Sunday, October 17, 2021

31 Days of Scary Movies: “Mad Monster Party?” (1967)

 After a weekend of Michael Meyers terrorizing teenagers and trick or treaters, and the ghostly manor of “The Others,” I decided last night to watch something different: 1967’s “Mad Monster Party?” This stop-motion animated musical film-length special was created by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., the duo behind 1964’s “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and countless other stop motion animated Christmas specials.

Yes I had never seen, or really even known, about “Mad Monster Party?” until a few years ago, and last night was only my second time viewing this film. This movie is bonkers and charmingly spooky. The plot, which is equally crazy, involves Dr. Frankenstein, voiced by none other than Boris Karloff (who even sings!), who makes one last invention before he wants to retire, and calls all the monsters together on the tropical island he now apparently has to show them. Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride (the Bride voiced by and modeled physically on Phyillis Diller), the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Wolfman, Count Dracula, Mr. Hyde, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a Peter Lorre inspired Igor character—even the Hunchback of Notre Dame are all here singing and dancing some absolutely insane numbers, absolutely and wonderfully dated by its late 1960s time.

 I don’t know if it’s possible to have nostalgia for something you never saw as a child, but I think that might apply here. All the nostalgia of and love for the Universal monster movies is on display here, and what is there not to love about Count Dracula, some zombies and Dr. Frankenstein grooving out to some musical numbers lovingly produced by clearly big fans of old school monster movies.

 I can’t help but see the influences this film had on Tim Burton. With his short film “Vincent” and major work “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Burton clearly is following in the footsteps of the stop-motion animation Rankin-Bass made famous. And what a beautiful tradition it is. I am so glad to have found “Mad Monster Party?”… long will it be a required part of my October viewing.

No comments:

Post a Comment