HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER takes horror films boldly into the computer age! Starring Steven Culp (Thirteen Days, Nurse Betty), Clea DuVall (Girl, Interrupted, John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars), and Tyler Mane (X-Men, Joe Dirt), ... more »this cyber-thriller from the director of Swimming With Sharks features mind-blowing monster effects by Academy Award winner Stan Winston (Jurassic Park, A.I. Artificial Intelligence) and the talents of sexy B-movie queen Julie Strain. Video game developer Clayton Software enlists the talents of a misfit group of programmers to develop the scariest computer combat game: EVILUTION. With four weeks to bring the game to market and a million-dollar bonus on the line, they utilize a telemetry suit to render a 3-D version of the onscreen player. But when a power surge gives the hard drive a mind of its own, the suit comes to life to play the game for real and the programming team find themselves in the middle of a chilling virtual nightmare beyond their wildest imagination.« less
"While not fresh in originality, How To Make A Monster is a nice diversion from the crop of films out there recently that seem to depend on star power and rock tunes to carry them. This entry in the Creature Features series seems to be what Full Moon was trying to attempt in its hey day if it only had the slightly bigger budget.Basically, several computer game programmers with clashing egos are hired to expedite the release of a new game called Evilution. In the process, a power surge and system overload bring a motion suit to life and the computer then is literally playing the game out with the programmers and office staff, and it's kill or be killed with everyone trapped inside the building.There's a fair amount of suspense, a few twists, and a lot to say about greed, arrogance, and the lessening value of being just plain nice. The special effects mainly consist of the creature, and all else is done rather modestly which helps keep the story on track instead of being bogged down with massive digitial effects. It's interesting to note that this is a project from the director of Swimming With Sharks. The only sad thing is that this film seems to say that in the end, it's dog eat dog and you might as well forget about trying to be nice.Everyone plays their attitudes to the hilt, some may be put off by the excessive language but things move along rather swiftly so you don't dwell on that too long. I was hesitant at first to view this because I was concerned that it was going to be a Julie Strain "breast fest" (as if she's not getting enough exposure being married to the editor of Heavy Metal magazine), but her appearance was minimal and yes, her "big guns" made the required appearance to satisfy those who just have to see them. So that part was not as gratuitous as one would think, and even the violence is just enough without getting ridiculously over the top. Overall, it's a satisfying experience and entertains as intended which is a good feat when you consider how so many bigger Hollywood productions seem so empty and stupid and aren't worth a purchase price.I'm not a video game fanatic and don't know much about computers, but you don't have to be a whiz to be entertained by the subject matter in How To Make A Monster. While not a masterpiece, it's a fun ride and one of the better bets in the sci-fi/horror genre lately. Not a cerebral experience like Session 9 or Donnie Darko, but something you can sit back with a ton of junk food and enjoy."
JUST WHO'S THE MONSTER HERE?
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 03/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"George Hueng's remake of the classics 50's film is a stunning exercise in virtual reality. Although it starts off a little slow, once it kicks in, it is bristling with suspense and great effects. The cast is key in keeping the movie together:
Steven Culp as the handsome owner of the company evolves in a way that's not too flattering;
stalwart Clea Duvall continues her reign as the esoteric teen queen as the selfless, innocent intern, who also undergoes a metamorphosis;
Tyler Mane, the hulking actor, who has spent most of his time hidden behind make-up (Planet of the Apes, X-Men) is an engaging screen presence, very good in a somewhat stereotypical role, and Jason Marsden as acne-infected nerd is also effective.
The movie is its own allegorical spin on monsters, and by the end of the movie, you'll ask yourself---who was the worst monster?"
A Surprising Good Time
sheryden | Ohio | 11/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To be honest, I initially watched the film because Steven Culp, a favorite actor of mine, was in it. (Yes, that's a cheesy reason to watch a movie.) The plot sounded a little silly, so I had my doubts going in. To my surprise, it was brilliant. Basically, the film is a social commentary disguised as a B horror flick. The movie attempts to define what actually constitutes a monster, and probes the extent to which there is the capacity for darkness in everyone.While the movie can be a bit contrived in parts, the film delivers overall. I found myself lulled into believing the movie would end predictably, but was pleasantly thrown for a loop. The characters, as in any good B horror movie, are overblown and a bit unbeleivable. The exceptions are Culp and co-star Clea DuVall. Both are engaging individually, and together, they have a believable chemistry. DuVall's evolution as a character and Culp's final speech were worth the entire movie."
"Scary is as scary does."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 07/21/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Not so long ago someone got the bright idea to take a handful of old American International films released back in the 1950s and redo them for cable television...notice I didn't say remake...among them were Earth vs. the Spider (2001), She-Creature (2001), The Day the World Ended (2001), Teenage Caveman (2002), and this one, titled How to Make a Monster (2001). Written and directed by George Huang (Swimming with Sharks), the film features Steven Culp (Thirteen Days, "Desperate Housewives"), Clea DuVall (Ghosts of Mars, Identity), Jason Marsden (The Boy Who Cried Alien), Karim Prince ("Malcolm in the Middle"), and Tyler `Sabretooth' Mane (X-Men, Troy). Also appearing is Colleen Camp (D.A.R.Y.L., Clue), who was also one of the producers on this film, and horror queen of the plasticine Julie Strain (Psycho Cop Returns, Lingerie Kickboxer).
