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How to Make a Monster

DVD cover for How to Make a Monster
Directed by George Huang
Produced by Lou Arkoff
Colleen Camp
Stan Winston
Written by George Huang
Starring Clea DuVall
Steven Culp
Tyler Mane
Jason Marsden
Karim Prince
Music by David Reynolds
Cinematography Steven Finestone
Editing by Daniel Cahn
Kristina Trirogoff
Distributed by Columbia TriStar
Release date(s) 14 October 2001
Running time 91 mins
Language English

How To Make A Monster is a 2001 film starring Clea DuVall, Steven Culp, Jason Marsden and Tyler Mane. It is the third release in the Creature Features series of film remakes by Stan Winston.

Tagline: "What started out as a simple game... Became a virtual nightmare."

The movie also has a cameo appearance by notorious scream queen Julie Strain as herself; video game posters, Evil Dead: Hail to the King and Baldur's Gate are among them; and a pinball machine from Tales from the Crypt. The title of the video game featured in this film is a portmanteau of evil and evolution.

Debuting on October 14, 2001 on Cinemax, it was nominated for a Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award for its special makeup effects in 2005.



The story opens with Clayton Software's latest video game, Evilution, in its testing stage. The main characters are introduced: 24-year-old intern Laura Wheeler (Clea DuVall) receives the worst results of the game's monster which forces the development team out. Businessman Peter Drummond (Steven Culp) hires three new programmers: Former wrestler and criminal Hardcore (Tyler Mane), Bug (Jason Marsden), and Sol (Karim Prince) make weapons, sound and music, and artificial intelligence for the game, respectively. Faye Clayton (Colleen Camp) informs the developers of prize money of $1 million awarded to the programmer who makes the game the "scariest."

Three weeks later, Laura returns to the building with her groceries, to witness the three programmers progressing well, although the competition fosters a sense of distrust and rivalry among them. Julie Strain arrives and the three men decide to hold a motion-capture session to create character animation. One stormy night, Bug, Hardcore, and Sol watch Julie performing her actions in a motion capture suit, her breasts fully exposed. A sudden lightning strike on the building, however, causes an electrical surge, forcing all the computers and electronic equipment offline, and all data to be lost. Peter goes out to restore the power, and the programmers try to get all of the computers back on and to examine what's wrong with the mainframe.

The three developers have a meeting with Drummond. Laura then joins in and decides that they go and play their own game. Sol and Hardcore hand the gamepads to Bug and Laura, they themselves taking the controls as well. Peter puts a backup CD into the external drive. Sol runs into problems with his controller and finds the controller's wires are cut. Bug fights with Sol, causing to lose all together. Laura surprises everyone by finishing the game's first level, making her way to the final boss in the game. Hardcore is at the second level when he loses, making Laura the longest to survive the game.

Peter invites the 24-year-old to dinner, and they discuss the gaming business. He tells her the key to success is to become a ruthless monster.

Meanwhile, back in the offices, Sol inserts his brand new AI chip into the mainframe. To his surprise, the game finishes itself. As he advances to the game's third level, the motion capture apparatus that is connected on the computer network comes alive. Sol, goes out, but the suit disappears. He returns and continue playing, knocking the in-game monster out, causing the motion capture suit to fall down. Not sensing anything, he continues to play until he falls victim to the suit when he falls down below his desk: As the player, he is dragged by a monster emerging from the waters. The suit's hand appears and grabs his hand reaching the desk, and the computer screen flashes "Lives Remaining 4".

The next day, Bug and Hardcore discover Sol's body, and the backup CD is gone. Bug suspects that Hardcore is responsible, but he prevents him from calling the police and instead encourages him to resume development of the game. Peter and Laura arrive to work alongside them, forcing the other two to distract them. Laura checks her e-mail account, only to discover threatening e-mails from her boyfriend Jeremy (Danny Masterson). Hardcore is trying to review the security cameras to try to see the murder of Sol through his PDA, but he touches the suit merged with Sol's dead body, instead of the phone. It tries to attack Hardcore, but he uses the axe to take it down. Laura calls (possibly wanting to reach her father or someone else) when she hears Hardcore being attacked. Bug comes in, and seeing Hardcore holding an axe verifying Bug's initial suspicions that he is Sol's killer. While he confronts Hardcore, the suit is gone, leaving Sol's body headless, and Laura and Peter still don't believe the story of the suit coming to life. Hardcore tells Drummond to leave quickly after Laura and Bug run away, and continues to hunt. He does not know that the suit is actually behind him. The three survivors soon find out that Hardcore was telling the truth when they witness his murder in horror. After Hardcore's death, the suit assimilates Hardcore's muscular body and takes all of Hardcore's weapons and decorative pieces, making it a more striking resemblance of the monster in the game.

