BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

How to Make a Monster (1958) - Blu-ray Review

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How to Make a Monster (1958)

Fans of Paul Blaisdell’s creature work for films like The She-Creature, It Conquered The World, and Invasion of the Saucer Men are going to dig How to Make a Monster as his monster designs get some prime camera time when hung on the walls.  Some audiences are going to see a whole lot of meta as the horror genre gets up-ended due to the increasing popularity of rock musicals, all of which is best exemplified by a werewolf attack after some dailies have just been viewed by AIP’s new head honcho.  

"succeeds in being way ahead of its time when it comes to story ideas as the American International Pictures backstage lot ... becomes a playground for murder as a make-up artist kills to protect his career"


While the execution of the story is a bit of a bust, How to Make a Monster succeeds in being way ahead of its time when it comes to story ideas as the American International Pictures backstage lot (not really theirs, though) becomes a playground for murder as a make-up artist kills to protect his career.

Released by AIP, How to Make a Monster is a rather odd horror film as it doubles-down on what came before in its horror efforts and then deconstructs those ideas with glimpses behind the curtain.  

The film is directed by Herbert L. Strock, a B-movie director responsible for The Crawling Hand and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein.  His direction style makes for a rather interesting viewing affair as character actor Robert H. Harris (America America and Mirage) as Pete Dummond gets to be the “mad scientist” in this flick and turns his knack for monster-making into a murderous affair when the new “suits” at AIP tell him that they are firing him because the horror genre is dead in the water.How to Make a Monster (1958)

No one wants to scream anymore, they say.  They just want to dance and look at pretty girls.  That’s their method of operating and, because they want to make money, all the other members of the cast and crew fall in line.  But Dummond isn’t about to give up his career in monster pictures without a fight and so he hypnotizes the actors as he applies his fabulous werewolf and Frankenstein designs and has certain big wigs at AIP killed. 

In that manner, this semi-sequel to what came before in films like I Was a Teenage Werewolf and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein makes for an interesting film.  It even switches to color in its final reel, celebrating Dummond’s demise by flames no less.  

Before being meta was cool, there was How to Make a Monster.  The film is now on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory with a brand-new 2K scan.

3/5 beers

How to Make a Monster (1958)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- November 10, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Go behind the scenes of moviedom's most popular teen monster movies … and you'll discover a tale of monstrous vengeance! Following the success of two 1957 classics, I Was A Teenage Werewolf and I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, How To Make A Monster takes you backstage, where a frustrated artist spawns his own twisted scheme for murder. When the movie studio moguls decide they'd rather make musicals instead of horror films, their veteran horror makeup artist loses his job. He decides to get revenge against the executives by turning the studio's teenage horror stars into zombified killers.

Video:

Framed in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, the new 2K film scan of the fine grain print is damned flawless.  The black and white image is crisp with solid levels throughout.  The detailed image is surprisingly clean given the age of the film.  The clarity of the presentation is solid and the film retains a level of grain that ensures an authentic and credible appearance.  Even dark scenes are rarely problematic, with the blacks proving extremely solid, and the level of accuracy ensuring that this B-movie is visually absorbing throughout.

Sound:

The uncompressed monaural soundtrack included here makes the dialogue front and center, which it ought to be.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are two NEW commentaries. One with Author/Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner and Film Historian David Del Valle and another with Author/Film Historian Tom Weaver with Dramatic Readings.

Special Features:

Fans of this title are in for a few surprises as, with two new commentaries, Scream Factory isn’t done yet.  As a bonus here, there is a look at Cohen’s time at AIP and a Q & A with the film’s actors.

  • How To Make A Monster Movie Maker: Herman Cohen At AIP
  • The Ghastly Ghouls: Q & A With Actors Gary Clarke And Gary Conway From Monster Bash
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

How to Make a Monster (1958)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
73 mins
Director
: Herbert L. Strock
Writer:
Aben Kandel and Herman Cohen
Cast:
Robert H. Harris, Paul Brinegar, Gary Conway
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
It will SCARE the living yell out of you!
Memorable Movie Quote: "A Hollywood murder is OK on the screen but not at the studio."
Theatrical Distributor:
American International Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 1, 1958
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 10, 2020.
Synopsis: Go behind the scenes of moviedom's most popular teen monster movies … and you'll discover a tale of monstrous vengeance! Following the success of two 1957 classics, I Was A Teenage Werewolf and I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, How To Make A Monster takes you backstage, where a frustrated artist spawns his own twisted scheme for murder. When the movie studio moguls decide they'd rather make musicals instead of horror films, their veteran horror makeup artist loses his job. He decides to get revenge against the executives by turning the studio's teenage horror stars into zombified killers.

How to Make a Monster (1958)

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