Halloween horror marathon: The Monster Maker

poster-monster-makerThe Monster Maker is a seam-showing, by-the-numbers bit of '40s horror. Not outre enough to hit the strange notes that one would get during the Communist threat allegories of '50s sci-fi, nor soon enough after World War 2 to reflect the horrors of war, this 1944 film is for the most part, a terrible mess. The film has a strangely framed scene wherein Dr. Markoff is in the middle of a full-on mad scientist lab --- bubbling beakers and all -- and speaking to his secretary on the intercom. It could be the work of an SNL sketch, if it wasn't absolutely earnest. The tale of random pre-revenge in order to blackmail a woman into marrying him is simply murky and weird, and you may find yourself scratching your head as you attempt to discern motives. It's also distracting, in that Monster Maker Markoff looks like John Favreau from his stint on Friends. I keep expecting a jovial East Coast accent, rather than the generic Eastern European tones in which the good doctor speaks (although, one can hear a hint of J. Carrol Naish's native New York pop through when agitated). The special effects for this grade-z schlockfest range from "good enough for the Twilight Zone" to a man in a gorilla suit. The monster's appearance is good enough, but the film's obviously shot on a series of cheaply-assembled sound stages. It's cheap, nasty, and at 62 minutes, a breezy way to kill some time. Watch the whole film below, courtesy the Internet Archive.