Okay, so there's this bat shit crazy scientist (George Zucco) who figures out that he can extract a compound from wolf's blood and inject it into people, turning them into human-wolf hybrids to help fight zee Germans. The problem is all of his peers think he's bat shit crazy, so he injects the serum into his retarded gardener (Glenn Strange) and gets him to kill said peers to... I dunno, prove them wrong?
I don't fucking know. Out of all the bat shit crazy scientists I've seen in old B-movies, the dude in this was probably one of the craziest. The guy knows he's fucking crazy. There's one scene at the beginning of the movie where he is imagining talking to the scientists who apparently humiliated him publicly by debunking his crazy theories - that in itself is fine, but then these figments of his own imagination start telling him he's crazy. That's always a bad sign.
Never mind the fact that his 'enemies' such as they were, were actually pretty reasonable. They gladly gave him a second chance to prove his demented theory and would have apologized for mocking him if he hadn't killed them. The guy obviously has a pretty serious persecution complex, even going so far as to get up in the grills of a young reporter (Johnny Downs) because a different reporter did an unfavourable story about him one time. Never mind that the one he chews out is dating his daughter (Anne Nagel) and trying to be helpful. What a dick.
And really, he has this serum which can turn people into crazy werewolves (essentially) who go around murdering people coz it's fun, why doesn't he administer it to the people he's trying to kill? Turning a different guy into a werewolf, getting him to kill his enemies, and then restraining him and givnig him the antidote seems really complicated. Turning your enemies into monsters makes waaaaay more sense. Not only is he a dick he's also not terribly bright.
Man I could go on about the logic in this movie all day. How about this one - every time the villagers who later form a sort of disgruntled mob see the 'werewolf' they describe it as not quite a man and not quite a beast but it's hard to tell because it was misty.
|Spoiler: It was this guy.|
Then again, Kris Kristofferson (presumably) couldn't survive two shotgun blasts to the chest. Which brings me to yet another logic problem with this movie. The writers (or somebody?) went to great lengths to make the 'werewolf' sorta sciencey. Like, y'know, plausible and that. He's a man with ramped up abilities. The only person who suggests that he's a werewolf is this crazy old pipe smoking lady (Sarah Padden). So he's like Science Werewolf. How come he can get shot twice at point blank range with a fucking shotgun and walk away without a scratch? Because science, apparently, is magic.
Okay, I think I'm done with that tangent. Now I'll get to the technical stuff. The sound was terrible - the music was really loud but it was almost impossible to tell what the actors were saying. I know, it's an old movie, but damnit, there are old movies that are not too badly preserved. This one was not one of them. Not that being able to understand what the actors were saying was that important because the acting really wasn't that good. George Zucco was acceptable, and Anne Nagel was okay but the guy who played the titular monster? Woah. I know he was supposed to be playing a retarded guy, and he actually did not go full retard but man oh man was he painful to watch.
The cinematography was bad, the picture quality was bad, the special effects aren't half as good as those in The Wolf Man, and, to ice the cake, the editing was so bizarre (read: bad) that the whole thing was only barely comprehensible. I had to pay really close attention to glean any kind of meaning from the film which made me mad because it was a waste of my attention.
Long story short, this movie really really sucked. If you want to watch a good werewolf movie from the forties, watch the aforementioned Wolf Man. If you want to watch a movie about a man who has been affronted by a group of people and decides to remove them one by one using slightly suspect science, I recommend The Devil Doll if only for laughs.
Directed by: Sam Newfield. Written by: Fred Myton. Starring: George Zucco, Glenn Strange, Anne Nagel, Johnny Downs
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