Bride of the Monster
Film: Bride of the Monster
Director: Edward D. Wood Jr
Writer: Edward D. Wood Jr. and Alex Gordon
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson and Tony McCoy
This film begins with two men caught in the rain; they are played by Bud Osborne and John Warren. They say something about how it has rained for the past three months without stop. One of them has a gun and they are looking to get out of the rain. There is a nearby house that they think is abandoned. They go to it and knock. Someone is home though; this man is played by Bela Lugosi. He tries to send them away, even though it is raining out, but they do not leave until Lugosi’s servant, Tor Johnson, shows up. They flee thinking he is the monster of the marsh.
Inside we see that Johnson, even though he is large, unable to talk and has a lot of rage, is not the monster. Lugosi messes with some switches and there is an octopus monster. It is released from its container. It then attacks the two men as they move away from his house. One is pulled under while the other opens fire.
We then cut to the local police station. There is a bumbling officer who is sitting at his desk, played by Paul Marco. A paperboy comes in, played by William ‘Billy’ Benedict. The paperboy is sent away and Marco takes the papers. He knocks on his boss’ door and is allowed to enter. This is the captain, played by Harvey B. Dunn. Marco gives him the papers and tells him that he wanted Benedict to bring them to him directly, much to the dismay of Marco.
Another officer then enters the office; this one is played by Tony McCoy. Dunn shows him the gun that was found out in the marshes, but no bodies. They talk about if there is a monster there or not, which neither believes there is. They know there is something out there though. McCoy’s fiancé then shows up, she is played by Loretta King. She wants to know why they are covering everything up as she is a news reporter. They both tell her that they haven’t been, just have been busy. She doesn’t believe it. They also refute that there is a monster, giving a possible reason for the deaths and no bodies to be quicksand.
Dunn is then visited by a professor after everyone leaves. This man is played by George Becwar. He is there trying to figure out if there is a monster in this marsh that is similar to the Loch Ness Monster. McCoy is tasked to show Becwar and keep him safe during his time in the town.
King is still upset with McCoy despite what he told her. She blows off seeing him that night and goes out to the marshes. Her car breaks down and she is trying to figure out what to do. Before she can, Johnson shows up and kidnaps her, taking her to Lugosi. It is decided to keep her in captivity and Lugosi seems to have her in mind for an experiment.
McCoy ends up finding King’s car while he is out with his partner, played by Don Nagel. They try to figure out where she is and McCoy decides to check out the house. He tells Nagel to wait for him by the car.
Becwar has disappeared as well, but he shows up and meets with Lugosi. We then learn that Lugosi is known for his experiments with radioactivity. The film even goes as far to say that he was exiled, but has created the Loch Ness Monster and that the talk of the monster in this town drew Becwar there. It appears that he is allowed to return to his country now due to his successes. Lugosi tells him that he has no plans to return and Johnson throws Becwar into where the monster is living currently.
Lugosi seems to have plans to make King his new wife, after he performs an experiment that will make her ‘bride of the atom’. Will he succeed or can McCoy stop him before he does? What is this creature that Lugosi made? What is its purpose? What about Johnson? Can he be stopped?
I need to lead of stating that this is the first film from Ed Wood that I’ve seen and it was quite interesting to say the least. I did read up about this film before writing this and did find some of the things interesting, giving me a greater appreciate of the film. In the first few minutes they talk about how it has been raining for three months straight. As the film goes on we learn that Lugosi is using radioactivity. This film can be read as a cautionary tale about nuclear weapons and how it can be harmful to the world. To build off that, Lugosi is trying to create a race of supermen with his experiments as well. This is also the last film that he spoke lines in before passing away, so that does add historical significance as well.
This film does come with its issues though. The story is pieced together to me and doesn’t coherently fit. I guess Loch Ness and the monster in the marshes is just the early tests for this experiment and then creating the supermen is the final product, but most of this is not explained. An octopus monster living in a marsh doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. It is interesting that there are rumors that this monster was stolen from another studio by Wood himself, but it doesn’t seem to be officially confirmed. The acting isn’t very good in this one, outside of Lugosi. He isn’t at his best, but he was getting advanced in his age and his drug issues took a toll on him as well. I also didn’t like the ending as it felt out of place, even with the issue and concept of radioactivity used throughout.
With that said, I would recommend this one if you are fan of Wood or the cult, b-horror films that really aren’t that great. This one is said to be the best one, but it doesn’t get all of the buzz that Plan 9 from Outer Space gets. This one actually has a subplot that was relevant back in the 1950s and during the Cold War, but does have some validity even today. The acting isn’t great and the story has potential. The film has a low running time, so fleshing out more of these details would have been better, but they were short on budget and you can tell. As with all of Wood’s films, I wouldn’t take this one too seriously and that is what makes them have the following they do.
My Rating: 4 out of 10