Mad Monster Party?

1967 film
  • Len Korobkin
  • Harvey Kurtzman
Story byArthur Rankin Jr.Produced byArthur Rankin Jr.Starring
  • Boris Karloff
  • Phyllis Diller
  • Ethel Ennis
  • Gale Garnett
CinematographyTadahito MochinagaMusic by
  • Maury Laws
  • Jules Bass
Production
company
Rankin/Bass Productions[2]
Distributed byEmbassy Pictures
Release date
  • March 8, 1967 (1967-03-08) (United States)
Running time
95 minutesCountriesUnited States[3]
JapanLanguageEnglish

Mad Monster Party? is a 1967 stop-motion animated musical comedy film produced by Rankin/Bass Productions for Embassy Pictures.[4] The film stars the voices of Boris Karloff, Allen Swift, Gale Garnett, and Phyllis Diller.[5] It tells the story of a mad scientist who achieves the secret of total destruction as he summons all the monsters to his island home to show it off while planning to retire as the head of the "Worldwide Organization of Monsters".

Although less well known than Rankin/Bass's holiday specials, it has become a cult film.[6] The film is a camp homage to the classic monster movies of the 1930s-'40s. It was one of Karloff's final projects, and his last film in connection to the character Frankenstein.

Plot

Scientist Baron Boris von Frankenstein achieves his ultimate ambition, the secret of total destruction. Having perfected and tested the formula, he sends out messenger bats to summon all monsters to the Isle of Evil in the Caribbean Sea. The Baron intends to inform them of his discovery and also to reveal his imminent retirement as head of the Worldwide Organization of Monsters.

Besides Frankenstein's Monster (sometimes referred to as "Fang") and the Monster's more intelligent mate who reside on the Isle with Boris, the invitees include Count Dracula, the Mummy, Quasimodo (referred to as "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame"), the Werewolf, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon (referred to as simply "The Creature").

The Baron's beautiful assistant Francesca confirms that all invitations have been delivered and inquires about one of the addressees, a Felix Flanken. Frankenstein explains that Felix is his nephew and successor in the monster business. This displeases Francesca, who covets the role for herself. She asks why there was no invitation for "It". Boris replies that "It" was not invited since "It" can be a crushing bore, explaining that "It" even crushed the island's wild boars in his bare hands the last time "It" was invited.

Felix Flanken is a drug store pharmacist somewhere in the United States. Incompetent and asthmatic but good-natured, he is a constant burden on Mr. Kronkite, the greedy owner. A mailman arrives with Felix's invitation, and he joyously accepts. He boards a freighter headed for the Isle, alongside Dr. Jekyll and the Werewolf, among others. The ship's crew are wary of the monsters around them.

Frankenstein has his zombie butler Yetch, Chef Mafia Machiavelli, and the zombie bellhops and servants make preparations for the upcoming party while patrolling the Isle to ensure that "It" does not arrive uninvited. The monsters begin to arrive on the freighter that Felix is also traveling on. During dinner, Frankenstein shows them the formula, which he will demonstrate the next day while naming his successor. Francesca secretly meets with Dracula to inform him about Felix, promising to share Frankenstein's secrets when she becomes the successor if Dracula were to get rid of Felix. When they caught the Monster's Mate ease-dropping, she and Francesca began to cat-fight while the other monsters had an all out food fight.

Felix arrives to the island and is greeted by his uncle and Francessca, who took Felix on a tour of the island where the Mummy, Werewolf and Dracula planned to attack. While the human Felix proves to be unsuitably kindhearted, the monsters nonetheless plot to eliminate him and gain control of the secret formula. Later, Frankenstein tells Felix about his retirement, making his nephew leader of all the monsters in the world, Felix feels reluctant to take the job. Over time, Francesca develops feelings for Felix after he obliviously saves her on multiple occasions. As Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Monster's Mate descend upon Francesca, she sends out a letter (via messenger bat) to an unknown recipient. When the monsters corner Felix upon capturing Francesca, they are frightened at the arrival of "It" (a giant gorilla and take-off of King Kong) who proceeds to rampage since he was not invited. "It" snatches up the monsters and Francesca (on whom "It" develops a crush).

