The Mad Monster

Movie Information

In Brief: If Bela Lugosi was the king of 1940s B horror, then surely George Zucco was the king of the C’s. Zucco’s claim to stardom rests on the six-picture contract (only five were made) he had with Producers Releasing Corp., or PRC Pictures as it’s generally known. Zucco's first starring role was in the gloriously goofy — and oddly ambitious — The Mad Monster (1942). One of the more noteworthy facts about PRC was its utter lack of originality. While the idea of The Mad Monster was clearly to cash in on Universal’s The Wolf Man, the film that emerged was just as clearly a rehash of The Devil Bat with Zucco instead of Lugosi and with a cheesy werewolf as his instrument of revenge rather than the earlier film’s even cheesier giant bats. In some ways, it worked better since werewolf effects were more easily achieved on a PRC budget. In place of Lugosi avenging himself over a stolen cold cream formula, Zucco’s Dr. Lorenzo Cameron gets back at his colleagues for laughing him out of the scientific community over his theory that men could be turned into werewolves, which could then be sent overseas to wipe out the Nazis. (I can’t imagine why they felt there was anything questionable about that.) His subject is this big doofus named Petro (Glenn Strange), who acts like a fugitive from a touring company that stages Of Mice and Men, but he does effectively turn into an OshKosh B’Gosh-wearing werewolf (the mad, or at least irritable, monster of the title) that looks a little like Gabby Hayes with fangs.
Genre: Horror
Director: Sam Newfield
Starring: George Zucco, Johnny Downs, Anne Nagel, Glenn Strange
Rated: NR

The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen The Mad Monster Thursday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. at The Grail Moviehouse and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Scott Douglas.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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