Saturday, 3 January 2009

Bride of the Monster (1955)

One thing about watching an Ed Wood movie - whatever faults he may have had as a film-maker, being boring wasn’t one of them. And Bride of the Monster is classic Ed Wood.

The plot (which at times veers perilously close to coherence) involves a mysterious monster in a swamp, a mad scientist, plans for world domination with atomic supermen, Tor Johnson running around being Tor Johnson, and what appear to Russian spies.

The dialogue is jaw-dropping, the special effects are laughably inept but fun, and the acting is what you expect in an Ed Wood film. This is however the only Ed Wood movie in which you’ll see Bela Lugosi actually getting a chance to act. OK, it’s Bela long past his prime, but there are occasional flashes to remind us that we are seeing one of the legends of horror.

If you’re going to make a Z-grade no-budget horror sci-fi film the one thing you can’t afford is to let the action flag. And it doesn’t. There’s always something happening, and even if it doesn’t make sense (and very little in this movie makes sense if you had time to stop and think about it) it maintains the atmosphere of breathless excitement. There’s less use of more or less irrelevant stock footage than in other Ed Wood movies, and there are even actual sets that don’t look like they were put together by kindergarten children. But don’t panic - despite some dangerous tendencies towards making sense this is still an Ed Wood movie, with the madness and true weirdness that one associates with his name.

How Ed Wood ever got the reputation of being the world’s worst director is a mystery to me. This movie is much more fun than the average $100 million Hollywood summer blockbuster. It sets out to entertain, and in its own individual and slightly strange way it does just that. To me, that’s a successful movie. It’s a must-see movie.

1 comment:

The Maiden said...

I recently got a hold of a copy of this movie. Am looking forward to viewing it, especially after reading your review!