Saturday, May 29, 2021

Monster Crap Inductee: Bride of the Monster (1955)

Monster Crap Inductee: Bride Of The Monster
It’ll Make Your Skin Sag 


Gus Richlen because he won he Fantasy Football thing, got to choose 5 movies for this year’s summer inductions and the first one he chose was a film that means we have to return to the land of Ed Wood

Considered by critics to be one of the worst filmmakers of all time, Ed Wood is definitely an example of just because you have the enormous desire to make films doesn’t mean you necessarily should as Ed was so up his own ass that he rarely cut anything even when there are huge mistakes. He also was a master conman in that he could convince producers that he would make a film they would be so proud of and then make a complete pile of crap.

However, I can safely say after watching so many films from other awful directors that Ed Wood is not the worst director of all time. Cheap and up his own ass? Absolutely. Exploitative? The whole induction with Plan 9 From Outer Space should confirm that to be true. But worst? Not really as many of his films are still enjoyable to watch in a bad way and to be quite honest, I don’t leave bored, depressed, or pissed off after watching it.

So since this film has Bela Legosi and was done while Legosi was very much alive, you know that Bride of the Monster is before Plan 9 From Outer Space. Now how did such a guy like Ed Wood meet Bela Legosi, you may ask? Well, Ed had a good friend through his time as a scriptwriter and director of TV shows in Alex Wood, who was also a screenwriter and producer, and who created the basis of this film Bride Of The Monster. Alex introduced Ed to Mr. Legosi and a lifelong friendship formed (well, for several years before Legosi passed). In fact, Ed helped Bela through his worst times with depression and dependence on drugs like morphine. So of course, friends help friends out and since Bela’s drug dependence made him not exactly desirable to many Hollywood producers, he had enough time in the world to do movies directed by Mr. Wood (for $1,000 of course).

We also have good old Tor Johnson in this film as well, who we have inducted in two films before this in Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Beast Of Yucca Flats. Now while the hit biopic Ed Wood (directed by Tim Burton) would tell you that Ed Wood saw Tor Johnson wrestling and immediately wanted him for a film, that is more than likely not how it happened. You see while Tor was a pro wrestler (The Super Swedish Angel), he did acting roles for low budget movies (mostly uncredited) and it was during his time as an actor that he ran into Ed Wood. Tor’s intimidating look and surprisingly sweet demeanor behind the scenes (one co-star of his, Valda Hansen, said Tor was like “a big sugar bun”) probably easily won Ed over and whenever he had a role for someone like Tor, he definitely knew who to ask.

The other cast members of this film are basically either friends of Ed or people who just were taking jobs. The only person of real interest is Ed’s friend Paul Marco, who plays Officer Kelton in this film and he also played that same character name in Plan 9 From Outer Space. In fact, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Bride of the Monster are two parts of the unofficial Kelton trilogy along with Night of The Ghoul as all three had character played by Paul Marco who was a policeman named Kelton.

One more thing, while you may think that by concept, Plan 9 From Outer Space would have the biggest budget for an Ed Wood movie, that is false. It is instead this film that cost $70,000. Most of the budget basically went to one thing, but we will get to that when the time is right.

But enough of that, let’s get to the film.

We begin with opening credits and of course, our opening title card.

After the credits, we see lightning and two hunters who are caught in this storm.

Though Never Specifically Said In The Movie, We Know From Credits That These Two Are Mac And Jake.

Mac talks about that they are now stuck in the worst storm yet. Jake thinks that they should go to the old Reynolds place, but Mac is spooked because he has heard rumblings about a monster in that area. Jake doesn’t believe in monsters so they go to the house that they say is abandoned.

Um….Gents, I Don’t Know How To Tell You This, But Considering That There Are Lights On In That House, I’m Gonna Guess That Someone Lives There.

Mac is still not convinced it is a good idea, but Jake eventually convinces him they should take a chance on the place. They knock and Dr. Eric Vornoff answers.

Hey, Bela….

He tells them they are not welcome inside and Lobo shows up.

