Death By Cinema – 5 – Bride of the Monster

“If I must just choose the method of my demise, I choose…


Death By Cinema!” -Britt Rhuart

Day 5 – Bride of the Monster

Hey, everyone, it’s my first Ed Wood review! I like Ed Wood. Really I do. There’s just something some magical about a person who has a genuine passion for film… and in Wood’s case, a total lack of talent. Now, most are familiar with the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton bio-pic. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite bio films, Depp films, and definitely my favorite Burton picture (though props to Beetlejuice and Batman). For those unfamiliar with Mr. Wood’s oeuvre, Ed Wood was voted, at one time, the worst film director… ever. And there’s something to be said for that. His films are terrible. But unlike an Uwe Boll (please don’t hit me), you get the feeling not only that Ed Wood genuinely love movies and the art of movie making, you get the sense that he and his cast had a fun time making them. This translates over to the films, which are usually pretty fun to watch, even if they are trash. Let’s put it this way… look at Plan 9 From Outer Space, a film that is often called the worst film of all-time. Now look at how many people enjoy it and still watch it to this day.

As for today’s film, Bride of the Monster, I really don’t have too much to say. In the world of Edward D. Wood, Jr., this film would probably be considered his second or third most noteworthy, after Plan 9 and maybe Glen or Glenda. This film features one of the last film performances of the great Bela Lugosi, whom my friend Salim has called, “The best actor who never had any talent!” I don’t know if I’d totally agree with that, but Lugosi was always a welcome sight in a movie for me. It also features the major screen debut of wrestler turned actor, Tor Johnson, who would go on to star in Plan 9 and The Beast of Yucca Flats. Anyway, hope this one’s a fun one!

Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:
How did this movie have two DPs? I’ll tell you, it better look wonderful in that ca- phewwhahaha, I couldn’t get through it with a straight face.

Well, the sound is pretty bad so far. I can only understand a few words the characters are saying, mostly because of the thunder sounds. Probably for the best.

I’m pretty sure that lab setup was taken from Glen or Glenda. And I like that the “stone walls” are clearly painted on. The octopus monster looks fun, though.

Speaking of, the octopus, just dragged a guy caught in the rain to his death. Though really, the actor just flops around in the loose arms of the octo-prop. I don’t think the timing works out, though. These guys left the house like 3 minutes ago, and yet they’re still caught by the octopus, even though it’s right next to Lugosi’s lab.

Guy’s strapped to a table. We know it’s an operating table because he’s wearing a helmet with two light bulbs glued to it.

Lugosi’s Dr. Vornoff says the guy he’s performing experiments on will either wind up super strong or dead. His tone indicates he doesn’t really care.

There are newspaper articles about “The Monster” killing two men. I guess Vornoff sucks at disposing of corpses.

Wow, this dialogue in the police scene is really badly written. Like, an episode of Dragnet bad. Exposition without conflict.

So I just realized, a lot of people seem to be handling the evidence found at the lake willy-nilly. I mean, the police chief, some detective, even a journalist. I’ve seen enough police procedurals to know about chain of evidence.

There’s one secretary character and 90% of her screen time is the back of her head. Great job, DPs.

I just saw a scene that was redone in Ed Wood, where Wood’s female lead meets Wood’s ex-girlfriend. The actresses reenacting the bad acting in Ed Wood act better than the real actresses acting the real scene in Bride of the Monster.

Oh, God, they’re talking about the Loch Ness Monster as if it was real. I like the story of lake cryptids, but rarely do they actually make for good films. Also, this guy is a lake monster “expert” and, I’m sorry, but there is only one lake monster expert and his name was Bernard Heuvelmans. (BTW cryptozoology nerds, I know there are way more experts, I just like Bernard Heuvelmans name and wanted to give you a reference)

Hey, Lobo (Tor Johnson’s character), seems to have an angora fetish. I wonder where Wood got that idea from?

Vornoff hypnotized the female reporter. I wonder where Wood got that idea from… wait, I already used that joke. Seriously though, I always liked seeing Lugosi do that bit.

