BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955)

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Bride of the Monster Cover If you've ever watched Tim Burton's 1994 bio-pic, 'Ed Wood', then you must remember that scene where Bela Lugosi had a hissy fit whilst fighting a rubber octopus. Well, dear reader, if you want to know what the fuss was all about, please check out the following 69 minute movie made in 1955. It was Directed by: Ed Wood; and Starred: Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Tony McCoy, with Loretta King.


Bride of the Monster


THE STORY:
Come, Lobo (Tor Johnson). Come over here to your master: Doctor Eric Vornoff (Bela Lugosi). For I have something I want you to do for me.

Now do you see that man loitering over by the swamp? No. Not the one being eaten by a giant octopus. The other one! The man not being eaten by a giant octopus! Well, what I want you to do; is to go over there and bring him back to me so I can experiment on him in my lab. And then, once you've done that, I want you to wait for a whole day -- or alternatively, ten minutes in screen-time -- and do exactly the same thing when Janet Lawton (Loretta King) starts to investigate what we're up to.

Yes, Lobo. That's a good, Lobo. Do as I say. But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all gets rather physical when Lieutenant Dick Craig (Tony McCoy) saunters onto the scene. As Professor Strowski (George Becwar) suddenly shows his face - most of this movie is a bloody disgrace - Lobo finally takes matters into his own hands - and at the end of the day, a master won't be winning any prizes at Cannes.




THE REVIEW:
Now there are many phrases I could use to actually define, 'Bride of the Monster'. One of them would be, 'inadvertently humorous'. Where as another's, 'genetically formulaic'. But to be completely honest with you, folks, I found the most appropriate phase to be, 'saved by Bela and Tor'.

Bride of the Monster Vintage Movie Poster
Yeah. I'm not kidding you, pal. Even though the majority of this flick was fairly low grade and silly to watch, whenever Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson were on screen, together, somehow they both managed to save this piece from absolute abysmal failure.

Well, in my opinion its 'saving grace' were three specific aspects in particular. The first one was in that very personable and charming scene where Bela's character basically explained the plot. And in so doing, he gave one hell of a bold and engrossing performance that I thought was out of this blooming world. Personally speaking, I think this may have something to do with him emotionally connecting with the sub-text, as well as the manner in which he delivered his lines.

Also, to carry on from this point, the second aspect I really liked -- which may sound somewhat silly, I know -- was how Bela contorted his outstretched hand, as though he was somehow transforming his mitt into a talon or a claw. Go on. Look at the picture provided to see what I mean.

Finally, the last thing I loved about this movie was the congenial dynamic between -- surprise-surprise -- Bela and Tor. Despite it appearing rather one dimensional on the surface, trust me folks, if there is one thing you will take away from this flick, it would be Bela's token phrase directed towards Tor, 'Come, Lobo'.


Bride of the Monster - Bela Lugosi's Hands


Now on the flip side of things I best mention that I wasn't a big fan of how this story was edited together. I mean, whenever you saw an 'insert shot' or a 'close up' of a... coff-coff... 'special effect', straight away you could tell these 'inclusions' were obviously stock footage taken from another low grade production. And to make this whole experience even more dire, the rest of the cast were as wooden as a my pine furniture, plus the actual tale in itself -- for the use of a better word -- was a fairly basic 'mad scientist' type scenario we've all seen since time began.

Loretta King
Anyway. I'm sure you've got the basic gist of what I thought about this movie, dear reader. So I tell you what. Let us all sit back, relax, and check out the following filmic facts. (1) 'Rolling M. Productions' first released this flick in Hollywood, California; on the exact same day Israeli forces attacked the Gaza Strip. It was on the 11th of May, 1955. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Revenge of the Strangler' in West Germany; 'The Monsters Bride' in Finland; and 'The Mistress of Dracula' in Greece. (3) Although the majority of this movie was shot at 'Ted Allen Studios', based in Hollywood, the rest of it was shot on location at Griffith Park, Crystal Springs, plus throughout the Californian state of Los Angeles. (4) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'The Screen's Master of the WEIRD in his NEWEST and MOST DARING SHOCKER!'. (5) This was the last time Bela Lugosi spoke in a full length feature film. (6) According to legend the 'prop octopus' featured in this thriller was stolen from 'Republic Studios' and built for the John Wayne 1948 adventure, 'Wake of the Red Witch'. (7) Throughout pre-production this movie was given such alternate titles as 'Bride of the Atom', 'Monster of the Marshes', and 'The Atomic Monster'. (8) To help raise some money to make this project, its director, Ed Wood, had to hire two actors who would inadvertently aide in its backing -- Tony McCoy and Loretta King.


Bride of the Monster Starring Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson


Overall I'd say 'Bride of The Monster' was a fairly middle of the road b-movie for die hard fans only. So if you're in the mood for a quick Bela or Tor fix, here, try this one on for size. Trust me. It won't hurt. Much.

Nuff said.

THE RATING: B-