The Undying Monster

1942

Drama / Horror

0
IMDb Rating 6.2

Synopsis


Downloaded 218 times
4/15/2019 7:19:23 PM

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1.21G
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English
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63 min
P/S 26 / 2
784.79M
Normal
English
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63 min
P/S 12 / 33

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by whpratt1 8

Enjoyed taping this film recently, which was shown during the early hours of the AM. It is a great picture from the 1940's and director John Brahm, who also directed such film greats as, "Hangover Square",'45 and "The Lodger",'44, starring Laid Cregar. Twentieth Century-Fox produced this film which is from a good novel taken from Jessie Douglas Kerruish's 1936 book. It is a tale of a family cursed since the Crusades and is rather moody stuff, quite spoilt by the British censor's scissors. Not only did he remove the carefully photographed final metamorphosis, leaving audiences to wonder why the dim thing that the police shot should suddenly look like John Howard, but he also insisted on the title being changed to The Hammond Mystery. Fortunately enough of Brahm's brilliance was devoted to less shocking sequences so that most of his mood remained. Lucien Ballard swung his camera round as ancient room, alighting on odd objects at each dour bong of midnight. He also showed a large stain glass window which made the old homestead very creapy. The phrase: When the stars are bright on a frosty night, Beware the baying in the rocky lane" You will have to see the picture to find out what the MONSTER REALLY IS !

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Reviewed by MartinHafer 7

In the 1930s and 40s, Hollywood made thousands of &quot;B&quot; movies--movies that had lower budgets and were made to run as the lesser of the two films at a double-feature. This little mystery-horror film is one of the better ones I&#39;ve seen in some time--thanks to surprisingly decent performances and a novel and well-written script--things you don&#39;t normally find in Bs.<br/><br/>The film begins with an attack by what seems to be an animal on some rich folks at their country manor in Britain. While an inspector from Scotland Yard investigates, it soon becomes obvious that many people there are trying to hide the truth. Some claim the attack was the result of a mythical beast that has haunted this family for generations, though the inspector is naturally very dubious of this.<br/><br/>The film excels in that the script is lacking the usual holes and logical errors common to B-movies. Plus, while there is a horror element, the film really succeeds as a mystery and suspense film. About the only problem in the film, and it&#39;s a small one, is that one of the characters (the hot-shot female investigator) is a bit obnoxious and stupid from time to time. However, this is a tiny problem only and seeing the forensics employed in the film is really quite fascinating today.

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Reviewed by mhesselius 6

I think the film is exceptionally moody and sinister—and subtly subversive. Director John Brahm may not have been an auteur, but this German director imported by Fox from England certainly was a master at using light and shadow to induce the creeps. Or was celebrated cinematographer Lucien Ballard the genius? Much has been made of similarities between &quot;The Undying Monster&quot; and &quot;Hound of the Baskervilles&quot; released by Fox three years earlier. But there is more to the similarity than Fox&#39;s attempt to cash in on an earlier success. In &quot;Hound of the Baskervilles&quot; Sherlock Holmes debunked the Baskerville curse as a diversion used to cover up a murder attempt. The writers of &quot;The Undying Monster&quot; subverted the audience&#39;s belief that there would be a similar natural explanation of an apparently supernatural attack in which a member of the Hammond family is injured. The Hammond curse concerns an ancestor who is supposed to have made a pact with the devil for immortality. The ancient ancestor is still rumored to live in a secret room in the castle&#39;s cellar from which he preys on his descendants, thereby prolonging his unnatural life. In this film the murderer is indeed a werewolf.<br/><br/>But this astonishing revelation is muted by a curiously unconvincing final scene in which a forensic pathologist from Scotland Yard, who has witnessed the creature&#39;s transformation back into human form, tosses off the unprecedented phenomenon as something perfectly natural. Lycanthropy, says the investigator, is merely a person&#39;s delusion that he can change into a wolf. The family doctor admits he has been treating the monster for a genetic brain affliction. But we have seen it was much more that a delusion. We remember what the investigator conveniently forgets, that a sample of wolf&#39;s fur from the crime scene miraculously disappeared during chemical analysis. The unwarranted insertion of a &quot;logical&quot; explanation for the curse steers the film away from an uncomfortably audacious premise, and toward the inoffensive conventions of an old dark house mystery.<br/><br/>But the film began with something much more sinister in mind. When Helga, the mistress of the manor, leads investigators to the Hammond family crypt, we see that near Crusader Sir Reginald Hammond&#39;s sarcophagus stands a statue of Sir Reginald and a beast that has a dog&#39;s, wolf&#39;s, or jackal&#39;s face and paws, but human arms and unmistakable female breasts. The pathologist dismisses the beast&#39;s odd appearance with the facile comment &quot;Man has always bred the dog into fantastic shapes.&quot; There are no further references to Sir Reginald, and the final scene feels as if it had been tacked on in post-production, more so because Heather Angel who played Helga, the investigator&#39;s love interest, is not in the scene. My guess is that fear of the Hayes office caused Fox not to carry through with the dark suggestion that Sir Reginald&#39;s pact unleashed evil upon his descendants. The otherworldy combination of male and female, human and animal characteristics of the wolf in Sir Reginald&#39;s statue suggests at the very least he was involved in an unholy union that may have spawned male descendants genetically tainted with diabolical traits. If detected, such a theme would surely have roused the ire of the censors. Fox&#39;s timidity may therefore have cost this handsomely mounted film, that sported more elaborate sets and technique than Universal had at its disposal, any chance to join the A list of B films from the 1940s horror cycle.<br/><br/>Nevertheless, it&#39;s an entertaining film if you can look past the ending and the comic relief provided by an assistant investigator who comes off as a female version of the bumbling Dr. Watson of the Holmes movies.

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