How To Make A Monster (1958)

how to make a monster 1958

Not the greatest title but it fits. I envisioned George Zucco in the part of make up man Pete Dumond but Robert H.Harris does a real good job so it didn’t bother me that one of my favorites sat this one out.

Pete Dumond has been working at American International Studios for twenty-five years doing make up for monster movies. His assistant is yes man Rivero (Paul Brinegar). They’re working on a werewolf vs. Frankenstein movie. This is a way for some product placement to creep in for real movies “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” and “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein.”

On the set director Martin Brace (Thomas Browne Henry) is getting ready for the movie’s highlight, the big fight between the two monsters played by Tony Mantell (Gary Conway) as Frankenstein and Larry Drake (Gary Clarke) as the werewolf.

Back in Pete’s workroom he gets a visit from new studio executives Jeffrey Clayton and John Nixon. They tell Pete the monster era is over and he’s fired. Pete won’t take this lying down. The next day he comes up with a special cream that acts like a frontal lobotomy. Whoever wears it will follow his orders.

Larry comes in for his werewolf makeup and Pete applies his new discovery. Nixon and Clayton are watching rushes from current productions. Clayton leaves before the monster movie. As Nixon watches, Larry creeps up behind him and strangles him and leaves a few fang marks.

Clayton demands the cops find out what happened. Ambitious studio guard Monahan stops by Pete’s shop and says he has his suspicions of what’s going on and has it all written down. Later Pete makes himself up as Frankenstein and takes care of that problem. The next night Tony in Frankenstein makeup takes care of Clayton. While running from the scene he knocks down returning maid Millie.

The next day at police headquarters Millie is questioned by Captain Hancock (Morris Ankrum). In some real overacting Walter Reed as Detective Thompson bears down on a nervous Rivero when it’s time for Pete and his assistant to be questioned..

The police lab finds a clue. Back at the studio Pete and Rivero find their workshop all packed up. They leave the studio with Larry and Tony. Pete told the boys he wants to show them his collection of monster masks. The movie now switches from B & W to color for an interesting final fifteen minutes.

Robert Shayne, best known to “The Adventures Of Superman” fans as Inspector Henderson, has a quick bit as Tony’s agent. He’s mad at Pete for telling his client he’s thorough because the monster trend is done.

In a terrible segment tossed in around the middle John  Ashley does a horrible song to show the studio’s new direction. It’s embarrassing.

Overall this is not a bad movie and a decent time passer.

Paul Brinegar gained TV fame as Wishbone on “Rawhide” (1959-65).

Robert H.Harris is a familiar face to TV fans as he appeared in many different series episodes.

Robert H.Harris

Robert H.Harris


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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