This pathological thriller from American International Pictures deals with veteran studio make-up man Pete Dumond (Robert H Harris), the eccentric chief makeup artist at a Hollywood studio and the creator of many spine-chilling movie monsters.
Pete is working on a horror film featuring Larry Drake (Gary Clarke) and Tony Mantell (Gary Conway) as a teenage werewolf and a teenage Frankenstein when he is dismissed because the new studio management decides to switch to musicals.
He takes revenge by using a special foundation cream on Larry and Tony and hypnotising them into strangling the people who had fired him.
Pete then invites his jittery assistant Rivero (Paul Brinegar), Larry and Tony to a farewell party at his home, stabs Rivero and intends to add the boys’ beads to a collection in his trophy room.
There is a struggle, and a fire breaks out, the police arrive in time to rescue Larry and Tony. Needless to say, Pete perishes in the conflagration.
Robert H Harris earns some sympathy as Pete, sorely tried and the victim of ingratitude, Gary Conway and Gary Clarke are effectively dolled up as the teenage Frankenstein and werewolf, respectively, and Paul Brinegar registers as the frightened Rivero.
The film’s supporting types also impress. There is no love interest and little light relief, but the competent acting and direction and smooth dialogue strengthen its human angle without insulating essential shocks.
The final fire sequence – effective in colour (the rest of the film is in black & white) – offers the scriptwriters an easy and hair-raising way out.
It’s an unusual and gripping story with an outstanding performance by Robert H. Harris.
Robert H Harris
Tony Mantell (Teenage Frankenstein)
Larry Drake (Teenage Werewolf)
Jaclyn Hellman (as Jacqueline Ebeier)
Thomas Browne Henry
Herbert L Strock