Anyone who’s read half of my reviews knows how much of a dork I am over Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi. I already own this movie and I’ve seen it many times being able to quote most of Lugosi’s better lines. So would I bother to review this one? ‘Cause this time it’s in color!
I’ve been extremely anti-colorization ever since I first saw It’s a Wonderful Life in color. Truly, a horrible experience. But having now reviewed four colorized B-horror and sci-fi films from the ’40s and ’50s I’ve learned that sometimes colorization can be a good thing.
With the low budgets, bad dialogue, poor acting, obvious sets and everything else that’s wrong with these films, the color seems to elevate them a little bit on the production level, if only a little bit. It breathes a little more life into these films and does make them more enjoyable to watch. Ugh… I can’t believe I just typed that paragraph and meant it. Anyway, on to the movie itself.
While not his most famous, Bride of the Monster is easily Ed Wood’s best film. The story is actually pretty fun, the acting is way better here than of his other films and while the dialogue isn’t any better, there are some really memorable moments that Tim Burton reenacted wonderfully in his Ed Wood bio-pic.
Bela Lugosi plays Dr. Eric Vornoff. He is a mad scientist determined to create a race of supermen using atomic energy. He’s already succeeding in creating a giant Octopus. He’s been banished from his “homeland” and has now set up in this sleepy little California town ready to start again. Wrestler Tor Johnson plays his brutish assistant Lobo who, like the director, has an angora fetish. When news reporter Janet Lawton (Loretta King) goes snooping around after a couple of men disappear she is also captured. So her boyfriend, Lt. Dick Craig (Tony McCoy) goes searching for her along with his bumbling hapless sidekick, Officer Kelton (Paul Marco).
As if this wasn’t enough trouble for Vornoff, Prof. Vladimir Strowski (George Becwar) from his homeland comes to invite him home, which embarks Vornoff on a speech that is easily Wood’s best piece of writing:
Vornoff: My dear Professor Strowski, twenty years ago, I was banned from my homeland, parted from my wife and son, never to see them again. Why? Because I suggested to use the atom elements, for producing super beings, beings of unthinkable strength and size. I was classed as a madman, a charlatan, outlawed in a world of science, which previously honored me as a genius. Now here in this forsaken jungle Hell I have proven that I am all right. Prof. Strowski: Now I am here, sent to bring you home. Dr. Eric Vornoff: Home? I have no home. Hunted, despised, Living like an animal! The jungle is my home. But I will show the world that I can be its master! I will perfect my own race of people. A race of atomic supermen, which will conquer the world! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Lugosi’s delivery of this speech is probably the most passionate of his career. As ridiculous as the words are it really seems like he believes them.
And there’s a giant rubber octopus.
Like all b-horror movies this film is certainly so bad it’s good, or to some people it will probably just seem so bad. But if you love these kinds of films, it really doesn’t get much better than this.
The film is presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen and 2.0 Mono sound. The film is presented in its original black and white and a new colorized version. This is a pretty good transfer of this film, a little dirty but nothing problematic. Plus it’s a blast getting to see Bela battle that giant rubber octopus in color.
1950 Interview with Bela Lugosi (4 min.) The quality of this footage is terrible, but it’s amazing to see Lugosi the man and not Lugosi the actor. This is a really cool four minutes for Bela fans.
The Strongest Man In The World (3 min.) This is just strange. The DVD tells you nothing about what it is or where it came from but a little research told me that it is clip from the show Shirley Temple’s Storybook. Specifically an episode called “Pippi Longstocking” from 1961. Tor Johnson plays a phony strong man in a carnival sideshow and the plucky Pippi steps up to reveal him for the fake he is. Again, this is very, very strange.
Trailers You get colorized trailers for Plan 9 From Outer Space, Night Of The Living Dead, Reefer Madness, House On Haunted Hill and Carnival Of Souls.
This is the fourth Legend Films colorized film I’ve reviewed recently and it’s certainly the best. This movie has been available on DVD for a while, but this is the first time it’s available in color. If you already own it I don’t really see the need to upgrade, but if you’re thinking about buying, you might as well pick up this edition because it does include the original black and white version as well. Also, the older edition doesn’t have the two special features.
Legend Films presents Bride Of The Monster. Directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr. Starring Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Loretta King, Paul Marco and Dolores Fuller. Written by Edward D. Wood, Jr. and Alex Gordon. Running time: 68 minutes. Not Rated. Originally released in 1955. Released on DVD: October 21, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.
Mike Noyes received his Masters Degree in Film from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. A few of his short films can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/mikebnoyes. He recently published his first novel which you can buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Days-Years-Mike-Noyes-ebook/dp/B07D48NT6B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528774538&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+days+seven+years