Vornoff just whipped Lobo. While it is by no means convincing, it is still better looking than they made it look in the Tim Burton movie.

Ooh, now they’re implying that the Loch Ness Monster was created by Varnoff. Doesn’t really make sense, considering Vornoff created a giant octopus and the Loch Ness Monster, if it ever existed, was likely just a large sturgeon, or if you want to go with outlandish theory, a plesiosaur, neither of which look like an octopus. Man, I’m getting a lot of traction out of this cryptozoology angle.

Lugosi’s monologue is actually a really decent performance. You could tell he really wanted to give one more remarkable performance with this film. And you know, it’s at least very memorable.

Hey, a room hidden behind the fireplace! That’s a pretty regular film trope, but I don’t recall one where you have to climb into the fireplace to get through. Usually, it just swings to the side like a bookcase.

Strowski’s death by octopus is even worse than the others, as the tentacles he has to wrap around himself barely touch him.

The detective clearly has a six shot revolver, yet shot eight times. He was also stuck in quicksand, yet was dry when he pulled himself out. You know, it’s really weird most movies don’t know how quicksand works.

Wait, Vornoff hypnotized the girl to walk into the lab, which she was in a different room, behind a closed door, with no vocalizations, just hand movements? I think someone needs to explain how hypnosis works, as well.

One of the photos of Vornoff is Lugosi’s promo photo from Scared to Death. How do I know that?!?

Why did Vornoff wake up the reporter before performing experiments on her? He clearly had her under hypnosis, so what’s the upside there?

You know, here’s a question I have… where is the swamp in relation to Vornoff’s lab? In some shots, Vornoff opens the door and there’s a pit with the monster inside. In some shots, it looks like the lab is completely submerged. Just kinda makes no real sense.

Lobo’s angora fetish has caused him to turn on Vornoff, who then takes six bullets standing and attacks Vornoff. Jeez, I’ve heard of wrestlers no selling, but this is ridiculous.

Uh, oh, Lobo just strapped in the doctor’s next victim, Vornoff himself! I don’t know how a savant like Lobo knows how to run the machinery.

Huh, Vornoff’s experiment finally worked on himself. He is now super strong and proceeds to kick Lobo’s ass. Three things: 1. Why kill Lobo? He got your machine to work when you couldn’t. Have him run the machines for future experiments. 2. Why Vornoff pushes Lobo into a door frame, the whole wall shakes. Nice production values. 3. That is clearly another actor subbing in for Lugosi waring platform shoes.

RIP Lobo. You’ll be wrestling with the angels now.

Wow, Vornoff’s lab caught fir easily. Seriously, it only took Lobo falling into some machinery to set the whole works up. Seems like shoddy work all around from Doc Vornoff.

Jeez post-atomic superman has got a real Freddy Kruger look to his face here. He also seems immune to bullets, like Lobo was… Lobo, NOOOOO!

So, here’s a hell of an ending. Our hero, pushes a goddamn BOULDER at Vornoff, knocking him into the pit/swamp/whatever, to be eaten/drowned/killed/whatever/whocares by the giant octopus. And in the distance, Vornoff’s house explodes in an atomic blast! Again, where is the swamp in relation to Vornoff’s lab? Because, if they’re anywhere close, the heroes are dead from the blast. Even if they aren’t dead initially, cancer is easily in their future. Kinda a grim ending when you think about it.

Honestly, I don’t get why this film has earned the reputation it has from both sides as either a movie so bad it’s good, or one of the worst movies ever. The movie is certainly bad, but I wouldn’t call it one of the worst films ever. I’ve seen plenty worse in my time. Hell, I think Just For the Hell of It was worse, because at least Bride of the Monster had a plot. On the other hand, I wouldn’t call this film so bad it’s good either. I did not enjoy this film, but was I bored by it. I dunno, it’s definitely a bad film, and wasn’t much fun, but there are worse films out there.

Tomorrow, I’ll be looking at a movie for a trailer I love, The Fat Black Pussycat.


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