Hi, Tor…

The two hunters run away, thinking Tor Johnson is the monster. Eric laughs at this notion and tells Tor they think he is a monster. He also says that perhaps one day those hunters will meet the monster. And then he closes the door while Lobo is still outside, which is mean because Lobo is just a man and he can also catch pneumonia.

Bela then goes to his secret lab hidden via a secret passage behind the fireplace. Tor follows behind him.

Lobo Thinks It Was Mean To Not Let Lobo In. Lobo Could Have Caught Pneumonia.

The mad doctor sends Lobo to do something via hand signals. Through the window of Dr. Vornoff’s lab, we see what he believes is a monster.

His Giant Octopus

It Would Be Decades Before It Battle The Mega Shark.

And that is probably where most of the money went. Depending on which story you ask, either Ed Wood legally rented the octopus or stole it along with an engine for this mechanical octopus to work. It is most likely believed to be a used prop from the set of a John Wayne film called Wake of The Red Witch.

I Don’t Appreciate You Using A Octopus From My Movie, Pilgrim. However, I’ll Let You Go This Time As I’m Too Busy "Trying To Get The Commies Out Of Hollywood".

Eric laughs as he looks at the creature.

Either Bela Lugosi Loves His Work Or He Thinks That Octopus Is Really Stupid

Bela turns on some equipment and watches his monster in the water.

Yes, They Had To Use A Real Octopus Too For The Underwater Stuff

Back to the hunters, they try to find shelter when Mac falls into the water and is immediately attacked by the giant octopus.

Okay, at this point, you might notice a real problem in that the actors actually have to pretend the octopus is attacking them and have to use move the arms themselves as well as flail around to accomplish that goal. Well whether it was by renting or stealing the prop, the engine used to make the mechanical octopus move……didn’t work. And because Ed Wood didn’t like doing different cuts of the film, he wasn’t going to waste money and time getting a new engine for the creature so he just made the actors wiggle around with the tentacles. It looks really stupid and I’m sure the actors found it dumb as well.

Anyway, Mac dies from the giant octopus and Jake is knocked out by Lobo.

Aw….Lobo Just Wants A Friend To Show How To Do An Actual Wrestling Hold On

Jake awakens tied to a gurney with a tin hat stuck to his head.

What This Actor Doesn’t Know Is That We’ve Secretly Transported Him Into A Space Movie. Well, Not Really…But He Probably Wishes That Were The Case.

He sees Dr. Vornoff and Lobo looking over him. Dr. Vornoff reveals that Lobo cannot speak (easy job for the actor) as they hook Jake up to a machine. Jake is just another test case where he will either be an invincible giant under his control or he will die like all the others because of this. Considering this isn’t a main character at all, you can guess pretty easily which one it will be this time.

Death, It Is.

Eric is not happy about another one dying and just looks out a window at the octopus. He tells Lobo that despite a tiresome swim, it is always strange that the octopus always returns home.

The headline for the papers say it all.

Don’t Ask Me How They Know It Was The Monster

So we go to the police station as we meet Officer Kenton.

He Is Here Interviewing A Drunk Who Would Become Just A Man In Plan 9 From Outer Space

It goes nowhere and this drunk is sent to jail. Then a guy comes by with the papers that are meant for the Chief.

This Stuff Is Just A Living To This Guy. He Has 315 Acting Credits To His Name.

This guy tells Kelton that he has these papers for the Chief, but Kelton says that he wants to deliver them to the Chief. However, the guy says that he isn’t supposed to be to give them to anyone but the Chief, especially since Kelton smudges the papers looking through them. Kelton then blackmails him by saying he will cook up some crime he committed since the guy used to be a convict. The guy just quits and gives Kelton the papers. Kelton looks through them and then goes to give them to chief in Capt. Tom Robbins.

Robbins tells Kelton that he specifically told that guy to give the papers to him and not for Kelton to deliver them to him. The captain also tells Kelton to send Lt. Craig into his office, which he does.

Lt. Dick Craig….This Joke Is Supposed To Be Our Hero Who Gets The Girl

They talk about the supposed monster stories and how there have been 12 disappearances that Craig has no idea about since he has been in that swamp so many times. Capt. Robbins official take is the police doesn’t believe in monsters, but Craig’s girlfriend reporter does. Speaking of girlfriend reporters, here comes Janet Lawton.

