MAD MONSTER PARTY? (1967) Reviews and overview

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Mad Monster Party? is a 1967 American animated comedy film directed by Jules Bass and written by Mad Magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman. It was produced by Rankin/Bass Productions for Embassy Pictures. Although promoted as Mad Monster Party, the onscreen title includes a question mark.

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Baron Boris von Frankenstein (Boris Karloff ) decides to retire as the head of the Worldwide Organization of Monsters, leaving the monster business to his nerdy nephew Felix Flankin (Allen Swift).

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Frankenstein plans to announce his decision at a convention of monsters at his island that includes Frankenstein’s Monster and the creature’s more intelligent mate (Phyllis Diller), Frankenstein’s seductive laboratory assistant Francesca (Gale Garnett, playing the part of femme fatale), Count Dracula, the Werewolf, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Quasimodo, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Mummy, It (a knock-off of King Kong), and many more.

However when Felix proves to be an incompetent (and unsuitably kind-hearted) human, the monsters plot to eliminate him and gain control of Frankenstein’s latest discovery… the secret of total destruction!

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The film was created using Rankin/Bass’ “Animagic” stop motion animation process. The process involved photographing figurines in still shots and re-positioning them after each shot, the same approach used in Art Clokey’s Davey and Goliath and to create the giant ape in the original King Kong. In fact, a Kong-like creature makes a featured appearance in this film, although due to rights issues he is known only as “It.”


The stop motion cute/ghastly look of the creatures in this film was very influential on Tim Burton’s Vincent, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride; in particular, Burton creations strongly resemble the little monsters seen in the Stay One Step Ahead number.


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“It’s awesome because it’s quite possibly the most completely charming monster movie aimed at a children’s audience ever made. There’s such loving attention to detail in all the design work here and such a genuine spirit of fun that the movie is endlessly re-watchable.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!

” …resolutely old fashioned entertainment, and if it’s occasionally tiresome, it’s also often sweet with a somewhat subversive sense of humor. The film is rife with allusions to horror movies of yore, including some oblique ones like one character who is obviously modeled on Peter Lorre. The stop motion animation is quite often very winning.”  Jeffrey Kauffman,





Posted by Will Holland

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