As the film begins we see a group of snotty children involved in a test market evaluation on a violent new video game called Evil-ution, which, by the way, is one of the shoddiest games I've seen in awhile. Anyway, after the children rip it a new one (they said it was lame, boring and not scary enough, among other things), the current game designers get the proverbial boot, eventually replaced by an outside team led by a weasel type named Peter Drummond (Culp) made up of a trio of antisocial misfits including an oversized paranoid sociopathic weapons expert named Hardcore (Mane), an outspoken artificial intelligence engine designer named Sol (Prince), and a nerdy, pimply toad named Bug, whose proficiency lies in music and sound effects. As the quartet move into their new high security digs (the world of video game design is cutthroat, full of industrial spies), they meet their intern named Laura (DuVall) along with learning they only have four weeks to `fix' the game (i.e. make it scary). They also learn whomever succeeds in making their particular module the scariest will get a million dollar bonus, which ends up resulting in some fierce competition among the three, along with a bit of not so friendly sabotage. Anyway, Julie Strain, playing herself, is brought in, stripped down, and fitted with a telemetry suit for no other reason that to allow for us to see her big `guns', and soon after lighting strikes a nearby power transformer, sending a freaky electrical spike into the mainframe resulting in the game coming to life as it uses said suit to enact homicidal scenarios from within the game (as the suit claims various victims, it incorporates their parts). Escape isn't possible as the security system within the building got tripped, and the whole place is on lockdown, forcing those inside still alive to try an assault on the mainframe itself.
While the film here shares the same name as the one originally released in 1958, that's about all the two have in common (the original involves a disgruntled special effects artist turning actors into murderers via mind controlling make-up). The main issues I have with this movie is the story, while simplistic, had little focus (along with no soul) and felt like it was all over the place, and the characters were flat and uninteresting. As a result, I checked the running time displayed on my DVD player regularly, trying to calculate how much time was left. Some might ask if that were the case, why keep watching the movie? Well, once I start a film, I generally like to see it all the way through, for better or for worse. I wouldn't call this film awful, but after watching it I began thinking of all the other ways I could have spent the hour and a half required to watch the movie. Another thing, often there were elements in the story that ended up having nothing to do with anything...one example of this was an unaccredited role by Danny Masterson, who plays the character Hyde from `That 70's Show'. His role here was as Laura's slightly psycho boyfriend who would send her nasty emails laced with profanities. Why? Because he was crazy...what did his character have to do with the plot? Nothing, as far as I could tell. And then there's the video game...gah! I know it was probably thrown together for the film and was meant to look like a work in progress, but still, it was incredibly chintzy and not something I'd ever be interested in playing (and I dig on violent games). There were some bright spots...Julie Strain does appear topless for no apparent reason than to have some nekkidness in the film, her performance the equivalent to showing up, showing her goodies, and then looking for her check. Clea DuVall, who doesn't appear nekkid, is sort of attractive, despite her mannish, Cro-Magnon brow. I thought it might have been kind of cool had Ms. Strain somehow been incorporated into the suit and transformed into a sword wielding killer driven by the game, but that didn't happen. I did feel some of the actors (many of whom I've seen in better roles) tried to put some effort into their roles, but given how they were written it was obviously an uphill battle. I thought the creature effects looked cool especially once it was fully realized and outfitted with body parts, armor, and weapons. The story does ramble along, various characters get bumped off, none of them even remotely likable (I thought Mane's character the most psychotically entertaining), eventually culminating into a really pathetic sword fighting sequence between Laura and the creature, the latter looking much like something from the Bruce Campbell film Army of Darkness (1992). All in all this is a fairly forgettable film, one that has a few highlights, but ultimately not one I'd actively recommend anyone go out of their way to see. I would recommend checking out the original 1958 feature as it's a bit more entertaining, in my opinion.
The picture on this DVD, available in both fullscreen (1.33:1) and anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), comes across well and the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is clean and clear. Extras include a `making of' featurette (3:05), a DVD-ROM game, a photo galley, filmographies, and subtitles available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai. Also included are some unrelated trailers for other DVD releases including It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Wolf (1994), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Fright Night (1985), and The Breed (2001).
Programmed for destruction, and a good time
Moose Master | New York, NY USA | 12/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie isn't the best movie i've seen. But it sure isn't the worst i've seen. This movie sets out to be scary and it accomplishes that, among other things. The plot is fairly simple, in which a video game villain comes alive and tries to kill its programmers. But what this movie lacks in plot and character development makes up for with a good cast and a great monster suit. This movie is particularly good, but it takes itself too seriously. But, this movie is great, and i recommend this to any horror fan."