Loretta King….Whole Lot Of Interesting Stories About Her. Apparently, According To Ed Wood’s Girlfriend At The Time (Who You Will See Later In This Movie), She Would Help Finance This Film If She Was Given This Leading Role. Those Accusations Of Course Were Disputed By Loretta King Herself.

She is upset that she is being told by her cop boyfriend that she isn’t allowed to go into that swamp. She actually calls him her fiancĂ©e and says that she is going to go in that swamp anyway. She also is going to call off the engagement, but when Robbins says she needs to give back the ring, she says the engagement is back on.

Man….Considering The Performances Here, It Shouldn’t Shock Anyone That The Captain Here Actually Was In More Films After This Than The Other Two’s Entire Careers Combined.

So Janet drives first to the newspaper archives where she talks to Tillie, who gives her the files on who bought the mansion that is out in that swamp. She finds what she is looking for and is ready to leave, but not before she bumps into Marge.

That Was Ed Wood’s Girlfriend At The Time, Ms. Dolores Fuller.

She asks about the monster story, saying the police apparently wants those monster stories to stop and Janet just says she is going to pretend she didn’t hear any of that. She then goes on her way to the swamp.

Back at the police station, Robbins talks to a scholar from Europe in Prof. Vladimir Strowski.

Strowski talks about the Loch Ness Monster and some other stuff as basically all the reasons why he is here to help them with their “monster situation”. Robbins sets Craig up to partner with the professor as they look into the swamp. They want to go now, but Strowski wants to wait till the next day as there is a storm brewing, despite all reports the monster attacks at night. Strowski then leaves to head to his hotel so he can rest. Robbins says that the two will work together starting 10 am tomorrow and Lt. Craig goes to leave, but not before hearing that Janet called off the date, saying she was sick (which is of course a bold faced lie as she is heading to the swamp). Robbins also doesn’t trust Strowski totally.

Janet heads to the swamp in her car during the nasty storm and wouldn’t you know it, she crashes

I Know A Low Hanging Fruit Of A Joke When I See One, But In This Case With Today’s Climate, That Fruit Has A Nasty, Disease-Ridden Worm In It.

She gets easily scared by a snake.

Lady, I Don’t Enter Your Domain And Scream At You So Please Don’t Do It Here At Me.

Lobo finds her, knocks away the snake, and takes Janet to see Dr. Vornoff.

Lobo Like Pretty Lady

She wakes up at the house and Vornoff tells her the whole situation. Vornoff then uses his hypnotic stare to make Janet fall back asleep.

A police car comes by with Craig and his partner named Martin looking around.

They were supposed to meet Stowski here, but obviously Strowski isn’t here. They find Janet’s car and think she may have gone back to town so they go back to a coffee shop to check. Of course, we then see Strowski, but he is alone since the two guys just went to find Janet.

Now Where Are Those Two Guys I Told To Meet Me Here.

Craig and Martin go to the shop and find that she never showed up so she must be somewhere in that swamp. Janet wakes up again at Vornoff’s place and is getting food from Vornoff and Lobo.

A Very Weird Bed And Breakfast Joint

Vornoff tries to tell Lobo to go away, but Lobo is enraptured by Janet so Eric has to use a damn whip to get Lobo to go away.

Vornoff tries to get her to eat the food, but like a toddler she refuses. Instead, she keeps asking questions…most of which were answered already. She of course wants to talk about the monster that has been in this swamp. Eventually, Vornoff gets tired of her questioning and uses his hypnotic gaze to make her sleep again. He has Lobo take Janet to his lab.

Meanwhile, we see that Strowski has finally showed up to the place. He enters and looks around before finally being seen by Vornoff. After a bit of conversation, we find out that Strowski is a spy for an Eastern European country (it’s the 1950s so you can guess which one). He tells Vornoff that despite his original theories being ostracized by his people, that Eric has proved his theories correct with the Loch Ness Monster and now this monster. Basically, Strowski has been sent to bring Vornoff back so he can help this Eastern European country. However, Vornoff does not want to return and wants to rule the world on his own.

