Where has this movie been all my life? Monster on the Campus is almost as good as other 1950's Sci-fi classics such as Them (1954) and Tarantula (1955). It simply suffers from a bad title that doesn't compel the viewer to watch it. Thankfully, I did!
Monster on the Campus was directed by Jack Arnold who was at the helm of such classics as Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), It Came From Outerspace (1953) and Tarantula (1955). Furthermore, writer David Duncan also did the screenplays for The Time Machine (1960) and Fantastic Voyage (1966). Ladies and gentleman, we are in very capable hands!
The basic story centers on a research professor who is infected by the blood of a prehistoric fish that was bombarded with gamma rays in order to preserve it. It's classic 1950's Sci-fi stuff and the science is as good as any other film of that era. Along the way we are treated to a rabid dog, a giant dragonfly and a professor who is transformed into the monster in question. The only weakness is that the makeup of the creature is just god-awful. It's a mask that they make no attempt to try and hide. If Jack Pierce had been the one doing the makeup, this movie would have been a classic!
Monster on the Campus also benefits from its two leads. Arthur Franz [Invaders From Mars, The Cain Mutiny] as Professor Donald Blake and Joanna Moore [Touch of Evil, Alfred Hitchcock Presents] as his gal pal Madeline Howard. They are simply perfect together and get every scene right. They are definitely the heart and soul of this movie.
The other star of the show is the magnificent orchestral soundtrack that was cobbled together with stock music from a number of composers including Henry Mancini. I am one of those people who simply loves to hear an orchestra accompany a film. It gives a richness to the movie that enhances the viewers experience of it.
So, forget about the lame title and WATCH THIS MOVIE! If you're a fan of 1950's Sci-fi you won't be disappointed.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.