Monday, October 14, 2013


Scientists at the OSI (Office of Scientific Investigation) are getting some strange readings indicating abnormally strong magnetic fields. At a nearby hardware store, all the clocks are wrong and a lawn mower starts running on its own. Investigators Richard Carlson and King Donovan talk to a cabbie whose taxi has become magnetized after a man with a suitcase was in the car. They track down the man, an older scientist (Leonard Mudie), who accidentally created a new radioactive element in his lab that keeps doubling in size and power, becoming the monster of the title. People near the lab start dying and soon they deduce that if the "monster" keeps growing, it may throw the earth's orbit out of whack. Working with a computer called MANIAC (wordplay on the actually early computer ENIAC) and Canadian scientists, Carlson decides to try overfeeding the element to kill it. But then one of the scientists (Leo Britt) goes a little nuts and tries to sabotage the plan. This 75-minute movie is not exactly exciting, but if you expect a TV episode—and this does feel a lot like an Outer Limits show, except there is no real monster and the Outer Limits hook was that every episode had a monster—you may be satisfied. The acting isn't much to speak off, though Carlson is fine in the lead, and there's a blah subplot involving Carlson's pregnant wife (Jean Byron, who later played the mother of identical twins on The Patty Duke Show). The climax, which uses footage from an older German film, works well. [TCM]

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