IMDb > How to Make a Monster (1958)
How to Make a Monster
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How to Make a Monster (1958) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
5.1/10   469 votes »
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Down 25% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Aben Kandel (original story) and
Herman Cohen (original story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for How to Make a Monster on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 July 1958 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
See the Ghastly Ghouls in Flaming Color! See more »
Plot:
When master monster make-up man Pete is sacked by the new bosses of American International studios he uses his creations to exact revenge. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
A quality, engaging film See more (23 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Robert H. Harris ... Pete Dumond

Paul Brinegar ... Rivero
Gary Conway ... Tony Mantell (Teenage Frankenstein)
Gary Clarke ... Larry Drake (Teenage Werewolf)

Malcolm Atterbury ... Security Guard Richards
Dennis Cross ... Security Guard Monahan
Morris Ankrum ... Police Capt. Hancock
Walter Reed ... Detective Thompson
Paul Maxwell ... Jeffrey Clayton
Eddie Marr ... John Nixon
Heather Ames ... Arlene Dow
Robert Shayne ... Gary Droz
Rod Dana ... Lab Technician
Jacqueline Ebeier ... Jane
Thomas Browne Henry ... Martin Brace - director of 'Werewolf Meets Frankenstein'
John Phillips ... Detective Jones
Paulene Myers ... Millie, the pedestrian
John Ashley ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Herman Cohen ... Banks, Director in Projection Room (uncredited)
Frank Richards ... Studio Groundskeeper (uncredited)
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Directed by
Herbert L. Strock 
 
Writing credits
Aben Kandel (original story) (as Kenneth Langtry) and
Herman Cohen (original story)

Aben Kandel (screenplay) (as Kenneth Langtry) and
Herman Cohen (screenplay)

Produced by
Herman Cohen .... producer
James H. Nicholson .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Paul Dunlap 
 
Cinematography by
Maury Gertsman (director of photography) (as Maury Gertzman)
 
Art Direction by
A. Leslie Thomas  (as Leslie Thomas)
 
Set Decoration by
Morris Hoffman 
 
Makeup Department
Phillip Scheer .... makeup artist (as Philip Scheer)
 
Production Management
Herbert E. Mendelson .... production manager (as Herb Mendelson)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Herbert E. Mendelson .... assistant director (as Herb Mendelson)
 
Art Department
Sam Gordon .... property master
 
Sound Department
Verna Fields .... sound effects editor
Herman Lewis .... sound
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Oscar Rodriguez .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Jerry Young .... editorial supervisor
 
Music Department
George Brand .... music editor
Paul Dunlap .... conductor
 
Other crew
Mary Gibsone .... script supervisor
Lee Scott .... choreographer
Barbara Lee Strite .... production secretary
Paul Blaisdell .... monster suits (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
73 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This was advertised with the tagline "See the Ghastly Ghouls in Flaming Color!" However, most of the movie was in black and white with only the final two reels in color.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: The visitors to the studio are told they are about to visit the set of Horrors of the Black Museum (1959). That film, which was also produced and written by Herman Cohen, was actually shot in England, not at the U.S. studio.See more »
Quotes:
Jeffrey Clayton:[Surprised that Pete has declined severance pay] Turn down money? Maybe you've been living too long with these monsters!
Pete Dumond:Sometimes I find them better company than humans.
See more »
Soundtrack:
You've Got to Have Ee-OooSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
A quality, engaging film, 18 August 2006
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

How to Make a Monster is an American International Pictures film about and set on the lot of American International Pictures. The premise is that the studio has been sold, and the new owners are going to make some major changes, including canning in-house employee Pete Dumond (Robert H. Harris), a noted master of horror make-up. It then becomes a relatively simple revenge flick, with a nice, slightly sci-fi twist in the method of revenge.

The idea behind this film is very clever. It also provided an effective means of saving money on the production, since not many sets had to be built or dressed, and even when that was necessary, AIP was able to use materials on hand from other films, such as the gallery of masks, in a way that makes this a self-referential treat for horror fans. The idea is good enough that especially in our modern era of film industry cannibalization, it's surprising that it hasn't been used far more often.

Aside from the admirable tightness of the script and the evergreen attraction of revenge films, How to Make a Monster works as well as it does because of the performances. Harris is a fairly subtle psycho, and extremely effective as an anti-hero. Especially in contemporary times, his situation--getting laid off after a company takeover--will find him many sympathizers, but it's also that he plays the role with such a mellow, likable, grandfatherly charm, and a self-righteousness rooted in his expertise and pride in a job well done. As others have noted, there are subtexts in the film of (homo)sexual predation, which give an added air of creepiness to Harris. His unwitting targets on that end, Tony Mantell (Gary Conway) and Larry Drake (Gary Clarke), are played with an appropriate wide-eyed and willing innocence.

If there's a flaw in How to Make a Monster it's that nothing about it--except maybe the very final scene--is particularly atmospheric or suspenseful, but oddly, it really doesn't matter, because it's a good story told well enough that it keeps you engaged for its length. I still haven't quite figured out why a few American International Pictures, including this one, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957) and War of the Colossal Beast (1958), have the final scenes in color (I know it was a gimmick, but I don't really get the attraction of it as a gimmick), but it doesn't disrupt the flow of the film and it's nice seeing the gallery of masks in color.

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