How to Make a Monster (1958)

Article #72 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 5-27-2001
Posting date: 10-10-2001

When a disgruntled make-up man discovers that he is going to be axed by the studio because they aren’t going to make monster movies anymore, he concocts a special makeup that allows him to control those whom he makes up. He then has these people commit murders in their monster regalia.

I love the concept behind this movie, and I love the fact that rather than concocting a different name for the studio, American International Pictures used their own name. The decision in the movie that AIP would start making musicals (which gave me visions of movies like ROGER CORMAN’S THE SOUND OF MUSIC) I found frankly hilarious, though in one sense the move from horror to teen movies is exactly what happened. It also gave them a chance to bring back the makeup jobs of both the Teenage Werewolf and the Teenage Frankenstein. Unfortunately, the movie itself never fully exploits the concept, and the last part of the movie, where the script abandons the original thrust of the story and turns the makeup man into a much more conventional homicidal maniac, is to my mind distinctly unsatisfying (despite the switch to color).

I do find it a bit ironic that the makeup man has his house decorated with several masks of monsters designed by Paul Blaisdell, who was himself dropped by the studio when they shifted away from horror. I’ve also heard that he was not informed about the fire, and that many of these items were lost in the final scenes of the movie.


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