Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Bride of the Monster/Bride of the Gorilla|
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Image Entertainment Release Date: 12/30/2003
Which "Bride of..." movie is worse? You decide. Have fun.
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 04/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Bride of Frankenstein" is the best horro movie of all-time that is a "Bride of" one monster or another. Everybody would agree with that summation since most people think James Whale's film was better than his original "Frankenstein." But what is at the other end of this continuum? With this DVD you can check out the two prime contenders for the honor of being the worst "Bride of" movie.
If only "Bride of the Gorilla" was a much fun as the tagline: "A Blonde Beauty and a Savage Beast... alone in the Jungle!" But "Bride of the Gorilla" is more of a psychological horror story than you might expect from that declaration. Raymond Burr, still in his hey day as a stock villain in B-movies, is Barney Chavez, the foreman who introduces the owner of a South American plantation (Paul Cavanaugh) to a poisonous snake so he can marry the beautiful window Dina (Barbara Payton, the most famous actress to come out of Cloquet, Minnesota before Jessica Lange). However, the local witch woman knows the truth and hits Barney with a drug-aided voodoo curse that makes him roam the jungle at night as a gorilla. Not that gorilla's are indigenous to South America, but why be picky? There are lots of African animals in this film, courtesy of the stock footage that abounds in this low budget film.
This 1951 film is written and directed by Curt Siodmak. "Bride of the Gorilla" was his first American film as a director after one film in pre-war Germany, but his name was really made in both countries as a screenwriter. On this side of the ocean Siodmak did the screenplays for "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman," "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" and "Creature with the Atom Brain." However, there really is not much of a story here, which is this film's biggest problem. The big question is whether Barney is really turning into a gorilla or does he only think he is turning into a gorilla? Burr is more than competent in his role and the only real reason to watch "Bride of the Gorilla," but the rest of the cast are little better than the stock footage, although Lon Chaney, Jr. and Woody Strode have bit parts. This one grades out at 3 stars.
It is more likely you remember "Bride of the Monster," also known as "Bride of the Atom," as the 1956 Ed Wood film where Bela Lugosi wrestles with a giant fake octopus (oh, THAT Ed Wood film). The argument here is not that this is a good movie, but we are talking Ed Wood, which means a whole different criteria for evaluating a film and your enjoyment in viewing same. Yes, this is a bad film, but there is such an earnestness to Wood's efforts that he is obviously oblivious to it all, which makes the film equally endearing and depressing. The man got his movies made, so I just do not see this as sad as those people who finally get the opportunity to make a film and make some dreadful splatter flick. So, now, Ed Wood is not in the lowest circle of the cinematic inferno. This is not a four-star film, just a four-star experience. Big difference.
Lugosi is the evil mad scientist Dr. Eric Vornoff, who uses his dumb assistant, Lobo (Tor Johnson) to capture the locals so he can use atomic energy to transform them into supermen back as his laboratory in an abandoned house in the middle of a swamp where the pet rubber octopus out back is used to dispose of the mistakes. Intrepid girl reporter Janet Lawton (Loretta King) investigates the disappearances, although her fiance, Detective Lt. Dick Craig (Tony McCoy) tries to warn her off. Janet is captured by Lobo and (horrors) forced to wear a wedding dress (thereby justifying if not explaining the title). Can Dick and the other cops rescue her in time? This is a two star movie providing four star entertainment.
"Plan 9 From Outer Space" remains the apex of bad Ed Wood films, but all things considered "Bride of the Monster" probably comes in second. The acting is probably worse, but so is the script, so I do not find as many memorably lines that force you to howl in laughter. Much is made of Lugosi's participation in these Ed Wood flicks and this is the one where the old actor has the most to do as he goes tampering with God's domain. He gives it his all despite the problems with the script and the fact there is no budget for making this movie. "Night of the Ghouls" is considered a sequel to this film because Tor Johnson again plays "Lobo," but do not expect any more continuity between the two than that if you bother to track it down, but then there is not reason for you to do so. After "Plan 9 From Outer Space" this is the Ed Wood film to check out and on this DVD you get "Bride of the Gorilla" too, so this would be the way to go, which is why we round up."