Awful Productions presents … Bride of the Monster (1955)
The running time for this Ed Wood crapfest is just over 60 minutes and that’s still too long. This film is only notable because it is the last speaking role Bela Lugosi had before his death. His performance is dreadful, but what can you say about a film written by Ed Wood and made on a shoestring budget. I watched this film to see if it is as bad as everyone says. It is.
The film begins as two bumbling hunters investigate Bela Lugosi’s house in the middle of a downpour. Why they’re out hunting in the middle of a hurricane is never explained. Lugosi plays a mad scientist, of course, with creepy experiments set to canned footage. Yes, Ed Wood used canned footage of an octopus and other things to save money, and to fill in parts where he needs transitions. That’s not even the bad part.
Lugosi overacts on more than one occasion, but thankfully, there’s canned footage to use to help confuse the audience. Lugosi squints at a fish tank and they cut to a shot of a giant friggin Octopus. Lugosi follows it with his eyes and the shot cuts to an octopus swimming. Lugosi unleashes the octopus on the unsuspecting bumbling hunters and the shot cuts to the man lashing around with a brown lump. I think the brown lump was supposed to be the octopus. It didn’t even look like the thing in the stock footage.
Lugosi takes one of the hunters to his laboratory for experiments. He uses his stethoscope to listen to his heart, his forehead, and his index finger. I’m not joking. Not sure why he does that. Anyway, the guy dies and Lugosi is depressed for some reason. He talks it over with his mute assistant, who looks like an overweight version of the professional wrestler, King Kong Bundy. The fat guy is Tor Johnson, who really was a professional wrestler. I was hoping Hulk Hogan would run in, but no such luck.
The dialogue is very strange. Characters threaten each other very casually, such as a reporter named Janet, who tries to get the scoop on a monster story. She tells her fiance that his death could be arranged and I’m not sure if she was joking. Very strange. After she leaves, the fiance seems to believe she’d do it! lol. Why are you going to marry her then??!?
The police call in an expert that says the monster sightings are similar to sightings of the Lock Ness Monster, which I didn’t get. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Yeah, sightings of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland are similar to those of a monster in a swamp in New Jersey. Makes sense. The police add that there have been 12 victims in the swamp, where the monster lives. Wow, that’s a lot for an unexplained, homicidal Loch Ness Monster. Busy guy.
After Janet goes to explore the swamp, she is captured by King Kong Bundy. Lugosi puts her under hypnosis by saying the word sleep a few times. He does wave his hands though, which is something, I guess. This movie is dragging even at this point and every scene seems improperly plotted, with no purpose. What I’ve read suggests Ed Wood did everything in one take, which is not surprising. They continue on though, back at Lugosi’s lab, and I was wondering if the expert found the Loch Ness Monster by now.
After some back and forth, the dialogue was just getting on my nerves. Lugosi has this way of drawing out his words and elongating his vowels that sounds abnormal, ten times worse than William Shatner. Anyway, he puts Janet in a wedding dress and straps her to his experiment chair, creating sadomasochistic overtones. King Kong Bundy has second thoughts about experimenting on Janet and attacks Lugosi, though he’s never shown any redeeming qualities until now. Lugosi fires a gun four times at him, but it does absolutely nothing at point-blank range. That’s impossible. It’s hilarious though.
King Kong Bundy locks Lugosi into the experiment chair, but this time, he flips the switch and Lugosi becomes a superman for some reason. The two of them fight, which burns down the building, of course. Anyway, Lugosi falls in with the fake octopus and my viewing pain is finally over. Before they close out, they literally show the house blowing up in a nuclear blast, which is what I wanted about 20 minutes prior.