File puptcrit/puptcrit.0510, message 144


To: <PuppetCafe-AT-yahoogroups.com>,
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 00:07:57 -0400
Subject: [Puptcrit] Mad Monster Party (Movie)


Hi all.
I just saw the old stop-motion movie Mad Monster Party, remastered for DVD.
It's from Rankin Bass productions
www.rankinbass.com
and Anchor Bay entertainment
www.amchorbayentertainment.com


The movie as a whole is an interesting fun experience.
It's got some amazing characters, the sets are incredibly well-done, the motions are just flikery enough to fit the "style".

Lots of fun moments, if you have a thing for funny silly monsters(I do). 

Positive points:
Almost all characters are so well done, they are alive! Karloff's character (the Baron) is awesome with his chiseled features. His Monster is endearing and impressive all at once.  Dracula is sillyer than Count Chocula, and I love him for it. The Zombies, mute and dressed in red Valet clothes, are awesome! The Hunchback is great too, and there is a another monster in  movie legend (I won't tell you who) who makes a special appearance, and he too looks good. Felix is a kind hearted human who has the cuteness factor of the stop motion creatures of movies like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Not a trace of "monsterishness" to him, yet he somehow fits!  The contrast between characters is part of what makes it all work together. 
The sets are a blend of cartoony and live action movie magic, detailed to near perfection and lots of it moves too! A few man-eating plants, a live octopus in the soup.... 


Negative points:
Some characters look like they've been sculpted by amateurs. Only one of them is remotely scary, it is Phyllis Diller's character, the Monster's bride. She's so ugly and (I think) badly sculpted and finished that she's scary. Her acting, I would describe as "lame" and inneffective. The Mummy's legs are ridiculously attached to the body. The Werewolf looks like a drunken mangy old cat. They should have made him closer to the pre-production drawings one can see in the Extras section.

The plot is so basic it could be insulting to some, if they have fogotten to turn their critical brain off before watching. The point is: this is not a serious movie. But the truth is, they have not made it silly enough, and the director should have been a bit more, I don't know, dynamic? Some scenes were wll done technically, but story-wise, they should  have been cut at the scenario step. The "thinking aloud" are lame(except once), some gags are badly delivered, and lots of moments (especially the very BAD songs) are long and uncomfortable. I wanted to fast-forward twice, but I refrained, hoping to eventually "get it". There is even a song sequence with silly candy-colored clumsily-made cartoon aliens that are supposed to represent monsters and be frightnening.  Karloff sings it ok, with his characteristic voice. But even the best actor cannot save a bad song.


It ain't that bad!
I make it sound worst than it is. I'll be watching it a few times more.  It really is fun to look at, and the visuals can help one learn some tricks of the trade. The sculptors did a great job on the amoority of the movie (sets are eprefectm justs ome characters suck), so I'll be studying their creatures volumes, especially the faces and body proportions. Their water effects are crude but I feel in a good way. They embrace that medium so well it becomes more real than reality! That is one main thing I aim for. Why make it perfect and loose al artistic expressivity?

I reccomend this movie experience. It's got Monster Mash qualities to it, although that song is not in it. 
Try to take it as a rental before you buy. Some may like it a lot, some may find it too silly for their serious self...

Enjoy!

 







 


Mathieu René Créaturiste
Marionnettes, Masques, Etcetera...
Puppets, Masks, Etcetera...
creaturiste-AT-magma.ca
www.creaturiste.com
(514) 274-8027
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