23 July 2014

Mad Monster Party (1967)
93 min.
Directed by Jules Bass.
With Boris Karloff, Allen Swift, Gale Garnett, and Phyllis Diller.
Jose Cruz

A charming Claymation feature from the same creative team that brought the world Yuletide classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It’s a perfect Halloween treat for the budding monster kid and older fans who are eternally young at heart.

Dr. Boris von Frankenstein (Karloff) has just successfully created a serum which can destroy any and all forms of matter. To celebrate his destructive victory, he sends invitations—by carrier bat, naturally—to all of his monstrous friends across the globe to abscond at his island castle for a raucous party most horrible.

Also receiving an invite is Boris’s inept, clumsy nephew Felix (Swift) whom Boris plans on leaving his estate and total control of his assets to as he plans on retiring from the mad scientist business.

This news is not met happily by the doctor’s busty and beautiful assistant Francesca (Garnett). She will do anything to gain the power of the serum… even if it means teaming up with Drac, Wolfie, and the rest of the gang to get Felix out of the way!

What can you possibly say against it? This stop motion flick is perfectly fun and light-hearted, highlighting the horror genre in a sweet, old-fashioned manner that makes it ideal for family viewings. Solid evidence that a horror comedy can be successful without having any snark or derision.

The creative team on this one is quite impressive too. EC Comics alums Harvey Kurtzman co-scripts and Jack Davis works on character designs (the tickling scene of Dracula’s attempts to bite Felix on the neck seems like a bit straight out of MAD Magazine). The incredibly talented Swift conjures up impersonations seemingly at a whim with Diller happily providing her trademark cackling quips.

And let’s not forget the film’s bone-shaking score; the title song by Ethel Ennis is particularly bewitching. Just try getting it out of your head.

The herky-jerky style of the animation only endears Mad Monster Party more to us. Lovers of all things monstrous and spooky will feel the same way.

Cook up some octopus soup, serve the bloody punch, and have a good time.

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