Bug learns how it may have happened: The lightning strike may have caused the mainframe to go haywire, combined with the suit and Sol's powerful AI chip, the real world turns into a deadly game. Laura and Peter suggest the only way by pulling the plug on the computer, but Bug points out that without the backup disc, killing the suit would cause the game's source code to erase completely. She is then confused as the two guys think how to disable the system. But he chooses to listen to reason and figures on doing the right thing, with Bug following him, in hopes of trying to keep the information on the game intact.

Bug enters the mainframe room to investigate and figures out the correct set of wires to pull out. While providing backup, Peter is attacked by the monster at the doorway. With Bug's help, he is able to escape barely, but the security system malfunctions, sealing all of the shutters, windows, and doors, and leaving the three survivors stranded in darkness, building illuminated only by its low-power emergency lights. Jeremy approaches the Clayton building, and while Peter, Laura and Bug shout for help, he doesn't hear them and simply walks away. Laura manages to catch Jeremy's attention, and the boyfriend tries to abuse her with his own words. Drummond is united with her, injured on his right shoulder. She takes off her shirt, revealing a singlet underneath which heals Peter's wound quickly. Then, she and Peter find Bug through the building's map.

Bug finds himself dropped into the kitchen area from the shafts above, and while trying to get up is attacked by the monster. As Peter and Laura are crossing from above the ceiling, he accidentally exposes a gasline and his body is thrown across the kitchen. The monster approaches near Bug, but he raises his lighter and lights it up, taking both the monster and himself out. Peter and Laura escape the explosion travelling the shafts, and are thrown down. Laura and Peter go out to look for Bug, only to find his charred remains. Laura kisses the body before covering it in a blanket.

Peter is unable to open the door since the security system is powerless. While trying to take out the keypad, the actual monster comes back to life, but before it kills Drummond, Laura fights it through the virtual space with a gamepad, saving Peter from an untimely demise. Later, she tries to beat the game but becomes frustrated and hysterical. Peter slaps her in the face, but she slaps him back, and he wonders when she is going to learn, and suggests wearing a VR headset. She wears it nervously, and hears Peter's assurances that he will stay with her, and the controller tries to overcome the game. In the middle of playing, she finds that Peter is gone and the monster shows up, shredding her jacket with its sword. Laura escapes and arrives at the same hole left by an explosion in the kitchen, but she is thrown down by the monster. She gets up and finds a PDA to contact the outside world, only to see the video showing Peter stealing the game's backup CD, which would allow the programmers to reverse compile the game, effectively shutting the monster down.

As Peter tries to open the door, he is distracted by the same video of him taking the disc away, and Laura confronts him and forces him to drop the CD at gunpoint. He tells her that he has the same disc, and makes a speech about how everyone ultimately is a monster and the such. The 24-year-old initially lowers her gun down, but shoots Peter in the knee and walks off. As he raises the crossbow at her, she tricks him, and the real monster appears and kills him by grabbing his head up in the air as she walks away; the text "Lives remaining 1" flashes across the computer screen nearby. With four men dead, Laura is alone, becoming the only survivor, mirroring herself after the female player model in the game.

She puts on a VR headset and gloves, acquires a sword, and the final ferocious showdown ensues between Laura and the monster, simultaneously in the real and virtual worlds. During the fight, her voice is childish, but she manages to kick the monster three times before she is knocked down to the game testing room. There, she manages to lure the monster to a fish tank nearby and smash it open with her sword, causing the water to spill towards the suit. The monster has been electrocuted, and she stabs her sword on the monster's body, finally killing the suit, and causing the mainframe to go offline, and the game's source code gone forever.

Evilution, in reality, at last impresses the game testers, and Laura uses the game's success to be appointed as a ruthless and evil CEO of the company, which is renamed as Wheeler Software. At this time, she is changed, indeed becoming a monster, which makes the movie's title purposefully ambiguous.


