Thursday, October 05, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 5 Movie

One of the most overlooked of the Universal Horrors, and one of the most fun, is "Monster On the Campus" (1958). Directed by Jack Arnold ("The Creature from the Black Lagoon," "Tarantula," "The Incredible Shrinking Man") it stars Arthur Franz as Professor Donald Blake (not to be confused with the man who transformed into Thor in the comic books published by Marvel) a paleontologist who obtains a dead coelocanth for his university. Apparently these strange looking prehistoric fish weren't strange looking enough as the one in the movie was given spikes on its head, and weird eyes. As the fish is being moved from a van, Troy Donahue's German shepherd drinks some of the blood tainted water from the fish's thawing crate. The dog quickly turns savage and develops long canines before later reverting to normal. The coelocanth's blood also transforms an ordinary dragonfly into a two foot long menace, and an unknowing Professor Blake devolves into a primitive throwback, who goes on a small murder spree. The special effects in this movie are superior for their time, though the final prehistoric makeup is rather unconvincing.

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