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Film / The Monster Maker

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The Monster Maker is a 1944 science-fiction horror film starring J. Carrol Naish and Ralph Morgan.

Dr. Markoff (J. Carrol Naish) has concocted a formula that spreads a hideous disease named acromegaly - which extends bones and distorts facial features. Markoff has no moral dilemma in experimenting on unsuspecting human subjects. His amoral behavior assumes monstrous dimensions when famed concert pianist Lawrence (Ralph Morgan) is injected with the doctor's disease-inducing serum. In return for an antidote, Markoff intends to exact more than his pound of flesh by extorting a fortune from Lawrence and demanding the hand of the musician's pretty daughter Patricia (Wanda McKay).

The Monster Maker contains examples of:

  • Accidental Public Confession: Maxine learns about Dr. Markoff's true scheme when she overhears a confrontation between Markham and Lawrence because Markoff has left his office intercom on.
  • Animal Assassin: Markhoff attempts to dispose of his assistant through use of a Killer Gorilla (which seems an odd choice for a Mad Doctor with a cabinet full of deadly diseases at his disposal).
  • Battle Butler: Steve, Dr, Markoff's hulking orderly, fills this role for Dr. Markoff; doing all of the physical dirty work that needs to be done.
  • Body Horror: The acromegaly twists and distorts Lawrence body, transforming into a grotesque monster and stripping him of his musical talent.
  • Book Ends: Begins and ends with Anthony Lawrence giving a piano recital in a concert hall.
  • Breaking the Bonds: At the height of his rage, Lawrence escapes the bed he has been strapped to by ripping his restraints out where they are attached to the floor.
  • Cure for Cancer: Dr. Markoff has developed both a means of infecting people with acromegaly (a condition usually caused by a defective pituitary gland and having no known cure) and a cure for it. He plans to use the serums in a Poison and Cure Gambit.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Dr. Markoff is really an imposter, with the real Dr. Markoff having died in Europe and the current Dr. Markoff having stolen his identity to escape to America.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Ace seems to know that Dr. Markhoff is up to no good when he enters the lab to release the Killer Gorilla to murder Maxine, and starts growling at him as soon as he approaches the cage. Markoff eventually banishes him from the room.
  • Facial Horror: Lawrence's face becomes hideously distorted by the acromegaly Dr Markoff infects him with. Acromegaly causes distortion of the extremities (hands, feet and face), and the version created by Markoff causes to Lawrence to advance in a week to a state that would normally take two years of the disease's progression. Glimpsing her father's face in a darkened room causes Patricia to scream and faint.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: Even given he is working with bacteria and viruses, Dr. Markoff has a massive amount of glassware in his lab, much of it with Bunsen burners burning under it. One of Maxine's major tasks seems to be monitoring the burners.
  • Gun Struggle: Ends with Dr. Markoff and the now hideously disfigured Lawrence wrestling for possession of Markoff's pistol. The scene then cuts to outside the room, where Bob, Patricia and Maxine hear a shot. It is Markoff who dies.
  • Heroic Dog: Ace (the Wonder Dog) comes to Maxine's rescue when she is attacked by a Killer Gorilla: apparently driving it back into its cage on his own.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Dr. Markoff has some kind of mesmeric ability. He is able to influence Patricia just by staring into her eyes for a short time, and later persuades Maxine that she is tired and wants to go to bed by staring into her eyes and talking to her.
  • Identical Stranger: Dr. Markoff's obsession with Patricia stems from the fact that she is a dead ringer for his late wife (seen only on photograph, where it is the same actress with a different hairstyle).
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Maxine has stayed with and assisted Dr. Markoff for years—even helping him adopt his new identity and flee Europe—because she is hopelessly in love in with him, and hopes that one day he will return her affection. However, he is still in love with his late wife, and then becomes obsessed with Patricia, who is a dead ringer for her. When she finally snaps on learning the full depths of his depravity, Markoff decides that she has to die because She Knows Too Much.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Dr. Markoff is trying to call his assistant Maxine on the intercom when Lawrence bursts into the office. Markoff forgets to switch off the intercom, and Maxine hears the entire angry confrontation between the two which spells out all of Markoff's evil scheme.
  • Killer Gorilla: Dr. Markoff keeps a murderous gorilla in a cage in his lab. He eventually uses it in an attempt to dispose of his lab assistant Maxine.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Igor Markoff is a specialist in glandular conditions. He has developed both a means of infecting people with acromegaly (a condition that is normally caused by a pituitary disorder), and a means of curing it. He plans to become rich by infecting people and then charging what he wishes for the cure. His first target is a concert pianist, with the aim of forcing the man's daughter to marry him).
  • Orderlies are Creeps: Steve has no issue obeying every morally dubious order Dr. Markoff gives him, and seems to take perverse delight in being ordered to tie up Maxine.
  • Plaguemaster: Dr. Markoff has developed both a means of infecting people with acromegaly (a condition usually caused by a defective pituitary gland and having no known cure) and a cure for it. He plans to use the serums in a Poison and Cure Gambit.
  • Poison and Cure Gambit: Dr. Markoff infects Lawrence with acromegaly and refuses to supply the cure unless Lawrence's daughter Patricia agrees to marry him.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Dr. Markoff infects Patricia's father with acromegaly and refuses to cure him unless Patricia agrees to marry him.
  • She Knows Too Much: Dr. Markoff decides that Maxine has to die after she accidentally learns the true nature of his evil scheme, as she is now the only one to know both his plan and his true identity.
  • Tap on the Head: Markoff knocks out Lawrence with one blow from a candlestick. Later Bob drops the hulking Steve with a single whack with a floor ashtray.