In 1957, American International Pictures had a big hit with their I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Immediately following its heels came I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, and then this film. This film is in many ways an inside look at the workings of the movie business and its thinking in the 50s as well as the ending chapter in the Teenage Trilogy cycle at AIP. It is not a great horror picture by any standards, yet it is fun to watch. It has a pretty good story about a make-up man who gets the pink slip and then promises to kill the execs who fired him and bring the studio to its knees. Mild-mannered Robert Harris plays the vengeful artist with restrained aplomb. He effectively captures the insanity that courses through his mind with great subtlety. In the end, we see Harris for what he real was...not just an innocent artist but a monster obsessed with his works and his creations in much the same vein as Vincent Price's character in The House of Wax. The rest of the actors are acceptable, and the ending scene where we see the works of the artist is a walk down memory lane. On the walls one can see the head mask of the She-Creature, the It from It Conquered the World, one of the saucer men from Invasion of the Saucer Men, and many others. The colour sequence that is suppose to be in the final 8 minutes of the film does not exist on any version of the video presently out. Hope it is remastered.
How to Make a Monster
Horror / Sci-Fi
How to Make a Monster
Horror / Sci-Fi
Accomplished but eccentric movie make-up artist Pete Dumond has been with the studio for decades and is totally devoted to his art especially in the creation of screen monsters. His world ends abruptly when new management acquires the company and arbitrarily decides that the horror cycle has run its course, and the studio will now concentrate on escapist musicals. When Dumond hears he will be pink-slipped, the neurotic but usually affable Pete turns psychotic and vows vengeance on the two movie executives responsible. Using a combination of hypnosis and a newly developed chemical formula, Dumond is able to use mind control to compel the young actors playing the teenage Frankenstein and werewolf to exact vengeance for him.
December 20, 2022 at 12:23 PM
Nice Little Horror Picture
No great shakes but amusing--especially for AIP fans
Monster makeup man Pete Dumond (Robert H. Harris) is told the studio is closing down his shop because they've decided to stop making horror films. He vows revenge. The final film he's on has a teenage werewolf (Gary Clarke--not Michael Landon) and a teenage Frankenstein (Gary Conway reprising his role from the original). He puts a drug in their makeup that make them obey him and orders them to kill the studio heads.
Pretty much forgotten horror movie--for good reason! The plot is sort of interesting but it's basically a 30 minute plot stretched out to 74 minutes! A lot of talk but little action. There's also a pointless (and pretty funny) musical number by John Ashley squeezed in (purportedly he had some hits in the 1950s).
Some of the acting is good. Harris is enjoying himself and Clarke has some good moments. Conway however seems uncomfortable. The best part of this movie is the final 11 minutes--they're done in color (the rest of the film is in b&w). We get to see a good bunch of AIP monster masks, some blood, and Harris, Clarke and Conway in full color. Fans of AIP monster movies will get more of a kick out of this than anyone else. For the color ending alone I give this a 7.
Be aware--most TV prints have the whole film in b&w--the DVD has the color.
Nobody Appreciates The Makeup Artists
It can never be said that American International Pictures doesn't have a sense of humor. The studio that gave us such classics as I Was A Teenage Frankenstein and I Was A Teenage Werewolf joins the two teen monsters in a cute satire of the genre.
A new day is dawning at American International, the new studio heads want no more monster pictures that were the bread and butter of its existence and paid a nice living for makeup artist Robert H. Harris. They want lighter fare for the public and give poor Harris the old heave ho.
But Harris isn't taking it lying down. A new makeup base applied to the skull allows Harris to control those he applies it on and he takes his two teen stars from Teenage Frankenstein and Werewolf and starts sending them on a murder spree and bringing back trophies.
Gary Clarke and Gary Conway were Harris's two subjects and they and Harris went along with the fun. A whole lot of familiar character actors get involved.
It's American Internation so don't expect any high production values. But it actually isn't too bad.
How To Make A Monster is made up in fact with tongue firmly in cheek.