THE MONSTER (1925)
Article #374 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 3-24-2002
Posting date: 8-10-2002
A mysterious disappearance near an old sanitarium prompts a clerk studying to be a detective to launch his own investigation.
Lon Chaney is given top billing in this one, but his screen time is fairly limited; most of the screen time goes to Johnny Arthur, the ambitious clerk. It’s an old dark house horror comedy, and it even predates THE CAT AND THE CANARY in making it to the screen, so it may well have blazed the way for the onslaught of such movies during the thirties. Lon Chaney fans may be a little disappointed; though he certainly does well enough, the movie offers no challenge to either his makeup expertise or his acting skills, and despite the fact that he could be considered a horror star, he seems a little out of place in a horror comedy. The movie itself starts off nicely, but I found it got a little tiresome once we reach the old dark house; the pacing seems a little too slow. I also noticed that the funniest bits of the movie are the title cards, and I wonder if the comedic thrust of the play was primarily verbal, which would present a problem in a silent movie adaptation. It might make it interesting to dig up the original script some time and see.