Lon Chaney in "The Monster" (1925)

The Monster isn’t your typical lunatics-take-over-the-asylum movie, for the story contorts as dramatically as Lon Chaney Sr.’s incredible, unmistakable face. Directed by Roland West (the filmmaker behind the spooky talkies Alibi and The Bat Whispers), the film’s weirdness reaches epic heights long before two main characters are strapped to a transducer to have their souls switch bodies. Leading the chaotic charge is Chaney as a former-surgeon-turned-mental patient who, along with three fellow inmates, has imprisoned the head of Dr. Edward’s Sanitarium in the building’s dungeon. When a small-town dream girl is lured as a subject for Chaney’s grotesque experiments, two of her goofy paramours bumble to her rescue — and discover the madman’s horrific plans to unlock the secret to eternal life. The Monster is masterful in its balance of spookiness and comic relief — the dynamics between its affable heroes and freakish villains are played up for maximum effect — but it’s Chaney’s unhinged, larger-than-life performance that makes The Monster affecting and unforgettable. The feature film is preceded by the eerie 1917 silent short The Devil’s Assistant!
The Monster Dir. Roland West, 1925, 80 min.
The Devil’s Assistant Dir. Harry Pollard, 1917.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “The Monster”!