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The Monster Maker

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The Monster Maker (1944) starring J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, Wanda McKay
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The Monster Maker (1944) starring J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, Wanda McKay

The Monster Maker – a mad scientist, in love with a concert pianist’s daughter, blackmails him for her hand – and money – by injecting him with …

Product Description

J. Carrol Naish stars as the insane Doctor Igor Markoff, who injects famous concert pianist Lawrence (Ralph Morgan) with a serum that produces a disfiguring disease, grotesquely distorting bones and facial features. By promising him an antidote, Markoff blackmails Lawrence for the hand in marriage of his beautiful daughter (Wanda McKay). Naish and Morgan give flawless performances in this audacious and often grim PRC production. Also on hand is an enraged laboratory gorilla and Glenn Strange as Markoff’s henchman.


Actually, there are several interesting things about The Monster Maker. For one thing, the makeup used on the victim is disturbing. In a good way. It’s not gross for the sake of grossing out the audience, but it clearly shows the poor pianists condition, and pain. Acromegaly is a very real disease – though caused by a malfunctioning pituitary gland, not a virus. And unlike the happy ending of the film, in reality there’s no cure. Rondo Hatton suffered from it, as did the WWE wrestler Andre the Giant.

There’s an interesting backstory to Dr. Markoff, that I won’t spoil here. It’s very well done, in that it’s both surprising, and fits perfectly with the character.

Overall, the pace is a little slower than I’d like, but the interesting characters and story make up for it. I rate it 3.5 stars out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Cast of characters

  • J. Carrol Naish (House of Frankenstein, Batman 1943 serial) … Dr. Igor Markoff. The scientist, who’s fixated with Patricia. And willing to go to graat lengths to blackmail Patricia into marrying him.
  • Ralph Morgan (Night Monster, Weird Woman) … Anthony Lawrence. The world-famous concert pianist. Patricia’s loving father, who can only be pushed so far …
  • Tala Birell (The Frozen Ghost) … Maxine. Markoff’s lovesick assistant.
  • Wanda McKay (Bowery at Midnight) … Patricia Lawrence. Anthony’s daughter, pursued by Markoff, dating Bob
  • Terry Frost (Mysterious Island 1951) … Bob Blake. Patricia’s boyfriend, Anthony’s tour manager.
  • Glenn Strange (The Mad Monster, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein) … Giant
  • Alexander Pollard (Private Number) … Butler
  • Sam Flint (The Crimson Ghost) … Dr. Adams
  • Ace the Wonder Dog (The Rookie Cop) … Ace
  • Ray Corrigan (The Ape, It! The Terror from Beyond Space) … Gorilla (uncredited)


  • In this film J. Carrol Naish’s character Dr. Igor Markoff is compared to Dr. Frankenstein. He would later play Dr. Frankenstein in his very last film role, Dracula vs. Frankenstein.
  • Throughout the film, Dr. Igor Markoff and Steve make several references to Frankenstein. Later that same year, Glenn Strange (Steve) would go on to play Frankenstein’s Monster for the first time in House of Frankenstein.

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