Actor Character Description
Clea DuVall (as Clea Duvall) Laura Wheeler The main protagonist of this movie, she appears as a 24-year-old intern of Clayton Software, and the second shortest before Bug. After Bug's death, she is the only shortest. She survives the slaughter by the actual monster, and eventually develops sword-fighting skills to end this slaughter. She is also kind hearted and a push over. She is a teenage-looking girl, and is rumored to be an orphaned daughter, but she has an abusive boyfriend.
Steven Culp Peter S. Drummond The movie's main antagonist. He appears as a hardened businessman at Clayton Software, leading his band of developers as a project manager. He is first attacked by the monster while providing backup for Bug. After Bug's death, he is saved from an untimely death. Later, he is revealed to have stolen the copy of the evil monster for the game. He becomes the last victim of the real game monster.
Tyler Mane Hardcore The muscular developer who is responsible for designing the game's weapons for motion capture sessions. He is the tallest, and more physically imposing than the other characters. When he is attacked by the suit with Sol's dead body, he first takes it down, but meets his death at the hands of the monster as Peter, Laura and Bug run away. His body is incorporated into the motion capture suit to bear its similarity to the monster in the video game.
Jason Marsden Bug The developer who creates the sound and music for the game. He is the shortest of all characters. Falls in the kitchen while fighting the monster, but uses the broken gasline to heroically sacrifice himself to destroy the monster.
Karim Prince Sol The developer who programs the AI for the game. He is the first to be killed by the motion-capture suit which has been brought to life by the lightning strike. His body and head is incorporated into the suit, with the two silver stress balls grafted into his eye sockets.
Julie Strain Herself She arrives and wears a motion-capture suit in preparations for character animation.
James Sullivan Monster A monster that is brought to life from a motion capture suit as a result of the power overload caused by a lightning strike. Is killed by Laura Wheeler, not before it kills Sol, Hardcore, Bug, and Peter Drummond. Consists of Hardcore's body and Sol's head.
Te'ron A. O'Neal Kid #1 A member of the testing group.
Aaron Fors Kid #2 A member of the testing group.
Brittney Lee Harvey Kid #3 A member of the testing group.
Maysen Michaels Kid #4 A member of the testing group.
Eric Michael Zee (as Eric Zee) Programmer One of the programmers.
Hillary Tuck (as Hilary Tuck) New Intern A bright-eyed, idealistic intern who wants to be an entrepreneur.
Scott Wordham Laura's Assistant Laura Wheeler's assistant.
Jeff Edwards Puppeteer One of the puppeteers who handle animation in the game.
Shane Mahan Puppeteer One of the puppeteers who handle animation in the game.
Colleen Camp Faye Clayton The head of the computer software company Clayton Software.
Danny Masterson Jeremy

Differences from the original

  • The 1958 film version centers around a movie studio called American International Studios, whereas the 2001 version sets in a computer game company.
  • While the plot of the 1958 film revolves around a crazed makeup artist creating a monster, the 2001 version centers around three crazed developers giving the in-game monster deadly AI to bring it to life and kills them.
  • Larry Drake and Tony Mantell are protagonists in the 1958 version, the 2001 version's main protagonist is a smart, blond, meek, female intern Laura Wheeler, who is played by Clea DuVall.
  • Larry and Tony are the only survivors at the end of the 1958 movie version, whereas Laura is the final girl standing at the end of the 2001 version.
  • The monster is different from the 1958 version except that it is made from metal, and it is powered by electricity.
  • Peter Drummond shares its name of the 1958 version, with the first name derived from "Pete" and the last name coming from "Dumond".
  • Pete Drummond is killed at the end of the 1958 film version, whereas in the 2001 version, he was actually shot in his knees before being killed by the monster.

DVD Release

How to Make a Monster was released on DVD on June 11, 2002. It is presented in anamorphic widescreen, appearing sharp and detailed features. Its audio is presented in 5.1 surround sound in English and French. In addition, it contains subtitles, and extra features, including a "making-of" featurette, a few photo galleries with drawings, behind-the-scenes images and theatrical trailers for some other Columbia TriStar horror titles, a few short filmographies on the principle cast and crew, and some DVD-ROM content for a personal computer.

Further reading

  • Staiger, Michael. "Evilution - Die Bestie aus dem Cyberspace". In "film-dienst" (Germany), Vol. 55, Iss. 15, 16 July 2002, Pg. 32


External links



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