You of course have heard the line about him wanting to create “a race of atomic superman which will conquer the world”, but while it may look silly if you see that one line, you need to understand that despite that dumb line, Bela Legosi is giving this dialogue his all (showing emotion for the fact that he was ostracized by his own people when he was right all along) and you can see why he was once a beloved actor. Basically, I am here to tell you that Bela Legosi is too good for this film.

Back to the film, Strowski produces a gun and says he will be bringing Vornoff back no matter what he has to do.

With no choice, Vornoff allows Lobo to somehow sneak up behind Strowski and capture him.

He tells Lobo to bring Strowski along and the two take him to Vornoff’s secret lab. They throw him in the room with the killer octopus and we get to see Strowski get killed.

Back outside, Craig and Martin find Strowski’s car and wonder where he is. They split up with Craig going to the house and Martin taking the car to the beach. Craig gets himself stuck and an alligator shows up.

Oh Boy….Time To Bite Some Delicious Fingers

Craig uses his gun to scare the alligator away while he gets out of the hole he fell in. Meanwhile, we get some back and forth between Capt. Robbins and Tillie over what Janet was looking for, which was basically the sales notice on the place out in the swamp. Robbins then calls…somewhere to ask for all the information on Dr. Eric Vornoff.

Back at Vornoff’s lab, Vornoff and Lobo set up the machine and get ready to experiment on the girl with the same machine that killed Jake at the beginning of the film.

And For Some Reason, Vornoff Has The Power To Completely Keep Her Under Hypnosis And Have Her Walk To The Machine To Get Ready.

Dick Craig arrives to the house and sneaks inside, looking around to find anything. Vornoff wants Lobo to put the thing on her, but Lobo doesn’t want to so Eric has to whip him. Dick finds some of Strowski’s stuff and finds a folder which looks into Dr. Vornoff.

With Bela Legosi Headshots Of Course.

The cop also finds the secret lever into the lab and goes in. As Vornoff is about to start the machine and potentially kill Janet (or as he says it, make her “The Bride Of The Atom” (The Movie’s Original Title Before They Were Forced To Change It For Some Reason)), Dick arrives and wants Vornoff to let her go.

Our Hero

He then immediately gets taken down by Lobo, who again snuck up behind him.

Our Zero….

Yes, it is definitely time to get to the biggest flaw that is barely talked about when reviewing this movie. The guy they cast to be the hero in this film, looks and acts like a complete failure. They may have thought this guy could be a potential heartthrob for the ladies to love, but this guy is a complete goober. No one can take this goof seriously and you end up rooting for freaking Tor Johnson over this guy. You think the dumb lummox should get the girl instead and this joke of a lead should get killed off like the failure he is. But alas… we will see that is NOT how things will play out.

The rest of the authorities arrive and they start looking for Dick and Janet, as well as Strowski. But of course, Dick has been restrained.

This Moment Right Here Is All You Need To Show To Tell People How Poorly Cast This Guy Was And That Everything I Said About Him Is True (Well, Except For Rooting For Tor Johnson, But That Will Also Come Soon). In A Scene That Is Normally Meant For A Well Built Guy As A Little Gift For The Ladies, You Get This…..Instead.

So with Craig all chained up, it seems Janet is going to either be a monster or dead. But then the person who I believe is the real hero finally comes in to save her by stopping Vornoff.


Yes, Lobo has feelings for Janet and will not let Vornoff harm her. He knocks out Vornoff, frees Janet from the machine, and then puts Vornoff into the machine.

Janet frees Dick and for some reason, Dick tries to stop Lobo from turning on the machine.

Fair To Say That Lobo Beats This Idiot

Lobo then turns on the machine and it seemingly kills Vornoff.

The authorities enter the place after Lobo turns off the machine. However, bad news for Lobo is this time the machine works and Vornoff is now super strong.

He Also May Have Gotten Taller As Well (Yes, I Know It Is A Stunt Double Of Bela Legosi Here)

Lobo is sadly no match for the super version of Vornoff and he gets killed.

Janet’s screams as Vornoff grabs her and everyone else runs outside to escape the fire. However, they all now see that Vornoff now has Janet and is walking away with her.

