Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Monster Maker – Acromegaly Deforms Famous Pianist

By Steve D. Stones

This 1944 poverty row cheapie was directed by Sam Neufeld and stars veteran actor J. Carrol Naish. Naish plays a phony glandular doctor named Igor Markoff who becomes infatuated with the daughter of a famous pianist – Anthony Lawrence. Markoff continually sends flowers to the Lawrence’s daughter Maxine in an attempt to court her. This forces Lawrence to confront him.

After an argument and a fight, Markoff injects Lawrence with acromegaly virus, causing him to become a deformed monster. Lawrence takes the advice of Maxine and sees a doctor named Adams. Adams recommends that Lawrence see Markoff for treatment, since he is regarded as an expert on the subject.  Lawrence of course wants nothing to do with Markoff, but is forced to see him again.
Markoff baits a trap by luring Maxine to his home to check up on and comfort Lawrence. When she arrives, Lawrence has progressed into his most hideous state yet. Maxine demands her father’s release and cure, but Markoff refuses unless Maxine agrees to marry him.

Lawrence is bound to a bed, but is able to escape while getting into another fight with Markoff. He struggles with Markoff to force a gun away from him. The gun fires in the struggle, killing Markoff.
The film ends with Lawrence being cured of acromegaly, and returning to his piano for a public recital.

Like many poverty row films of the 1940s released by PRC, The Monster Make barely clocks in at about 61 minutes. The film may have been inspired by the true-life story of Rondo Hatton, a World War I veteran who developed acromegaly following combat duty. Hatton starred in a number of low-budget films of the 1940s, such as The Brute Man, House of Horrors, The Jungle Captive and The Spider Woman Strikes Back. Happy viewing.

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