Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monster on the Campus (1958)

I requested Tarantula, but what I got was a three disk set of five classic Universal sci-fi and horror. Clearly the dog of the bunch was Monster on the Campus.

Dashing professor Donald Blake (Arthur Franz) convinces the university to purchase a coelacanth, which he alternatingly pronounces Sea-locanth and Sil-ocanth. Unbeknown to our dear professor, this freak of evolution was preserved using gamma radiation! The same stuff David Banner would experiment with years later! When a frat dog drinks the blood of this fish (ew!) he reverts back to an earlier evolutionary stage. For a while. Then he's fine.

Our good doctor decides to carry the fish by putting his hand into it's mouth, thus cutting himself. Then when he tries to move the box filled with foul fish water (irradiated prehistoric fish blood water), he puts his injured hand RIGHT INTO THE SCUM! Good going, captain cross-contamination! Maybe wash the hand? No, you've go to go straight to a formal event. No time to shower.

When he starts feeling ill (I'm starting to feel ill myself), a hot assistant drives him home. Then a strange metamorphosis overtakes him! He becomes a violent idiot wearing a rubber mask! Well, he wakes up and the assistant is dead and he has no memory.

I could tell you about the second time he stupidly contaminates himself and causes another death, but we can take it as read, can't we? This is a Universal picture directed by Jack Arnold, so we might think it's a well made thriller. We would be wrong. It's title may lead us to believe it's chuck full of campy goodness, but no such luck. The only students that have speaking rolls are Troy Donahue as a vacant frat boy and his bland girlfriend. This movie is a stinker.

Testimony to this movie's staying power is that it took me twenty minutes into it to realize that I had seen it already only a couple years ago. It was on my public domain horror set. I remembered little except the Doctor Jekyll meets Professor Darwin subject matter.

Sub par acting for Universal, sub par script, stupid storyline, god-awful special effects. I've seen worse, but I expected so much more. AMRU 2.5.

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