Vornoff puts Janet down as he tries to run away. The cops try shooting at Vornoff, but with Vornoff’s new strength, the bullets do nothing instead of just piss him off.

Vornoff now goes after the cops until Dick rolls a giant boulder onto him.

Vornoff falls into the giant killer octopus which kills Vornoff in its most memorable scene.

Yes, Bela Legosi Having To Wriggle Around So It Makes It Seem Like The Octopus Is Killing Him.

Lightning strikes the two monsters, which causes an explosion.

Well, Great…..Now Everyone Is Dead As That Mushroom Cloud Is Stock Footage From An Thermonuclear Device Going Off.

Sadly, it is supposed to be a regular explosion as everyone is fine and Dick and Janet embrace, knowing their nightmare is over.

Capt. Robbins gives us the last line of the movie.

Capt. Robbins: He tampered in God’s Domain.

And that is the end of the movie.

You may all expect this to not have been a success (being an Ed Wood film and all), but this may have actually made money. However, most of the producers of this film and investors would not see most of the money because of a bad deal Ed Wood himself made with entertainment lawyer Samuel Arkoff that saw Arkoff get most of the money that the film made. In fact, the money Arkoff made from this film contributed to the funding of films from American International Pictures, which is responsible for a lot of Roger Corman films. So yeah, on the one Ed Wood film that would be seen as sort of successful (and this film even has a sequel with Night Of The Ghouls (made in 1959 and ultimately released in 1984)), Ed Wood still ended up being a failure.

Now as far as the cast and director go, everyone didn’t really go on to have much success with several having only a handful of films to their credits, although Ed Wood would continue to make films (and eventually pornographic shorts) until his death. And of course, everyone of them is dead now. Bela Legosi (who played Dr. Eric Vornoff) would die a year after this film was released in 1956 at the age of 73 due to a heart attack. Bud Osborne (who played Mac) would die in 1964 at the age of 79 from a heart attack. Anne Wilner (who played Tillie) died in 1964 at the age of 59. Harvey B. Dunn (who played Capt. Tom Robbins) would no longer be with us in 1968 at the age of 73 due to cirrhosis of the liver, which does normally signal the abuse of alcohol, but could also be him being a bit on the heavy side too. George Becwar (who played Prof. Strowski) died in 1970 at the age of 52 from a heart attack. Tor Johnson (who played Lobo) would die in 1971 at the age of 67 due to a heart ailment. John Warren (who played Jake) passed away in 1977 at the age of 60. Ed Wood (the director) would die in 1978 at the age of 54 due to heart failure after years of alcohol abuse with his wife and poverty to the point where he lived in an apartment of an old friend. Ben Frommer (who played the drunk) passed away in 1992 at the age of 78. Don Nagel (who played Martin) died in 1996 at the age of 70. Tony McCoy (who played Lt. Dick Craig) passed away in 2000 at the age of 76. William “Billy” Benedict (who played Newsboy) would die in 1999 at the age of 82 from complications following heart surgery. Paul Marco (who played Kelton) would no longer be with us in 2006 at the age of 78. Loretta King (who played Janet Lawton) would pass away in 2007 at the age of 90 from natural causes. Dolores Fuller (who played Tillie) would be the last person of the credited cast to die in 2011 at the age of 88 after a long illness. Conrad Brooks (who had an uncredited role as a suspect outside the office) was officially the last person on the cast to die as he died in 2017 at the age of 86.

So now onto my final thoughts on the film.


Of the Ed Wood movies that I have seen, this is definitely the most competent film Ed Wood has ever made. However, that sadly makes it the least interesting and enjoyable of his well-known disasters. Despite this film being only 69 minutes, there is plenty of padding to this film that is only there to make this film pass an hour (people walking long ways to get into a car and the car backing out of the parking way before driving). Also, I am going to say this again, but the lead is badly miscast and the female lead is not good either.  

So let’s see what the next film Gus Richlen chose for me to induct this summer.

Time For Mega Shark To Return In A Film Starring Steve Urkel And Directed By Fred Olen Ray’s Son