Felix rushes to tell his uncle what happened and is instructed to head to the boat. Frankenstein leads the zombies in rescuing Francesca from "It" using biplanes. Boris convinces "It" to let Francesca go and to take him instead. "It" complies. Felix and Francesca manage to escape the island in the boat as Frankenstein and the remainder of the monsters remain in "It"'s clutches. Displeased that the monsters tried to steal the secret for themselves and attempted to kill Felix as well as having to put up with "It", Frankenstein sacrifices himself by dropping the formula, destroying the Isle of Evil and everything on it.

The destruction is witnessed Felix and Francesca, offshore. Felix expresses a desire to begin a family with Francesca, who tearfully admits that she is not human, but in fact a robot creation of Frankenstein's. Felix responds that "none of us are perfect", mechanically repeating the last two words, indicating that he is his uncle's robot creation too.

Cast

Crew

  • Directed by Jules Bass
  • Produced by Arthur Rankin Jr.
  • Executive producer – Joseph E. Levine
  • Associate producer – Larry Roemer
  • Screenplay by Len Korobkin, Harvey Kurtzman
  • Story by Arthur Rankin Jr.
  • Music and lyrics by Maury Laws, Jules Bass
  • Characters designed by Jack Davis
  • Continuity design – Don Duga
  • "Animagic" technician – Tad Mochinaga
  • Assistant director – Kizo Nagashima
  • Choreography by "Killer Joe" Piro
  • Music composed and scored by Maury Laws
  • Sound engineers – Eric Tomlinson, Peter Page, Stephen Frohock

Production

The film was created using Rankin/Bass's "Animagic" stop-motion animation process, supervised by Tadahito Mochinaga at MOM Productions in Tokyo, Japan. The process involved photographing figurines a frame at a time, then re-positioning them, exposing another frame, and so forth.[7] Known as stop-motion animation, it was the same approach used in RKO's King Kong, Art Clokey's Gumby and Davey and Goliath, and many other films, commercials and TV specials.

Classic monster films were enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the late 1960s, along with more comedy-centered examples, The Addams Family and The Munsters. This campy film is a spoof of horror themes, complete with musical numbers and inside jokes.

Mad Magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman penned the script (with writer Len Korobkin) and Mad artist Jack Davis designed many of the characters. Rumors that Forrest J. Ackerman had a hand in the script have never been confirmed and his name never appeared in the on-screen credits or in original promotion for the film at the time of its release. Rankin/Bass historian Rick Goldschmidt, in liner notes accompanying the Anchor Bay DVD release, denied Ackerman was ever involved, at the same time as the DVD packaging promoted Ackerman's name. Goldschmidt repeated his claims on this in a 2006 blog entry, based on his interviews with Korobkin, who claimed to have written the original screenplay, which then was revised by Kurtzman, but never worked with Ackerman.[8]

In addition to the famous monsters seen in the film, Mad Monster Party? also features several celebrity likenesses. Karloff and Diller's characters are both designed to look like the actors portraying them, while Baron Frankenstein's lackey, Yetch, is a physical and vocal caricature of Peter Lorre. Swift also performs impersonations when voicing his characters, such as James Stewart when voicing Felix, Sydney Greenstreet as the Invisible Man and Charles Laughton as the Freighter Captain.

Mad Monster Party? was one of several family-friendly projects Karloff lent his voice to in his final years (including the 1966 television adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!). It was his final involvement in a production connected to the Frankenstein mythos that had propelled him to stardom some three decades earlier.

Music

CD cover

Although the opening credits identify Ethel Ennis as singing the opening theme song and, in the same frame, a soundtrack being available on RCA Victor, a commercially released soundtrack was never produced in any format.[9] In September 1998, Percepto released the mono RCA recording on CD. Waxworks Records released it on vinyl on October 12, 2016.[10]

No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Mad Monster Party"Ethel Ennis 
2."You're Different"Phyllis Diller 
3."Our Time to Shine"Gale Garnett 
4."The Mummy"Dyke and the Blazers 
5."One Step Ahead"Boris Karloff & Chorus 
6."Never Was a Love Like Mine"Gale Garnett 

Reception

The film holds a 70% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on ten reviews.[11] Howard Thompson of The New York Times wrote that "this party should make everybody chuckle".[2]

Home media

The film has been available on video for years, first on original distributor Embassy Pictures' home entertainment unit, and then on other independent labels before StudioCanal acquired some rights to the film. Currently, Lionsgate distributes the film on video under license from StudioCanal.

