- Bride of the Monster
Bride of the Monster
Original theatrical poster
Directed by Ed Wood Produced by Donald E. McCoy
Written by Alex Gordon
Starring Tony McCoy
Music by Frank Worth Cinematography Ted Allan
William C. Thompson
Editing by Warren Adams Distributed by Banner Pictures Release date(s) May 11, 1956 Running time 68 minutes Country United States Language English
Dr. Eric Vornoff (Bela Lugosi), is experimenting with nuclear power with the help of his mute assistant, Lobo (Tor Johnson). His goal is to eventually create an army of superpowered soldiers that he will use to conquer the earth. Their residence, an old mansion, is guarded by a giant octopus of Dr. Vornoff's own creation which lives in the surrounding swamp. The Octopus (referred to as simply "the monster") has been responsible for the deaths of local townspeople. Newspaper reporter Janet Lawton (Loretta King Hadler, in a role originally intended for Dolores Fuller) investigates further, becoming a prisoner of Dr. Vornoff in the process. The police eventually follow, led by lieutenant Dick Craig (Tony McCoy, producer Donald E. McCoy's son), who is also Lawton's boyfriend. Meanwhile, an official from Dr. Vornoff's home country, Professor Strowksi (George Becwar), arrives and tries to persuade him to return to their homeland in hopes that his research will benefit their nation. However, Strowski is killed and Lobo unwittingly turns Dr. Vornoff into an atomic-powered superhuman being. A fire is soon started in the laboratory, killing Lobo. Police officials, the irradiated Dr. Vornoff, Dick Craig and Janet Lawton all escape, and Dr. Vornoff is eventually killed by the octopus as the mansion explodes, forming a mushroom cloud as the film ends.
Production and legacy
The first incarnation of the film was a 1953 script by Alex Gordon titled The Atomic Monster, but a lack of financing prevented any production. Later Ed Wood revived the project as The Monster of the Marshes. Actual shooting began in October 1954 at the Ted Allan Studios, but further money problems quickly halted the production. The required funds were supplied by a rancher named Donald McCoy, who became the film's producer. He also provided his son to star as the film's hero. Production resumed in 1955 at Centaur Studios and the film finally premiered at Hollywood's Paramount theater in May 1955, under the title Bride of the Atom.
This film is part of what Wood aficionados refer to as "The Kelton Trilogy", a trio of films featuring Paul Marco as "Officer Kelton", a whining, reluctant policeman. The other two films are Plan 9 from Outer Space and Night of the Ghouls. The character of Lobo also appeared again in Bride's sequel, Night of the Ghouls.
As mentioned in an episode of the 1986 syndicated series, the Canned Film Festival, Bride of the Monster was Bela Lugosi's last speaking role in a feature film. His last appearance in a film was Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space.
The television program Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured the film as one of two Ed Wood films featured.
In 2010, a retrospective on the movie entitled Citizen Wood: Making ‘The Bride,’ Unmaking the Legend was included in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume 19 DVD set. Horror host Mr. Lobo is among the interviewees of the 27 minute documentary.
Controversies among film critics
In the 1994 satirical biopic Ed Wood, it is alleged that Wood and the filmmakers stole the mechanical octopus (previously used in the film Wake of the Red Witch) from the Republic Studios backlot, while failing to steal the motor which enabled the prop to move realistically, although, by the director's admission, the film preferred narrative interest over historical accuracy. These events are also alleged in the 2004 documentary, The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made. However, other stories circulated insist Wood legitimately rented the octopus, along with some cars. To remedy the lack of movement from the octopus prop, whenever someone was killed by the monster in the film, they simply flailed around in the shallow water while holding the tentacles to imitate movement. The filming of these scenes, as well as the production of the film in general, were played to comic effect in Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton. Lugosi's monologue to Professor Strowski is featured twice in the movie.
The book The Golden Turkey Awards claims that Lugosi's character declares his manservant Lobo (Tor Johnson) "as harmless as kitchen" [sic]. This allegedly misspoken line is cited as evidence of either Lugosi's failing health/mental faculties, or as further evidence of Wood's incompetence as a director. However, a viewing of the film itself reveals that Lugosi said this line correctly, the exact words being, "Don't be afraid of Lobo; he's as gentle as a kitten."
Rudolph Grey's book Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr. contains anecdotes regarding the making of this film. Grey notes that participants in the original events sometimes contradict one another, but he relates each person's information for posterity. He also includes Ed Wood's claim that one of his films made a profit and surmises that it was most likely Bride of the Monster, but that Wood had oversold the film and could not reimburse the backers.
- The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1996), documentary film directed by Brett Thompson
- Rudolph Grey, Nightmare of Ecstacy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1992) ISBN 978-0922915248
- Sloan, Will (April 2005). "Can Your Heart Stand the Shocking Facts About Kelton the Cop A/K/A Paul Marco?". Filmfax (106): 88–89.
- ^ "Night of the Ghouls - Trivia". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0156843/trivia. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- ^ a b Grey, Rudolph (1992). Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr.. Los Angeles: Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-04-0.
- ^ a b c d Rhodes, Gary D. (1997). Lugosi: his life in films, on stage, and in the hearts of horror lovers. McFarland. ISBN 0786402571.
- ^ "Night of the Ghouls". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0156843/. Retrieved 2006-05-18.
- ^ "ASIN: B001BSBBKI". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001BSBBKI. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- ^ "ASIN: B001LNV63U". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001LNV63U/. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- ^ a b Brad Cook (12 November 2010). "Film Threat - Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume Xix (dvd)". Film Threat. http://www.filmthreat.com/reviews/27760/. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- ^ Medved, Harry; Michael Medved (1980). The Golden Turkey Awards: Nominees and Winners, the Worst Achievements in Hollywood History. New York: Putnam. pp. 178. ISBN 0-399-50463-X.
Edward D. Wood, Jr. Feature films
directedTrick Shooting with Kenne Duncan (1953) • Final Curtain (1957) • The Night the Banshee Cried (1957)
directedThe Sun Was Setting (1951) • Crossroad Avenger: The Adventures of the Tucson Kid (1953) • Boots (1953)
not directedThe Violent Years (1956) • The Unearthly (1957) • The Bride and the Beast (1958) • Anatomy of a Psycho (1961) • Shotgun Wedding (1963) • Orgy of the Dead (1965) • One Million AC/DC (1969) • The Love Feast (1969) • Venus Flytrap (1970) • The Undergraduate (1972) • Drop-Out Wife (1972) • Class Reunion (1972) • The Snow Bunnies (1972) • The Cocktail Hostesses (1973) • Five Loose Women (1974) • The Beach Bunnies (1976) • Hot Ice (1978)
filmsCrossroads of Laredo (filmed 1948/released 1995) • Hellborn (filmed mid-1950s; released 1993) • Take it Out in Trade: The Outtakes (filmed 1970; released 1995) • I Woke Up Early The Day I Died (written 1970s; released 1999)
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