Written by: Carroll Jenkins on November 2nd, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1955
Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Writers: Edward D. Wood Jr., Alex Gordon
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Tony McCoy, Loretta King, Harvey B. Dunn, George Becwar, Paul Marco, Don Nagel, Bud Osborne, John Warren, Ann Wilner, Dolores Fuller, William ‘Billy’ Benedict, Ben Frommer, Conrad Brooks
DVD released: October 21st, 2008
Approximate running time: 68 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Legend Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Synopsis: A mad scientist seeks to create a race of supermen with which to rule the world. His secret laboratory is in the Old Willow Place on the lake / swamp where he conducts his experiments. Persons who venture that way tend to go missing, prompting an investigation by the local police force.
The film has been enshrined by the excellent Tim Burton biopic Ed Wood. Roughly half that film is concerned with Bride of the Monster and various legends surrounding the financing, casting, production, premiere, and film itself. Many scenes are lovingly recreated in great detail, but with some exaggerations. Loretta King’s performance is not nearly so bad as depicted and she is actually a better actress than Delores Fuller, which could be the real reason behind the casting decision. And, to Wood’s credit, you can clearly see that it is not the frail Bela Lugosi rolling around in the water in the middle of the night struggling with a rubber octopus and on the verge of death, but rather his stunt double.
Wood fans expecting a companion feature to Plan Nine From Outer Space or Glen Or Glenda, may be disappointed. Certainly there are great moments to savor, such as the “I have no home” speech (also a highlight of Martin Landau’s Oscar Winning performance), or Bela whipping Tor Johnson. But this is Wood’s best overall film and is enjoyable as a motion picture rather than as a train wreck. The pacing is adequate, the characters are interesting and the acting is decent if not always memorable. This is, in fact, a reasonable example of a low budget fifties horror.
This appears to be the same source as the Image edition, due to the heavy ‘snow’ in the opening scene with the hunters, but it is a new transfer. The DVD authoring is superior to the earlier Image effort and is progressive scan, and closed captions are available to savor the dialog. Extras include a strange short featuring Tor Johnson versus Pippi Longstockings. The Image release included the theatrical trailer, but was obviously from a VHS source. This edition by Legend is a reasonable upgrade for those with the Image release, and recommended for those without – especially to fans of the movie Ed Wood (count me in).