‘Horror to make you gasp!’
The Undying Monster is a 1942 horror and mystery film, also known as The Hammond Mystery, featuring a werewolf as the primary antagonist. The movie was directed by John Brahm and is based on the 1936 novel by Jessie Douglas Kerruish.
The Hammond family has been cursed since the Crusades, with family members dying or committing suicide under mysterious circumstances. When two people, including Oliver Hammond (John Howard) are attacked by an unknown creature, Robert Curtis (James Ellison) and his sidekick Christy (Heather Thatcher) are dispatched to investigate. Although the local townspeople are convinced that the attacks are the result of a curse upon the Hammond family, Curtis believes that he will be able to find a more scientific explanation for the attacks.
Curtis’ investigation at the Hammond household reveals a number of unusual circumstances, including slamming doors and clanking chains, a recently-entered secret room that had supposedly been locked for years, and a statue of a strange dog-like creature in the Hammond family crypt. During his investigation, one of the initial victims of the attack dies (after being in a coma) and the case is sent to an English jury for judgement. Upon hearing testimony from members of the Hammond family and their associates, the jury rules that the victim died at the hand of an unknown person or creature of unknown species…
“The Undying Monster was directed by John Brahm, who went on to helm two more unusual fright films for 20th Century Fox: The Lodger and Hangover Square. Those movies might be classed with RKO’s slightly later The Spiral Staircase, characterized as they are by a curious combination of Victorian/Edwardian settings and precocious 60’s-style psychological horror. This movie is, on the whole, more old-fashioned, though, with Brahm— a German immigrant, not surprisingly— serving up the purest jolt of Expressionist styling to be seen in Hollywood since probably The Cat and the Canary.” 1000 Misspent Hours
“The Undying Monster is a mere 63 minutes long, but far too much time is devoted to Curtis’ forensics rather than the more interesting legend of the Hammond family. Surely the intrigue of a family curse involving an ancestor selling his soul to the devil should take precedence over a detective comparing cloth samples.” Exclamation Mark