities along with certain other portions of the body, eventually causing death. Usually acromegaly is caused by a tumor; sorry, no serum for acromegaly.

Acromegaly is important because Dr. Markoff decides to inject Anthony Lawrence with acromegaly to get his filthy paws on Patricia Lawrence. Soon Anthony Lawrence turns ugly with acromegaly and he can no longer play the piano, which yields the title "The Monster Maker."

I have to leave you with some surprises in this movie, so a quick summary of what you can expect next. The Lawrence's gain an unexpected ally. A gorilla goes ape, but he was just monkeying around because he doesn't hurt anyone. Dr. Igor Markoff probably gets some sort of justice just because characters like his usually do (but I ain't sayin'!).

On the other hand, what of poor Anthony Lawrence, who is suffering the eventually deadly ravages of acromegaly? What about beautiful Patricia Lawrence? Will she succumb to the evil Dr. Markoff? What about the gorilla? What about Rex, the Wonder Dog? Scratch that last; that was some other movie, I think (or a comic).

All things considered, this movie was okay. There is very little action, but the plot is interesting and contains some clever convolutions. I was impressed with the acromegaly makeup on Anthony Lawrence, which I thought looked quite good in black & white. Though the horror aspects of this movie are relatively muted, a horror fan might want to add this movie to his or her collection just because Sam Newfield did a nice job of directing this movie. Casual horror fans are likely to be disappointed because this movie is closer to being a thriller than a true horror movie.

Good luck!

A Horror Movie about a Rare Disease
Acute Observer | Jersey Shore USA | 11/23/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The story begins with a piano concert. [Do those hands look too young for an older man?] One man in the audience stares at a younger woman, she reminds him of someone. "I shall be the judge of that." Dr. Igor Markoff enters to apologize to Patricia; she is the daughter of Anthony Lawrence the concert pianist. Igor sends her flowers, his attentions are unwelcome. Maxine is the trusted assistant of Igor. Another gorilla in a cage! [No mention of the smell.] Igor has an angry reaction. What chemical does he use on Anthony? Patricia is called to help her father. Igor tests a cure for acromegaly; we learn his secret. Maxine is threatened!

What happened to Anthony? He is full of energy now. But he has a problem with his fingers. Will he see Doctor Adams? The tests say acromegaly, a serious glandular disorder of the pituitary gland. This disease is progressive but not fatal. The world's expert is Dr. Igor Markoff! The disease has altered Anthony's face [bones start growing]. Maxine overhears the conversation between Igor and Anthony. She is tired of this life, and jealous. Will Igor open the cage of the gorilla? What will he do in Maxine's room? "No, really?" Maxine is sent on an errand to the pharmacy. Igor calls Patricia to tell her Anthony is there. Igor offers a deal: a cure if Patricia is "agreeable". Patricia is told what she should do by Igor. "How ghastly!"

There is a struggle between Anthony and Igor. A shot is fired, Igor is on the floor. Maxine is familiar with the serum, a cure restores Anthony to his previous condition. Life returns to normal. Another morality play that teaches about the dangers of power and fooling with nature.

A disorder of the pituitary gland causes growth in full-grown adults. Hands and fingers become enlarge, as do bones in the face. This reminds you of a monster. It is unusual to use a rare disease as the basis for a horror movie; this lowers the quality of this story."