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The Mad Monster

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George Zucco plays Dr. Lorenzo Cameron, the scientist who discovers a method to turn an ordinary human into a crazed werewolf in "The Mad Monster" (1942). The application of his discovery, he claims, could be to give Army troops wolf-like traits to help win World War II, but as the film goes on, his real aim is clear: he wants to crush the colleagues who belittled his project and tanked his career.

Of course, wolves have long captured the human imagination. Predatory animals, wolves typically hunt in packs and howl for group communication—traits of social animals most portrayals of werewolves lack. Instead, werewolf tales such as "The Mad Monster" tend to focus on the unpredictable, irrational violence of the monster. Yet lycanthropy, the ability to turn from human to wolf, has taken on a new character in pop culture with fantasies such as Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and the 2011 film "Red Riding Hood" depicting some werewolves as heroic love interests.

"The Mad Monster" was directed by Sam Newfield, whose career began during the silent film era and lasted through the late 1950s. Because Newfield used several monikers over his career, film archivists are still discovering and adding titles to his list of more than 300 credits.

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Eric A. RickartLearn more about wolves by listening to the podcast.


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