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Universal Horror Collection Volume 3 Main

Universal Horror Collection: Volume 3 - Man Made Monster Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Universal Horror Collection Volume 3 Large

Directed by George Waggner
Written by George Waggner (as Joseph West) (story by Harry Essex, Sid Schwartz, Len Golos)
1941, 60 minutes, Not Rated

Lionel Atwill as Dr. Paul Rigas
Lon Chaney Jr. as Dan McCormick
Anne Nagel as June Lawrence
Frank Albertson as Mark Adams
Samuel S. Hinds as Dr. Lawrence

Universal Horror Collection Volume 3 09 Universal Horror Collection Volume 3 10


When a bus crashes into an electrical pylon, all aboard are killed except Dan McCormick, a man with a tolerance for high voltage. He grabs the attention of electro-biologist Dr. John Lawrence, who convinces Dan to let him run some follow-up tests for his research. Lawrence’s assistant Dr. Rigas is conducting secret experiments testing his theory that human life can be controlled by repeated exposure to large amounts of electricity. While Lawrence is away, Rigas maxes out his treatments, turning Dan into a glowing automaton. He commands Dan to do his bidding, which includes murder, but how long can Rigas play God before his creation turns into an out-of-control monster?

Two major influences on this picture are Frankenstein and The Invisible Ray (both starring Boris Karloff). What elevates the material in this production is the work of co-writer/director George Waggner (The Wolf Man) and his excellent cast led by Lionel Atwill (The Hound of the Baskervilles) and Lon Chaney Jr. (Of Mice and Men). Atwill is good as Dr. Rigas, keeping him grounded no matter how callous his behavior. Chaney shines in the role of Dan, who in the beginning is full of life, but is gradually drained of hope. Chaney fills the character with pathos and keeps audiences firmly on his side – even when he loses control.

Man Made Monster is a better-than-average B-movie pushing the potential dangers of science and the corruption of an innocent. Dr. Rigas is a madman who is more interested in proving himself right than in the moral obligations of his profession. Rigas is the most interesting character in the film, for he believes he is doing the right thing yet lacks perspective. There are better monsters in Universal’s catalogue, but it’s always nice to see Chaney out of make-up.

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