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Styx
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Reviewer: Styx
Review Date: March 3, 2000

Released by: Image Entertainment
Release date: February 15, 2000
MSRP $24.99
Region 1, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1


Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster, released in 1956, was one of the director's better efforts and Bela Lugosi's final performance in a film. Image Entertainment has recently released this Ed Wood cult classic on DVD in a presentation that is arguably better than the film deserves. Lets take a look at Bride of the Monster.

The Story

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot1s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot1l.jpg) Two hunters who become stranded near Marsh Lake in the middle of a severe storm seek refuge. They stumble upon the home of Dr. Eric Vornoff (Bela Lugosi), who is rumored to have some connection to a monster that is said to prowl the Marsh. The two hunters disregard the rumors and knock on his door anyway. Dr. Vornoff answers and refuses to let them in, he calls for Lobo (Tor Johnson) to escort them away from his property. The hunters run in fear back into the raging storm and are soon attacked, one by a giant squid in the lake and the other by 300 pound lumbering Lobo who knocks one of the hunters unconscious. The two hunters are never heard from again.

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot2s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot2l.jpg) Back in the city at the police station Capt. Tom Robbins (Harvey B. Dunn) talks with Lieutenant Dick Craig (Tony McCoy) about the recent murders and disappearances centered on Marsh Lake. Janet Lawton (Loretta King), a reporter, interrupts the two and wants answers about the recent murders. Janet doesn't believe police who say that a monster is not responsible for the murders at Lake Marsh and she is determined to get the real story. Professor Vladimir Strowski, an authority on prehistoric monsters, also arrives on the scene and asks to help search for the monster. Meanwhile Janet goes off on her own to Lake Marsh to do some investigating. She gets into an accident with her car and is fetched by Lobo and brought back to Dr. Vornoff's home. Dick Craig discovers Janet's wrecked car, but Janet is nowhere to be found.

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot3s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot3l.jpg) He mounts a rescue team to look for her. He eventually comes across Dr. Vornoff's home and discovers his mad ambitions to create super beings using atomic energy. Now Dick must find a way to stop the mad Doctor before Janet falls victim to his insane experiments.

Bride of the Monster is my favorite Ed Wood film and is probably one of the director's best films. Though still in the realm of "So bad it's good", Bride of the Monster features better acting and a better story than most other Ed Wood films. Basically a mad scientist film, Bride of the Monster has Bela Lugosi running around as the demented doctor who has discovered the secret of developing a superior race. This was Lugosi's final role and definitely not one of his greatest, but he still manages to create an interesting and bizarre mad Doctor, and since Lugosi had a thick accent his character is almost believable. His character and acting always gets a laugh out of me and is unintentionally but inevitably funny.

One has to wonder if Ed Wood was making these films very tongue in cheek or if he was actually trying to create something serious, I certainly hope it's the former. Anyway, this film is a landmark for Lugosi fans as it was his final role which gives this film some importance. The acting is also not nearly as bad as Plan 9 From Outer Space. Of course it's still pretty bad, but by Ed Wood standards it's one of the better-acted films in the director's cannon. Cheesy effects are also part of the Ed Wood experience and Bride of the Monster doesn't disappoint. In Bride of the Monster we are treated to a giant rubber squid, which serves as Dr. Vornoff's pet. Bride of the Monster is great fun for Ed Wood fans or fans of bad cinema don't miss it!

Image Quality

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot4s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/botm/botm_shot4l.jpg) Image Entertainment presents Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster full frame at 1.33:1 in its original aspect ratio. Wow!!! Bride of the Monster really looks terrific. The transfer is very clean with only the slightest bit of grain present. Most of the grain seems to occur in what seems to be stock footage of lightening, which is used during the storms. The Image is always clear and sharp revealing a great amount of detail in those laughable but fun sets as well as those fake rubber monsters. Black level is very strong and solid and contrast is excellent throughout.

Whites are clean and the print used for the transfer is remarkably well preserved/re-mastered with very mild signs of damage such as scratches and speckles. Overall the job done here is similar to the great effort made by independents such as Elite Entertainment and their version of Night of the Living Dead. Hats off to Image Entertainment for this great looking transfer.

Sound

Presented in Dolby Digital Mono, Bride of the Monster sounds pretty good with minimal noise and pops. The track can sound a little harsh at times, but or the most part dialogue is clear.

Supplemental Material

Unfortunately, unlike Image Entertainment's Plan 9 From Outer Space DVD, Bride of the Monster only comes with a theatrical trailer - which looks quite good. Too bad there aren't more supplements because I definitely like this film more than Plan 9. Casual fans that are looking for a well-rounded DVD of a Ed Wood film are better off picking up Plan 9 From Outer Space which features an excellent documentary on Ed Wood and Plan 9.

Final Thoughts

Image Entertainment did a wonderful job with the transfer giving the film a high quality presentation. Though a little lax on supplements Ed Wood fan's will drool over the new transfer. Highly recommended!

Rating

Image Quality - A-
Sound - B
Supplements - C+

Technical Info.

Running Time - 1 hour 9 minutes
B&W
Not Rated
1 Disc
Chapter Stops
Dolby Digital Mono


Supplements

Theatrical trailer


Other Pictures

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