Monster on the Campus (1958)

Article #1211 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-8-2004
Posting Date: 12-5-2004
Directed by Jack Arnold
Featuring Arthur Franz, Joanna Cook Moore, Judson Pratt

A scientist studying a fossil of a coelecanth becomes infected by its blood and turns into a primitive anthropoid.

This is probably the weakest of the several science fiction movies directed by Jack Arnold during the fifties. In some ways, it works well enough; however, it gets fairly silly at times. It’s basically a Jekyll-and-Hyde variation in which the potion is replaced by coelacanth blood treated with gamma rays; the problem is that the scientist has to be infected with them by accident twice. The first time is done well enough, but the second time requires an incredible set of coincidences that involves a dragonfly, a knife and a pipe, and it stretches credibility. Furthermore, someone in costuming should have been asking themselves whether the monster might not look a bit silly clad in a plaid flannel shirt as he is during the last half of the movie. Still, Arthur Franz gives a good performance, and the opening scenes in which a German Shepherd gets infected are quite good; in particular, I like the fangs. One question; if the scientist has to make a plaster cast of his girlfriend’s face to create a bust of a modern woman for his collection of the heads of men throughout the ages, who did he get to model the other heads in the collection?


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