STUDIO: Lions Gate
MSRP: $14.98
RUNNING TIME: 94 Minutes
RELEASE DATE:  September 8, 2009

  • Mad Monster Party: Making of a Cult Classic” Featurette
  • “It’s Sheer Animagic! Secrets of Stop-Motion Animation”
  • “Groovy Ghouls! The Music of Mad Monster Party” Featurette
  • 2 Sing-alongs

The Pitch:

Mad scientist Baron Von Frankenstein
decides that he wants to retire from the Worldwide Organization of
Monsters and really needs to get back in touch with all of these, his
favorite monsters: Werewolf, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, Dracula,
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and others. The solution:
throw a party.

The Humans:

Boris Karloff, Phyliss Diller (Note: They weren’t human in real life either.)

The Nutshell:

At first glance, the cover art on this
DVD led me to believe it was just another modern animated kids
cartoon and that I’d be wasting 90 minutes of my time. But hold up!
This film was released for kids in 1967 from the same people that
brought you Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer (you know… with the elf
that wants to be a dentist) and Frosty the Snowman. I grew up
watching their version of Rudolph every Christmas, bowl of icecream
in hand, in front of the TV on an old blue rug even when I was way
too old for it. Well, somehow I missed this oldie. I think it’s
pretty great.

The Lowdown:

The film is automatically endearing.
There’s something about stop motion animation that has its own
pull—its own inherent magic. The inanimate is really coming to
life—not in concept, like Toy Story, but before your very eyes. And
the sets become the dollhouse that Rankin and Bass play out their
imaginations within. So cute factor: 10.0 out of 10.0

Is it timeless? Yes. The medium of stop
motion, I believe, is also timeless. The story, of course, is a
no-brainer. The entire canon of Halloween creatures shows up. Some
weird ones, however: the Invisible Man and the Hunchback of Notre
Dame are a bit odd to be included as staple mosters, as they live
safely inside other bubbles of popular culture. But it’s kind of fun
to see them show up here. The Hunchback goes nuts ringing his bell
when he gets his invitation to the party.

Can something from 1967 bore me? Maybe.
But probably not. The story of the monster party spans 90 minutes.
That’s a long time, but it doesn’t actually wear out its welcome.
It’s got some musical elements to it: You see the animated doll
version of Phyllis Diller singing about how much she loves
Frankenstein. I don’t know if I was entertained so much as in a state
of uh-whoa-whoa-weird. The musical numbers do run a little long, but
it’s an accepted part of the genre and part of what sinks this kind
of stuff into your brain to stay. I forgive ‘em.

Do I need to have kids to want to watch
this? I don’t think so. I don’t have children yet, and I was totally
cuted out by the thing. The same part of me that still loves their
Rudolph Christmas special was the part of me enjoying this. I’d love
my kids to see this just as much as I want them to see the Rudolph
the Red Nosed Reindeer I grew up with. I think it deserves a place.
I guess that means your kids would probably like it (if they aren’t tasteless assholes.) Did you see the price? Full list price is under 15 bucks. It’s really
not a moral decision.

Here’s an interesting thing: The red hed,
Francesca, Baron Von Frankenstein’s secretery bears a uncanny
resemblance to Christina Hendricks who also plays a secretary in the
late sixties in the hit TV Series Mad Men. Red hair, and large tits
high and proud… it’s hard not to notice the archetype.

What’s more is that this sweet film gives you the
chance to see the doll-versions of Christina Hendricks and Phyllis
Diller strip down to their negligees and have a cat fight. What?! I
couldn’t believe it was happening to me.

Oh… I was serious…

A random pharmacist (in Rudolph, The
Red Nosed Reindeer, it was a dentist) gets pulled into the story and
doesn’t understand that everyone is a ghost. He tries to help
re-bandage the mummy.

Highlight: There is a singing and
dancing scene where the mad scientist plays his skull guitar for a
huge crew of the cutest claymation monsters you have ever seen. They
kick the asses of every Teletubby and muppet. So worth it.

Overall… it’s a great film. It stands up over time. I’d feel great sharing it with certain friends of mine who appreciate cute and quirky.

8.0 out of 10