Monday, March 27, 2017

Man Made Monster (1941)

Man Made Monster (1941)

Lon Chaney Jr. once said during an interview, “After witnessing the torture my father endured in his various make-ups, I was more than ready to heed his advice about not doing that type of work. And yet, I suppose the fact that I'm here proves that some people just can't escape their destiny."

 Man Made Monster (1941) would mark the beginning of a long and illustrious career as a horror actor for Lon Chaney Jr. and although the studios had been eager to cash in on his name they cast him in what would be the lowest budget film for the studio in 1941. Man Made Monster (1941)  directed by George Waggner who later produced and directed such horror classics as TheWolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and The Phantom of the Opera (1943). The film was based on the story, "The Electric Man" which Universal had purchased for $3,300 in 1935 as a potential Boris Karloff / Bela Lugosi vehicle.

The film featured Lionel Atwill, one of Universals premier horror actors in his first role as a mad scientist.  Atwill would later play a mad scientist in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) which also featured Lon Chaney Jr. in both films Chaney Jr. plays a monster that kills Atwill's characters with electricity. The film also features Anne Nagel and Frank Albertson, who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) as Tom Cassidy (the client with $40,000).  Man-Made Monster (1941) was filmed in only three weeks. Yet despite it’s low budget and tight shooting schedule The Man Made Monster (1941) would become one of Universal’s better horror films for that time period.

Man-Made Monster (1941) would launch Lon Chaney Jr.'s career as a star in horror films and the film's success directly led to his casting in later horror films such as The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

Man-Made Monster (1941) was later re-released under several titles including Electric Man and The Mysterious Dr. R. In 1953, it was re-released by Realart Pictures under the title The Atomic Monster on a double bill with The Flying Saucer (1950). When Realart Pictures rereleased the film under the title Atomic Monster, Alex Gordon had titled one of his films with the same title. He sent his attorney Samuel Z. Arkoff to meet the Realart representative James H. Nicholson to discuss the matter. As a result of that meeting the three men started their own film company, American International Pictures (AIP). AIP would be noted for producing such low budget horror films  as I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957),  Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), House of Usher (1960), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) as well as a series of Poe based horror films in the 1960’s.

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