Before Lionsgate's current video release of Mad Monster Party?, almost all video releases have been from 16 mm film and were of very poor color quality. The original film negative was water-damaged some years ago, but Sony Pictures Television (which now holds the television rights) eventually unearthed an original 35 mm pristine print. This print was digitally remastered, and is the source for the current DVD issue and all subsequent television showings. Anchor Bay released the previous DVD on August 19, 2003, then re-released it on August 23, 2005 with additional features. On September 8, 2009, it was released as a "Special Edition" DVD by Lionsgate. The special features include a documentary including interviews with Rick Goldschmidt, Arthur Rankin Jr., voice artist Allen Swift, storyboard artist Don Duga, musical director Maury Laws and others. The film was released on Blu-ray on September 4, 2012.

Comic book adaptation

  • Dell Movie Classic: Mad Monster Party (September 1967)[12][13]

Related film

Rankin/Bass produced a related TV special called Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters from The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie series, which aired on September 23, 1972. This Halloween special featured many of the same monster characters. Bob McFadden did his imitation of Karloff when voicing Baron Henry von Frankenstein (who resembles Baron Boris von Frankenstein). The animation for the special is provided by Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Production with supervision by Steve Nakagawa, who was also known for his work with Iwao Takamoto at Hanna-Barbera Studios.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Mad Monster Party (1968)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2016. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Thompson, Howard (March 9, 1969). "Mad Monster Party (1968)". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  3. ^ "Mad Monster Party (1968)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2014. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  4. ^ Jacobs, Stephen (2011). Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster. Tomahawk Press. pp. 474–475. ISBN 978-0955767043.
  5. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 189–190. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  6. ^ Matheson, Whitney (5 October 2009). "Must-see Halloween classic: 'Mad Monster Party'". USA Today. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  7. ^ Murray, Robin L.; Huemann, Joseph K. (2011). "Rankin/Bass Studios, Nature, and the Supernatural: Where Technology Serves and Destroys". That's All Folks?: Ecocritical Readings of American Animated Features. University of Nebraska Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780803235120.
  8. ^ Rick Goldschmidt's Blogspot site. Are You Sure? December 27, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
  9. ^ Yuval., Goldmark, Daniel. Taylor (2002). The cartoon music book. A Cappella. ISBN 1-55652-473-0. OCLC 50404117.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Mad Monster Party original Soundtrack". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  11. ^ "Mad Monster Party (1967)". Rotten Tomatoes. 8 March 1967. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  12. ^ Dell Movie Classic: Mad Monster Party at the Grand Comics Database
  13. ^ Dell Movie Classic: Mad Monster Party at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)

