Sunday, October 07, 2012
31 Days of Dracula | Mad Monster Party? (1967)
I don't know how I got through childhood without knowing about this Rankin Bass masterpiece, but I didn't discover it until I was all grown up. Boris Karloff is the voice of a Dr. Frankenstein who wants to retire from his position as leader of all monsters everywhere. Unwilling to leave a power vacuum, he calls everyone together to Monster Island (not that one) so that he can announce his successor: his nephew, mild-mannered soda jerk Felix Flankin. The other monsters are of course unhappy, especially the Baron's hot lab assistant Francesca (above with Drac). They split into factions and shaky alliances in order to bump off Felix and claim the leadership position.
Mad Magazine's Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis wrote the script and designed the characters, so the hour-and-a-half movie is very funny and looks great. It's easily in the top five specials Rankin-Bass ever produced. Davis' creatures are all a mixture of his distinctive style and the classic film versions everyone's familiar with, including Dracula. In addition to him, the monsters include a werewolf, a Creature from the Black Lagoon-type sea monster, the Invisible Man, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the Mummy, a Peter Lorre-like ghoul, the Frankenstein Monster, and his Mate.
Apparently there was also a cartoon (very loose) sequel in 1972 called Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters, but probably the less said about that the better.
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I caugh the end of it on television when I was a kid. I had no idea what it was and none of my friends had seen it either. For years I'd convinced myself that it wasn't real, that I just dreamed that I'd seen it. Then the internet came along and I found out that it was real.
Still have not seen it yet, but at least I know it was real and that I didn't just make it up.
Had no clue about this when I was a kid, either. How it wasn't aired every year along with Charlie Brown I do not know!
Same here, I had never heard of it until just last year. Very surprising since I'm such a big Jack Davis fan and these designs are very unique and eye catching.
I just wish I could find a place to watch it! Halloween cartoons just don't get the respect they deserve. They didn't even play "Nightmare Before Christmas" on the Disney Channel or either holiday last year! With the surge in spooky cartoons coming out this past year alone: Paranorman, Hotel Translyvania, and Frankenweenie, you'd think some network would be getting on board with specials like these!
I guess Rankin Bass already owns the Christmas Special market, theres not much point in diversifying the market when they're already making a mint.
There are a handful of clips on YouTube, I'll just have to watch those until I can secure a copy of the whole movie.
You guys are making me feel like the luckiest kid ever: MMMP was shown routinely in the NYC area in the 70s via WOR-TV, channel 9--especially the day after Thanksgiving, when it was shown before the annual King Kong showing. Honestly, I cannot imagine growing up without this film. My fave dynamic in the movie is the weird friendship between Dracula and Wolfman, like the lycanthrope is the vampire's wingman. And Francesca? Va-va-va-VOOM!
On of our local stations used to play this every year at Halloween, and I started looking forward to it in September.
I still crush on Francesca.
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