Original theatrical poster Directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr. Produced by Donald E. McCoy
Edward D. Wood, Jr. Written by Edward D. Wood, Jr.
Alex Gordon Starring Tony McCoy
Tor Johnson Music by Frank Worth Cinematography Ted Allan
William C. Thompson Editing by Warren Adams Distributed by Banner Pictures Release date(s) May 11, 1956 Running time 68 min. Country U.S. Language English Followed by Night of the Ghouls
Bride of the Monster (originally known as Bride of the Atom) is a 1955 horror/science-fiction film starring Béla Lugosi in a traditional mad scientist role. It was produced, directed and co-written by Edward D. Wood, Jr.. A sequel, entitled Night of the Ghouls, was made in 1959, but went unreleased for decades.
Lugosi's character, Dr. Eric Vornoff, is experimenting with atomic energy in a primitive laboratory in his mansion with the help of his assistant, Lobo (Tor Johnson) . His goal is to create an army of mutated supermen to do his bidding. Newspaper reporter Janet Lawton (a role originally intended for Dolores Fuller but given to Loretta King Hadler) starts investigating, as do the local police. Meanwhile, an Eastern-bloc agent or spy named Professor Strowksi (George Becwar) appears and tries to persuade Dr. Vornoff to return to their homeland. In the end, Lobo betrays Vornoff and Vornoff becomes a monster and is then blown up in an atomic explosion.
Myths about the film
In the biopic Ed Wood, Wood is accused of stealing the mechanical octopus (originally used for the John Wayne film Wake of the Red Witch) from Republic Studios. Other stories circulated insist Wood legitimately rented the octopus, along with some cars. Regardless, its inner mechanism was missing. The filming of these scenes, as well as the production of the film in general, were played to comic effect in Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton. Lugosi's monologue to Professor Strowksi is featured twice in the movie.
The book The Golden Turkey Awards claims that Lugosi's character declares his manservant Lobo (Tor Johnson) "as harmless as kitchen" (sic). This allegedly misspoken line is cited as evidence of either Lugosi's failing health/mental faculties, or as further evidence of Wood's incompetence as a director. However, a viewing of the film itself reveals that Lugosi said this line correctly, the exact words being, "Don't be afraid of Lobo; he's as gentle as a kitten."
Rudolph Grey's book Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr. contains anecdotes regarding the making of this film. Grey notes that participants in the original events sometimes contradict one another, but he relates each person's information for posterity. He also includes Ed Wood's claim that one of his films made a profit and surmises that it was most likely Bride of the Monster, but, in a situation similar to the play in Mel Brooks' The Producers, he oversold the film and couldn't reimburse the backers.