Unearthly, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1957; vt House of Monsters). AB-PT Pictures Corporation/Republic Pictures. Produced and directed by Brooke L Peters (credited as Boris Petroff). Written by John D F Black (credited as Geoffrey Dennis), and Jane Mann from an original story by Jane Mann.John Carradine, Myron Healy, Allison Hayes, Tor Johnson. 73 minutes. Black and white.

Mad Scientist Dr Charles Conway (Carradine) oversees a psychiatric clinic in a rural area where he secretly conducts experiments aimed at granting eternal youth to his patients, people with no living relatives or known friends. He hopes to create a new gland which will result in the hoped-for Immortality, but his efforts so far have resulted in a number of mindless, deformed Mutants kept locked in the cellars near his laboratory. Escaped criminal Mark Houston (Healy) arrives; Conway allows him to stay as a new guinea pig. Houston is actually an undercover policeman who signals for help as the test subjects revolt, killing Conway; Houston rescues the lovely patient Grace Thomas (Hayes). The authorities are left with the possibility that Conway may actually have succeeded in making some of the mutants immortal, and ponder their fate as the film concludes. Tor Johnson appears as Conway's assistant Lobo, a character carried over from his part in Ed Wood Jr's Bride of the Monster (1955) and reprised in Wood's Night of the Ghouls (1959).

This Horror in SF film was the first screenwriting credit for John D F Black, who went on to write for various tv series including Star Trek (1966-1969) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994). He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film Shaft (1971) with Ernst Tidyman, from Tidyman's novel of the same name. Tor Johnson's character Lobo was a popular Halloween mask for some years in the US. [GFi]

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