The Undying Monster

The Undying Monster, also known as The Hammond Mystery, is a 1942 horror/mystery film directed by directed by John Brahm and starring James Ellison, Heather Angel, and John Howard. The film, which features a werewolf as the primary antagonist, is based on the 1922 novel by Jessie Douglas Kerruish.[1][2]

The Undying Monster
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Brahm
Produced byBryan Foy
Written byLillie Hayward
Michel Jacoby
StarringJames Ellison
Heather Angel
John Howard
Music byDavid Raksin
CinematographyLucien Ballard
Edited byHarry Reynolds
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 27, 1942 (1942-11-27)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited States

Plot summary

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, a Scotland Yard scientist, 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 the Hammond family curse, Curtis seeks a more scientific explanation.

Curtis' investigation at the Hammond household reveals a number of unusual circumstances, including slamming doors and clanking chains, a recently entered secret room supposedly 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.

After the ruling, Curtis looks for evidence upon the victim's body. He finds a hair that he later identifies as a wolf's, but the hair disappears mysteriously soon after he analyzes it. The monster attacks again, this time kidnapping Helga Hammond (Heather Angel), but Curtis and the police chase him down. When shot, the monster transforms into a human being, and we discover that it is actually Oliver Hammond. Afterwards, Dr. Jeff Colbert (Bramwell Fletcher), a friend of the Hammonds, reveals that they have been afflicted with lycanthropy for generations — that is, they are werewolves — and he had been attempting to cure them of the disease.



Film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film two and a half out of four stars, commending the film's atmospheric photography while also stating that it added nothing new to the genre.[3]


  1. Meehan, 2010, p. 97
  2. The Undying Monster profile,; accessed 27 June 2015.
  3. Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 714. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.


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