Wednesday, December 14, 2011
How to Make a Monster: AIP's Gay Teenage Terror
1958's "How to Make a Monster" followed up "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" and "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein", but introduced a self-referential format that was decades ahead of Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven. The script of "How to Make a Monster" actually takes place in the studios of American International, where a sequel is in production that pairs the Teenage Werewolf with the Teenage Frankenstein. Spoiling the fun is a pair of new studio bosses who make the decision to abandon horror and concentrate on beach party movies and musicals. They give a bunch of people the pink slip, including an aging monster-makeup artist who decides not to take it lying down. Together with his simple minded (and obviously bottom-bunk) assistant, he uses the hunky teenage stars of the Werewolf/Frankenstein movie as his stooges in a series of revenge murders. First he lures the boys into his makeup chair, where he applies special makeup that makes them open to hypnotic suggestion. Then he instructs them to kill his enemies. This makeup concoction is particularly mysterious, since it apparently causes a transformation all on its own, even without the hypnosis: the makeup man puts it on himself and transforms into a Mr. Hyde type monster that kills a nosy security guard. The climax of the film finds him luring the boys back to his house, where he gives them alcohol and attempts to talk them into allowing him to..."put the makeup on" (wink wink)...one more time. The boys, however, start to remember the strange circumstances of their hypnotic trances, and the jig is up when the house catches fire.