MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS (1958) Reviews and overview

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‘Co-ed beauty captive of man-monster!’
Monster on the Campus is a 1958 American science-fiction horror feature film directed by Jack Arnold (The Incredible Shrinking Man; Tarantula, Creature from the Black Lagoon) from a screenplay written by David Duncan (The Black Scorpion; The Leech Woman; The Time Machine).

The Universal-International Pictures production stars Arthur Franz, Joanna Moore, Judson Pratt, Nancy Walters and Troy Donahue.


Monster on the Campus will be released on Blu-ray on June 25, 2019, by Scream Factory. Buy via

New Audio Commentary By Author Dana M. Reemes (Directed By Jack Arnold)
New Audio Commentary By Professor Of Film Studies/Author Mark Jancovich (Rational Fears: American Horror In The 1950s)
Theatrical Trailer
Still Gallery

Professor Donald Blake (Arthur Franz) acquires a newly-discovered coelacanth, a fossilised fish. He begins to examine the find and is exposed to its irradiated blood. This turns him into a murderous Neanderthal monster that terrorizes the campus.

” …it’s not as atmospheric — except in a few stylistically claustrophobic scenes — or persuasive as Arnold’s best work, and even lacks the underlying sincerity that helped drive works such as The Space Children. It’s a fun thrill ride within its modest budgetary and production dimensions, but not much more.” Bruce Eder, All Movie

“I’ve always found the reveal of the dead Molly Riordan to be one of the most disturbing images in American horror movie history. Hanging by her hair, her dead eyes staring straight out in an expressionless of terror (as might be expected) than of a complete and utter failure of comprehension, Molly looks like the subject of Weegee photograph.” Arbogast on Film

“Yeah, it’s a little silly, the monster makeup leaves a lot to be desired, and Dr Blake is incredibly slow to figure out the obvious. But it’s a fun film with a game cast, some nice character interplay and brevity that helps it slide past some nagging questions.” Eccentric Cinema

“This is probably the weakest of the several science fiction movies directed by Jack Arnold during the fifties. In some ways, it works well enough; however, it gets fairly silly at times. It’s basically a Jekyll-and-Hyde variation…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” …this sci-fi twist on the Jekyll/Hyde-lycanthropy tale turns out to be much more entertaining than it has any right to be. The biggest hindrances here are the rushed, attempt-at-pathos ending and Joanna Moore’s one-note performance as Franz’s girlfriend – until she starts getting carried off by prehistoric paramours, that is.” Horror 101 with Doctor AC


“What does seem particularly funny is the bizarre lengths the script has to go to to keep getting Arthur Franz’s scientist reinfected all over again while still unaware of what is happening – him cutting his hand on a dog’s tooth, while the scene smoking dragonfly blood dripped into a pipe bowl should have made Monster on the Campus into a cult classic for the ‘head’ set ten years later.” Moria

“It’s not quite the embarrassment he [Jack Arnold] thought it was, because there is some cheesy amusement to be gained, but Monster on the Campus is unavoidably silly stuff and for your basic Jekyll and Hyde tale there were better renderings around.” The Spinning Image


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Cast and characters:

  • Arthur Franz … Prof. Donald Blake
  • Joanna Moore … Madeline Howard
  • Judson Pratt … Lt. Mike Stevens
  • Nancy Walters … Sylvia Lockwood
  • Troy Donahue … Jimmy Flanders
  • Phil Harvey … Sgt. Powell
  • Helen Westcott … Nurse Molly Riordan
  • Alexander Lockwood … Prof. Gilbert Howard
  • Whit Bissell … Dr Oliver Cole
  • Ross Elliott … Sgt. Eddie Daniels
  • Anne Anderson … Student (uncredited)
  • Louis Cavalier … Student (uncredited)
  • Richard H. Cutting … Tom Edwards – Forest Ranger (uncredited)
  • Eddie Parker … Donald as a Monster (uncredited)
  • Hank Patterson … Townsend – Night Watchman (uncredited)
  • Ronnie Rondell Jr. … Student (uncredited)

Technical details:

77 minutes
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Mono (Westrex Recording System)

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