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Bride of the Monster (originally known as Bride of the Atom) is a 1955 horror film starring Bela Lugosi and produced, directed and co-written by Ed Wood. A sequel, entitled Night of the Ghouls, was made in 1959, but went unreleased for decades.
The story follows Dr. Eric Vornoff, who is experimenting with nuclear power in a primitive laboratory in his mansion to create an army of mutated supermen to do his bidding. Intrepid newspaper reporter Janet Lawton starts investigating, as do the local police. Meanwhile, an Eastern-bloc agent named Professor Strowksi appears and tries to persuade Dr. Vornoff to return to their homeland; instead, he gets fed to Vornoff's pet octopus-monster for getting too pushy. In the end, Vornoff is betrayed by his assistant (Tor Johnson as "Lobo", whipped one time too many), is turned into the monster he was trying to create, and is then blown up in an atomic explosion.
Tropes associated with this work:
- Actor Allusion: Naturally, Ed wrote Vorloff with the ability to hypnotize women, just like Lugosi did as Dracula.
- Tor Johnson plays a dim-witter lab assistant named Lobo, just like he did in The Unearthly.
- Creator Thumbprint: Oh so Ed Wood. Angora, cheap effects, sexually laden dialogue, it's all there.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The (obvious) prop octopus.
- Evilutionary Biologist
- Executive Meddling: Donald E. McCoy, who financed the film and served as executive producer, insisted on the anti-nuclear message that is featured in the film. Some claim that he also insisted on his son Tony being the leading man, though others have said that Tony had already been cast, and introduced Wood to his father when Loretta King proved unable to finance the film.
- He Tampered In God's Domain
- The Igor, The Brute: Lobo
- Intrepid Reporter: Janet.
- I Love Nuclear Power
- One-Winged Angel: It's forced on him when The Dog Bites Back (and saves their captive) rather than being a last-ditch move, but Vornoff gets the "atomic super-being" treatment for the finale.
- The Other Marty: Loretta King replaced Ed Wood's girlfriend Dolores Fuller, because Wood believed King when she said she could finance the rest of the film. Fuller was given a minor role, and the one instance in the film in which the two actresses interact is... strained, at best. Give Fuller credit for keeping her cool and being a professional about the whole thing.
- That's Dolores Fuller's version. Loretta King's is that Wood hired her flat out after seeing her in a play, and that Fuller was much less professional about the whole thing... (Of course, King's word is less than believable when considering she wasn't honest about other things - like being able to back the film.)
- Parody Retcon: The film has a generally less serious atmosphere (and dialogue, in particular) than most of Wood's other output. This has led to suspicions that Wood's co-writer, Alex Gordon, originally wrote the film as a parody of mad science flicks, but Wood directed it as if the plot were being played straight.
- Rasputinian Death: The final scene is notoriously hard to follow, but the "atomic super-man"-ified Vornoff is shot repeatedly by multiple police officers, at least half-crushed by a boulder, falls into the arms of his pet octopus, and appears to be struck by lightning, before the random appearance of an atomic explosion.
- Reality Subtext: Vorloff's They Called Me Mad speech, for what happened to Lugosi's career by this point -- especially as highlighted in Tim Burton's biopic Ed Wood.
- Science Is Bad
- Stock Footage: It rarely matches with the scenes in which it is used.
- They Called Me Mad: Which is why Vorloff left his homeland in the first place. "But here, in this forsaken jungle hell, I have proven that I am all right!"
- Touch of the Monster