External links

Wikiquote has quotations related to Mad Monster Party?.
  • Mad Monster Party? at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  • Mad Monster Party? at AllMovie Edit this at Wikidata
  • Mad Monster Party? at Rotten Tomatoes Edit this at Wikidata
  • Rankin-Bass Mad Monster Party site
Television specials
Feature films
Television series
See also
  • v
  • t
  • e
Universe
Characters
Publications
Dacre Stoker
Possible inspirations
Castles
Films
Universal
series
Hammer Horror
Dracula 2000
  • Dracula 2000 (2000)
  • Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
  • Dracula III: Legacy (2005)
Nosferatu films
Hotel
Transylvania
  • Hotel Transylvania (2012)
  • Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
  • Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022)
Parodies
Other
Television
Series
Episodes
  • "Dracula" (Mystery and Imagination) (1968)
  • "Buffy vs. Dracula" (2000)
  • Young Dracula episodes (2006–2014)
  • Penny Dreadful episodes (2014–2016)
  • Hotel Transylvania: The Series episodes (2017–2020)
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror
Novels
Radio
  • Dracula (1938)
Plays
  • Dracula (1924)
  • Dracula (1995)
  • Dracula (1996)
Musicals
Comics
Video games
  • The Count (1979)
  • Dracula (1983)
  • Ghost Manor (1983)
  • Castlevania series
    • 1986–present
    • Dracula
  • Dracula (1986)
  • Dracula the Undead (1991)
  • Drac's Night Out (unreleased)
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula (1993)
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula (handheld) (1993)
  • Dracula Unleashed (1993)
  • Dracula: Resurrection (2000)
  • Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary (2000)
  • Dracula: Crazy Vampire (2001)
  • Van Helsing (2004)
  • Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon (2008)
  • Dracula: Origin (2008)
  • Vampire Season Monster Defense (2012)
  • Dracula 4: The Shadow of the Dragon (2013)
  • Dracula 5: The Blood Legacy (2013)
  • The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (2013)
  • Renfield: Bring Your Own Blood (2023)
Pinball
  • Dracula (1979)
  • Taxi (1988)
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula (1993)
  • Monster Bash (1998)
Tabletop games
Albums
Songs
Audio dramas
  • Son of the Dragon
Original characters
Alternative versions
of Dracula
Relatives of Dracula
Other
  • Category (Dracula)
  • Category (derivatives)
  • v
  • t
  • e
Characters
Films
Universal series
Characters
Hammer series
Toho series
Parodies
The Munsters
Hotel Transylvania
  • Hotel Transylvania (2012)
  • Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
  • Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022)
Others
Television
Stage
Novels
Comics
Video games
  • Frankenstein's Monster
  • Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein: The Monster Returns
  • Dr. Franken
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster
  • Van Helsing
  • Code: Realize
Related
  • v
  • t
  • e
The Wolf Man
Original series
Other films
  • v
  • t
  • e
The Mummy
Films
Universal series
Hammer series
Sommers series
The Scorpion King
  • The Scorpion King
  • Rise of a Warrior
  • Battle for Redemption
  • Quest for Power
  • Book of Souls
Alex Kurtzman film
  • The Mummy (2017)
Characters
Music
Video games
Other media
  • Category
  • v
  • t
  • e
Films
Universal series
Other live-action
TV
  • The Invisible Man (1958)
  • The Invisible Man (1975)
  • Gemini Man (1976)
  • The Invisible Man (1984)
  • The Invisible Man (2000)
Characters
  • Griffin
  • v
  • t
  • e
Films
Parodies
Other
  • v
  • t
  • e
Films
Theatre
Television
  • Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde (1995–1998)
  • Jekyll (2007)
  • Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
  • Do No Harm (2013)
  • Penny Dreadful (2014–2016)
  • Jekyll and Hyde (2015)
Animation
Video games
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1988)
  • Jekyll and Hyde (2001)
  • Van Helsing (2004)
Music
Comics
Novels
  • v
  • t
  • e
Characters
Films
  • Esmeralda (1905)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1911)
  • The Darling of Paris (1917)
  • Esmeralda (1922)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1976)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1986)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
  • The Hunchback (1997)
  • Quasimodo d'El Paris (1999)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (2002)
TV series
Operas
  • La Esmeralda (1836)
  • Esmeralda (1856)
  • Esmeralda (1883)
  • Notre Dame (1914)
  • Notre-Dame de Paris (1997)
Ballets
  • La Esmeralda (1844)
  • Notre-Dame de Paris (1967)
Musicals
  • Notre-Dame de Paris (1998)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1999)
  • Klokkeren fra Notre Dame (2002)
Music
Video games
Related
  • Disney franchise
  • v
  • t
  • e
King Kong
Characters
American films
Live action
Animated
Japanese films
Toho Co., Ltd
Unauthorized/lost
Related films
  • The Lost World (1925)
  • Ingagi (1930)
  • Creation (1931, unfinished)
  • Mighty Joe Young (1949)
  • Konga (1961)
  • The Mighty Gorga (1969)
  • Mighty Joe Young (1998)
  • Ready Player One (2018)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Television
  • The King Kong Show (1966–1969)
  • Kong: The Animated Series (2000–2001)
  • Kong: King of the Apes (2016–2018)
  • Skull Island (2023)
Stage
  • King Kong (2013)
Attractions
Video games
  • King Kong (1982)
  • King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch (1986)
  • King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu (1986)
  • Konami Wai Wai World (1988)
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005)
  • Skull Island: Rise of Kong (2023)
Related
  • Category