The Undying Monster (1942)


*. I would say that director John Brahm is “best known” for a series of atmospheric horror films he made in the 1940s, but I think it’s perhaps more accurate to say that these are the only movies he is known for today. The Undying Monster was the first, and it was very much a “show me” project, given a worthless script and no budget. Despite the material, he did make something decent out of it, which led in turn to The Lodger.
*. There’s actually a lot to like about the direction. Brahm was inventive and creative with the camera, and not afraid to take risks. Shooting through the fireplace wasn’t a great idea, but look at how the camera moves when Helga rushes out of the house in the opening scene. That’s the sort of thing you don’t expect to see in a production like this.
*. As in his other horror films there is a good use of extreme camera angles and lighting. And especially noteworthy here is his arrangement of two or more faces in a frame. He really has a knack for this manner of composition, and goes back to it again and again without it ever becoming annoying.


*.Of course the plot is total Scooby-Doo (complete with an absolutely magnificent Great Dane). But the scientist-sleuth Curtis is the embodiment of genial competence, his partnering with the more supernaturally-attuned Christy works nicely, and the moment in the lab where the werewolf hairs disappear is surprisingly effective.
*. No, I don’t think the explanation at the end makes a lot of sense. They seem to have been in an awful rush to wrap things up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.