18 June 2024
The Undying Monster (1942)
63 min.
Directed by John Brahm.
With James Ellison, Heather Angel, John Howard, Bramwell Fletcher, Heather Thatcher, Aubrey Mather, Halliwell Hobbes, Eily Malyon.
By the early 1940s, Universal had been raking in big bucks from its successful horror pics for over a decade.

20th Century Fox wanted in on some of that action.

They hired director John Brahm, approved a minimal budget, bought a literary screenplay, and produced this enjoyable variation of Universal's popular Wolf Man (1941).

The Hammonds are plagued by an ancient curse. The legend goes like this: for centuries, a mysterious Hammond has lived in a secret room deep within the castle estate.

But this is no ordinary human. It's an immortal creature that emerges periodically, killing nearby villagers in order to sustain its eternal life. A werewolf, to be precise.

Of course, Helga Hammond (Angel) is modern and sophisticated, and doesn't believe any of this superstitious nonsense.

So when someone - or something - attacks her brother Oliver (Howard), she believes there's just got to be a logical explanation. She enlists the aid of scientist Curtis (Ellison) in the hopes of uncovering the rational truth behind the assault on Oliver.

But this might be one time when the supernatural won't be explained away so easily. The Hammonds must exorcise this curse soon, or learn to live with it for all time!

A spunky cast makes The Undying Monster quite a bit of fun (notably Thatcher, who gives an entertaining performance as Curtis' overzealous assistant Christy).

The lighting and cinematography conjure up just the right atmosphere, while *not revealing* the werewolf until the climax is a good move that heightens the tension.

Also known as The Hammond Mystery.

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