"Big Dan" McCormick is the sole survivor of a bus crash into hydro lines. 5 others were electrocuted. Intrigued by Dan's apparent immunity to electricity, Dr. John Lawrence, distinguished elector-biologist, asks Dan to visit him at his laboratory, where Lawrence's assistant, Dr. Paul Rigas, is secretly conducting experiments to prove his theory that human life can be motivated and controlled by electricity. Rigas persuades Dan to submit to tests, where Dan absorbs increasingly powerful charges until he develops an amazing degree of immunity, and becomes a walking hulk of electricity. Rigas does a final test of pouring a tremendous charge into Dan's body, and Dan becomes superhuman and his body glows. He is also a robot that is controlled by Rigas. When Lawrence tries to stop the experiment, Rigas orders Dan to kill him. Rigas removes the electricity from Dan's body and he becomes a shrunken shell. Despite the efforts of June Meredith, Lawrence's niece, and newspaper reporter Mark ...Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Though he did not get screen credit, Hans J. Salter's music for this film, specifically the repetitive percussion and strings theme heard when Lon Chaney's character is roaming the countryside wreaking havoc, was recycled in several other low budget Universal horror films of the 1940s, among them sequels featuring Frankenstein's monster, the mummy and the wolfman. See more »
When Dan kills him, Rigas' face and exposed skin do not glow like all the other victims Dan electrocutes. See more »
Dr. Paul Rigas:
...eventually a race of superior men can be developed, men whose only wants are electricity.
Dr. John Lawrence:
But, man, you're challenging the forces of Creation!
Dr. Paul Rigas:
The forces of Creation? Bah! You know as well as I do that more than half the people of the world are doomed to a life of mediocrity - born to be nonentities, millstones around the neck of progress, men who have to be fed, watched, looked over, and taken care of by a superior intelligence. My theory is to make these people of more use to the world. By...
[...] See more »
1941's "Man Made Monster" is noteworthy for a number of reasons, chiefly that this was the Universal feature debut for Lon Chaney Jr. (previously used only in a couple of serials). Having scored an acting triumph just twelve months earlier in "Of Mice and Men," the Chaney name had become a bankable one for a studio hoping to replace the departed Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi never even considered. Intended to be a Karloff-Lugosi followup to "The Invisible Ray" (John P. Fulton's glowing effects retained from that film), Chaney plays the sympathetic role earmarked for Boris, but tailored more to Lon's strengths, while top billing was accorded to Lionel Atwill, essaying Lugosi's role, in what Forrest J. Ackerman astutely described as 'the maddest doctor of them all.' So frequently shunted aside in supporting parts thereafter, Atwill truly revels in some ace scenery chewing; in one scene, Lon asks about the now missing test rabbit: "oh, he worked yesterday!" It would be difficult to imagine Boris Karloff as an ordinary Joe performing electrical tricks for 'yokel shockers,' so completely does Chaney inhabit this good natured, unsuspecting dupe, Dan McCormick, having survived an accident that left all other passengers dead, now utilized as the perfect guinea pig for the power hungry experiments conducted by Atwill's Dr. Paul Rigas. This would be the last time Atwill enjoyed top billing in any Hollywood picture, and though he did future mad doctors in "The Mad Doctor of Market Street," "The Ghost of Frankenstein," and "Pardon My Sarong," he never again showed such a devious glint in his eyes. Perfectly cast are lovely Anne Nagel, female lead opposite Lugosi in "Black Friday," and dependable Samuel S. Hinds, always believable no matter what the dialogue. Still, after nearly a decade in Hollywood, mostly in bit parts, this must have been a revelation for Lon Chaney, who had done only "One Million B. C." and "North West Mounted Police" since his triumph as Lennie Small; apparently studios were still unsure of his overall talent. Luckily, Universal allowed him to broaden himself as their resident horror star during the prolific WW2 years, the busiest period of his career, and one where he made many lifelong friends. Included in Universal's popular SHOCK! package of classic horror films issued to television in the late 50s, "Man Made Monster" surprisingly appeared only four times on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater- July 29 1967 (preceded by 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein"), Mar 17 1973 (followed by 1962's "The Horrible Dr. Hichcock"), July 27 1974 (preceded by 1965's "Women of the Prehistoric Planet"), and Jan 21 1978 (following 1955's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers").
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