Revisiting the Classics: THE UNDYING MONSTER
After Universal Studios cashed-in big time on Horror in the 1930s with its pantheon of black-and-white Monster icons, it was to be expected that the other major movie studios would want to get in on the action. RKO Pictures managed quite nicely in the 1940s, with the efforts of producer Val Lewton, who brought us such classics as CAT PEOPLE, CURSE OF THE DEMON, and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. Rival studio Twentieth Century-Fox didn’t do quite as well carving out their own niche, but they did manage to bring us a trio of good, if not truly great, Horror films, all the work of Director John Brahm. These films were THE LODGER, HANGOVER SQUARE, and THE UNDYING MONSTER.
The influence of Universal’s THE WOLFMAN (nee THE WOLF MAN) are obvious in the latter, a moody mystery (that really isn’t much of a mystery) featuring a werewolf. The makeup for the titular beast isn’t bad by any means, but it isn’t Jack Pierce’s Wolfman, either, although the viewer will readily notice the similarities. Comparing THE UNDYING MONSTER to the Universal masterpiece, it falls short. But if viewed as its own movie, and one tries to put the Universal flicks out of mind, it holds up nicely. It has style, and the acting is fine. The movie itself is only an hour long, and we don’t get much of the werewolf onscreen, but if taken as an old-fashioned gothic mystery that just happens to feature a werewolf, rather than a straight werewolf movie, it works. Check it out.