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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Monster on the Campus (1958)



Time to dust off another old monster movie from the ‘50s. This time around we find out what happens if you use Gamma Rays to preserve a “throwback” fish that has remained the same since prehistoric times! What happens you are probably asking? Well that is an excellent question that must be answered.

Professor Blake is very excited to receive his living fossil, the previously mentioned fish. The first indication that something is up happens when a friendly German Shepard drinks some blood tainted water and goes berserk. They lock the dog up worried that it might have rabies. But the audience knows that something is afoot! Later Blake cuts himself on the fish and then slides his wounded hand into the tainted water. Sure, enough he blacks out and a murder is committed. Eventually he sorts out that the Gamma radiation that treated the fish before it was shipped preserved the blood so that it changes anyone or anything exposed to it into an ancient version of themselves. Sort of reverse Evolution. What happens when Blake concludes that he is the monster on campus? It doesn’t end well.

What can I say about Monster on the Campus other than it is harmless fun. The characters are pretty standard for this type of movie. Though our scientist, Blake, is maybe the worst that has ever appeared in a movie before. He isn’t a bad guy, just incompetent. I mean keeping a rabid dog in his laboratory? How about handling a specimen without gloves and after getting a cut not covering it up! Sheesh I’ve not seen a real lab since I dissected a frog in High School and even I know he was breaking some basic rules. The best part is when he thinks he might be turning into a throwback when he is exposed to the blood so his idea is to go into the woods and try it again. Did I mention there is a cabin right down the road and that everyone knows where he is? Got to love the logic in these old creature features.

This is an entertaining entry in the ‘50s radiation is bad genre. Here the gamma radiation preserves something that should have stayed in the ocean and unleashes all kinds of prehistoric mayhem. Not only do we get a caveman running around, but there is also the dog that mutates into a prehistoric wolf (they added longer fangs…) and a dragonfly that becomes enormous. This allows for a mix of typical effects work that appeared in many genre flicks of the decade. The rubber bug, a dog with plastic teeth glued on, and a guy in a monkey mask. Is it great? No but I loved the cheesy feel that movie has.

Monster on the Campus is silly but fun. If you like old “B” movies it will be an amusing way to kill a little over an hour. Personally, I enjoyed it and recommend the movie. But be warned I like crappy old movies so take this recommendation with a grain of salt.



© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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