BRIDE OF THE MONSTER
* * * (1955, 68 minutes, Unrated)
A lovely marriage of Ed Wood Regulars and stock footage.
Giddy from the success of Glen or Glenda (if by “success,” one means “ability to actually make a
movie”), Ed Wood charged onward to make whatever it is you’d call Bride of the Monster. If Tim
Burton’s Ed Wood is to be believed, Wood pretty much created his tale based on the stock footage
he had available to him -- I can‘t verify if that‘s true, but it certainly could be.
To be fair, Bride of the Monster is a better film than Glen or Glenda… though that’s hardly anything
to brag about.
The film opens with a bolt of lightning. Man, Wood loves his lightning! If he were ever
commissioned to make corporate training
videos, he’d still find a way to add lightning.
Two cops wander through a swamp,
expositioning that this particular storm has
been going on “for months.”
Also among the Ed Wood Regulars is Dracula
himself, Bela Lugosi. Here, Lugosi plays Dr.
Eric Vornoff -- no need to ask him his name,
he'll tell you over and over -- a mad scientist
residing in a fully tricked out mad scientist
pad. Check it out: Varnoff’s old mansion
features a full laboratory with neon lights, a
variety of levers and toggles, a full-sized fridge
and a lumbering assistant (Lobo, played by
Tor Johnson). The mansion is located deep in
|Lightning, catnip for Ed Wood.
a swamp and guarded by Varnoff’s attack octopus (played by Stock Footage). Pretty sweet, eh?
Tough break for those two cops. After being turned away from Vornoff’s sweet lair, one gets
attacked by a rubber octopus dummy and the other gets fried in Vornoff’s failed experiment. Yet
|The rubber octopus that stars in Bride
of the Monster is likely a relative of
the man-eating octopus featured in
Tarkan vs. the Vikings.
somehow, all of the headlines in the local papers
scream that the monster has killed two more
people. How would anyone know that? Did Vornoff
hold a press conference to announce the murders?
No time for logic! It’s time to meet our
Protagonists: She is Janet Lawton, a tough-as-
nails newspaper reporter, trying to make a mark in
a man’s world. He is Dick Craig, a promising
police lieutenant and Janet’s boyfriend. And his
boss, the police chief, is strangely obsessed with
Janet and the Chief get into it because she’s been
writing article after article about “the monster” and
he can’t/won’t comment on the investigation. In a
huff, Janet decided that the only way to get any information is to go out to the scene of the crimes
herself. Seriously? I did more research and footwork for the puff pieces I wrote straight out of
college than this star reporter.
Janet heads out into the swamp and promptly drives right into a ditch. Fortunately, Lobo is on
hand to carry her away. Dick, fully aware of Janet’s ability to drive right off the road, gets off his
backside and goes looking for her.
Dick is joined by some of his colleagues and a visiting scientist, who allows Ed Wood to
shoehorn in some talk about the dangers of atomic power with all the subtlety of a kick to the
crotch. The visiting scientist later has a sit-down with Vornoff and tries to lure him back to his
home country so the government can make use of his mad scientist-ry. I suspect this was all an
excuse to give Lugosi a Big Dramatic Monologue:
So there you have it: An army of atomic super-men. Also, Vornoff can hypnotize women because
he’s double-jointed and Hungarian.
It all builds up to what you’d expect: shirts are torn, feeble attempts at fighting Lobo hand-to-hand
are made and everything catches fire. Yes, Vornoff ends up rolling around with the rubber
octopus, because as the old Hollywood adage goes, “If you show an octopus in Act I, it has to
attack the villain in Act III“.
Bride of the Monster isn’t the movie that Plan 9 From Outer Space (released four years later) is,
but it’s a nice glimpse of the wholesale corniness to come.