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May 30, 2013

Movie Review: Monster (One 7 Movies, 1953)

If you’re in the mood to expand your Mexican horror film viewing horizons look no further than Italian cult movie distributor One 7 Movies' latest, Monster. Mexico has brought us some cool horror flicks over the years with movies like The Brainiac, Curse of the Crying Woman and the awesome awfulness of Night of the Bloody Apes. Monster is an obscurity that has slipped through my paws over the years so it's nice to finally see it on any format.

Chano Ureta's Monster is essentially a different take on Frankenstein and Phantom of the Opera with a few tweaks here and there. We start off in what is essentially the Mexican answer to the Regal Beagle, where Nora, a young attractive reporter is meeting her boss to talk about the mysterious Dr. Ling. Nora really wants to interview Ling and find out just a little bit more about his "eccentricities". What she doesn't know of course is that he is a deformed/maniac/genius who's been hiding his hideous face over the years by using a scarf and various masks. The best way to describe Ling's features would be Rocky Dennis from Mask crossed with a mixture of character-actor Irwin Keyes.

Monster is certainly not the best film South of the Border from the 50's as it's actually quite slow. It does have a nice moodiness to it that doesn't seem to be accidental, however the moodiness, while effective enough, doesn't translate to scary. The unintentional laughs are here in spots as well - especially when the doctor uses his hypnotizing skills on unsuspecting victims.

The print used for this One 7 Movies' release is pretty beat up, with lots of dirt, splices and other various ware. It's still certainly watchable but don't expect a pristine print for this obscurity. Extras are sparse, but still welcome. There's a nice photo gallery with lobby cards and posters as well as a photo novel (in Italian) for your PC.

Overall, Monster won't blow you away with anything original but it's worth a look for Mexican horror enthusiasts.

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