Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Bride of the Monster (1955)
When everything else fails I just watch a movie by Ed Wood and everything is fine again. Bride of the Monster is actually one of the few financial successes in Wood's filmography, at least when it was released. Not a surprise actually, because it's one of his most even and "normal" films, even if that in the eternal Edwoodian language means it's completely nuts at times. But like all good movies it's just over an hour long - which is good, I'm tired of overlong shitfests - and keeps the pace quite good.
Dr Vornoff (Bela Lugosi) has one dream in life: to create, with the help of nuclear power, super humans who can - I guess - take over the world or something. To his help he has Lobo (Tor Johnson). When yet another man disappears in the swamp, a brave journalist, Janet Lawton (Loretta King) takes it upon herself to solve the mystery... and of course she's caught by Lobo and soon realizes she's the next in line for his horrible experiments!
Wood always had a good eye for striking visuals, and even if this movie is so cheap it's hard to build a good atmosphere there's some wonderful shots - for example when Prof. Vladimir Strowski (George Becwar) is laying in the arms of the giant octopus, a gorgeous shot that somehow reminded me of what Luigi Cozzi did later at the end of Contamination. Several of Wood's trademarks is here, including not-so-fitting stock footage and corny cops trying to solve the mystery, but the real interesting story is in the mansion, the characters of Dr Vornoff and Lobo.
It's a touching little story, a story about two lonely characters trying to survive in their own ways. The good doctor by trying to creating super soldiers, something that he obviously never succeeded in doing earlier and his brute butler, Lobo (an interesting performance by Tor Johnson), a severely retarded fatso who obviously is kinda nice in real life (he just do what his master says)- and with a nice healthy fetish for angora! The lack of characterization of the rest of the cast just enhances the wonderful madness of our baddies and they end up being the only interesting folks in the whole movie. I rooted for them, because who cares about a rude female journalist and stupid cops? Not me.
The special effects is something special here and even if it's not as packed with wacky effects like Plan 9 it still has the infamous (stolen) octopus without a motor, a monster poor Bela battles in the end - while its completely unmovable! Some says it's a stuntman doing the battle, but no... I think it looks like Bela and it's really not a battle either. He just lays there trying to get the arms of the octopus to move! The prop itself is nice, it just very... dead.
Bride of the Monster might not be the best Ed Wood-movie to start with - it's too normal and too mainstream, but it give it a try after Plan 9 and Glenda and you'll have a lot more fun and admiration for the unique creative craft of Edward D. Wood Jr.