The Mad Monster (1942)



Notes: Producers Releasing Corporation. 77 minutes.
Dr. Lorenzo Cameron: George Zucco
Petro: Glenn Strange
Lenora Cameron: Anne Nagel
Tom Gregory: Johnny Downs
Grandmother: Sarah Padden
Professor Blaine: Robert Strange
Professor Fitzgerald: Gordon De Main

Written: Fred Myton
Directed: Sam Newfield
Produced: Sigmund Neufeld

Summary: A wolf howls. A wolf is in a cage. Dr. Cameron has the slow-witted Petro strapped down. The wolf is “serving science.” Cameron injects Petro, who transforms while Cameron triumphantly address his former detractors in his imagination. Petro is “no longer human,” “lusting for the kill.” Since Cameron was declared a “madman,” he lost his chair at the university. Those “stupid fools!” The application for this was to be WWII-related, “an army of wolf-men.” Cameron would have an antidote after the marauding, but one of the imaginary men asks so what: how could you round up a million insane half-animal killers? These men took away all he held dear: “position, honor, respect.” And they “shall die, one by one.”

Petro is injected and changes back, claiming to have had a dream of countryside murderous chasing. We meet Cameron’s Judy-Garland-voiced daughter Lenora, and her reporter boyfriend. She wants to return to the city. Petro wishes he had “book-larnin’.” He is transformed again and this time unchained to wander the swamps. A farmer shoots at him, but cackling insane corncob-pipe-smoking Grandmother says one must use a silver bullet. The wolfman enters a window and kills a brat, then wanders back to the lab. Cameron commands him to “lie down.” He threatens with a whip, and injects Petro back. Next, we’ll go after Professor Blaine.

Cameron stops his daughter from sending out a letter. A posse of farmers is hunting the murderer, and Petro frets. Cameron is intrigued since the act was unprovoked and required opening the window.

Tom the reporter visits Blaine, but then Cameron does, and old hostilities are renewed, regarding “tampering with the laws of nature.” But Petro is Cameron’s “guinea pig” and will prove his theories. An arranged call from Lenora gets Cameron off the scene; Blaine is supposed to give Petro a second injection later. Blaine first calls over Fitzgerald, and Cameron visits him too to fetch him to Blaine’s place to see the proof of his success. Cameron feigns heart troubles so that Fitzgerald comes upon the scene of Blaine having been killed.

Petro begins processing his feelings for Lenora. Cameron intervenes and slaps him. Lenora says Petro had the “eyes of a wild beast,” that he acted as if “possessed by a demon.” Petro wanders into the swamps, and Tom the reporter finds his way to the house. “I see no reason for rejoicing,” is Cameron’s curt comment. He hates “snooping” reporters and finds it an obnoxious profession. Tom visits a farmer concerning the beast/murderer, and is told, “It scared Jed Harper so bad he went and got religion.”

Wolfman Petro returns, and Cameron momentarily considers shooting him dead, but no, we still have to murder Fitzgerald.

The farmer is murdered. The old lady squawks about using a silver bullet again. Cameron apologizes to Tom. Tom questions Petro. Fitzgerald comes to the lab and listens to Cameron blab about volatile elements in the blood. He rants about controlling evolution, finding the source of life itself. Fitzgerald leaves in a huff, but agrees to drive Petro to town on his way. Petro transforms in the car and attacks, and is next seen carrying Fitzgerald in the swamps. The posse of farmers fire at the wolfman, and Fitzgerald is still alive, to be taken back to Cameron’s house. Tom finds out Petro was with Fitz, who suddenly is discovered dead. Tom gets aggressive with Cameron. Lenora enters the lab and sees the straps on the cot. She opens a door and sees the wolfman. Tom arrives and throws a chair. Lightning starts a fire as the wolfman pursues the others upstairs. The monster sees Cameron and we see that murder in silhouette. Tom and Lenora get out of the burning house.

Commentary: What does one farm in swamps?
What about killing Hatfield and Warwick?
Interestingly, throughout this film, people are “snapping” at each other.

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