• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Bride Of The Monster

TITLE: Bride Of The Monster

YEAR: 1955

GENRE: Horror and Science Fiction

AKA: Bride Of The Atom

Edward D. Wood Jr. has been declared by many film buffs as the worst film director of all time, and to be honest that is anunfair statement. Granted, Wood will never be mistaken for making Academy Award-worthy efforts with his use of uneven stock footage, silly dialogue, occasional terrible acting, and uneven editing, but some of Wood’s films have a certain charm and—dare I say it?—are even entertaining to watch. Probably the most complete film in Wood’s catalog would be his first foray into the horror genre with Bride Of The Monster, a typical 1950’s horror/sci-fi film that is not as horrible as Wood’s reputation may imply.

Dr. Eric Vornoff (played by Bela Lugosi) is a mad scientist who is experimenting in his secluded mansion in the middle of a swamp with nuclear energy in an effort to create an army of super humans in order to take over the world. His companion is a mute assistant named Lobo (Tor Johnson), a mountain of a man who also protects Dr. Vornoff along with a giant octopus that lives just outside the mansion. Local townspeople are being used by Dr. Vornoff in his experiments and are dying during the process and later becoming a taste snack for the octopus. Newspaper reporter Janet Lawton (Loretta King Hadler) goes to investigate the disappearances and is eventually captured by Lobo and turned over to Dr. Vornoff. Janet’s boyfriend, police lieutenant Dick Craig (Tony McCoy), learns that his better half has ventured out to investigate the disappearances and rushes to the swamp to save her. Dr. Vornoff plans to experiment on Janet and turn her into an atomic superwoman, but Lobo has developed feelings for the feminine captive and has plans of his own.

Wood’s catalog does have some serious pieces of crap but Bride Of The Monster is not part of that legacy. The film is more of a fairly standard 1950’s low budget production, which really is a huge step up from Wood’s hilariously bad productions. That is not to say that Bride Of The Monster does not have its flaws: there is some stock footage such as an alligator, lightning strikes, and a nuclear explosion that does actually fit into the film fairly well at times; the special effects are pretty rotten including a laboratory straight out of a 1940’s zero budget film and a giant rubber octopus stolen from the Republic Studios backlot in which the actors have to flail the tentacles themselves (they forgot to swipe the motor that operated the tentacles); and some of the script is downright asinine especially during a dopey speech by Lugosi where he laments about being banned from his native country. The acting is hit and miss with this film especially McCoy who probably delivers the worst performance in any Wood film, but since the film was financed by McCoy’s father forced Wood’s hand. What Bride Of The Monster has in its favor is that the film has a certain charm that is hard to explain and the plot actually has some cohesion that makes the movie very watchable and even enjoyable at times for those who like their movies cheesy. It also helps that Bride Of The Monster is a short production at only 68 minutes and it is over before some fans become bored.

This was the last Ed Wood film for Dolores Fuller, a Wood stock performer and girlfriend who lost her major role in this film to Hadler (who was currently dating junior McCoy) and was forced to portray a much smaller part; Fuller later moved on to writing lyrics for Elvis Presley including songs for the films Kissin’ Cousins, Girl Happy, and Blue Hawaii. This was the last speaking role for the legendary Lugosi who was most famous for his role as the vampire in the 1931 version of Dracula. Bride Of The Monster may not be the best film from the 1950’s, but since it does not include paper plate spaceships on wires, obsessions with angora sweaters, and extensive, mismatched stock footage it is fair to call this film Wood’s best overall work. Bride Of The Monster is still very MST3K worthy and is a fun production for a group of sarcastic friends with a wry sense of humor and a case of cheap beer. A fun film worth seeing.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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