At long last, September is here. Which means we are closer to Fall, which means we are closer to October, which means we are closer to Halloween. I’ve written on several occasions of how when this time of the year comes around I begin to dive into one of my most favorite movie worlds, Universal Monster movies. I love them all, from the big giants like “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” to some of the smaller tier, low-budget, B offering the studio made in the 1950s.
One of my most favorite Universal Monster movies and one that came right towards the end of the studio’s monster movie mainstay making days is 1958’s “Monster on The Campus” directed by Jack Arnold, who made a name for himself at the studio directing “Creature From The Black Lagoon.” “Monster On The Campus” has the most delightfully ridiculous plot—and I don’t mean that as a knock—I love the wild and creative extremes the writers of these “science run amok” films could come up with.
A paleontology professor gets a rare, prehistoric frozen fish in the mail. As the professor transports the fish to his lab, he accidentally grabs it by the mouth and cuts himself on the teeth. This causes the professor to start a transformation. The long and short being that coming in contact with the creature’s blood makes him go into reverse evolution and become a hulking monster beast thing. Like I said, It’s a delightfully wild plot that truly lives up to the name “Monster on the Campus.”
I don’t know how much of a cult following “Monster on the Campus” has, it’s a small one at the most—I think. The film has been in print for years, first on VHS, then in a DVD collection, Universal did of similar films from the 1950s. So you can imagine my huge surprise and delight when Scream Factory—the horror imprint of the great label Shout Factory—announced that this past summer they would issue “Monster On The Campus” on blu-ray, along with some other universal favorites like “Tarantula” and one of my favorites from 20th Century Fox—“The Alligator People.”
It’s so nice to see a movie like “Monster on The Campus” looking great in HD, they used a wonderful transfer and after years of only seeing the film in full-frame, it’s nice to see it framed in its widescreen, 1.85:1 aspect ration that many would have seen it in when they went to the theaters in 1958. It’s also nice that these Shout releases include a few commentary tracks from various film professors and historians to give more background on these films than I would have ever thought possible.
Now if some of the titles I’ve mentioned here have your curious, you gotta check them out, these movies are such a hoot and a delight. I love this stuff. “A black and white movie where a bride’s husband slowly transforms into an alligator?” Yes, please! Leo G. Carrol dealing with a huge spider in the desert? Bring it on! It’s the perfect way to segue into Fall, and the perfect way to get ready for Halloween. See you next week.