Mad Monster Party

The Legend:

This is the way I’ve heard it told:
In the 1960s, Rankin/Bass was a film production company, headed by partners Arthur Rankin, Jr and Jules Bass. They produced many animated films, but are most famous for their holiday specials and for an animated version of Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” (still my favorite film version).

It was due to the success of holiday films like “Rudolph, the Red-Nose Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman“, that the Rankin/Bass company felt like they could finally compete with Disney in the Feature Film arena.

To that end, Rankin/Bass pooled all their resources, called in all their L.A. privileges, and did anything they could to produce a full-length film, which was basically an extended classic-style Rankin/Bass Halloween special.

The film failed financially, and it helped lead to what was more or less the end of Rankin/Bass.

The Plot:

Before I bombard you with loads of screenshots, and a tribute video I made, I’d like for you to know the plot, to streamline the breakdown process a bit. I would say there were spoilers ahead, but a person probably wouldn’t read this sort of post if they were afraid of spoilers.

Here goes: Baron Frankenstein has created a formula that would enable him to rule the world. He is also the chief bad guy in the whole world, and is head of all the monsters in the world. They look to him for leadership.

The Baron is planning to retire and invites his only living relative, Felix Flankin, to his castle to turn things over to him. Little does he know, Felix is a pharmacist and a huge Jimmy Stewart fan. And kind of a screw-up.

The Baron also invites all of the monsters in the world to his castle to witness his new creation, and to see him turn things over to his nephew.

The monsters, being bad guys, do not like all this one bit. They have been loyal to the Baron all this time, and now he’s gonna leave some nincompoop human in charge?!?!?!

A struggle for power ensues, Felix bumbles his way through the whole thing, Don Knotts style, and falls in love with Francesca, the Baron’s assistant, and whom I firmly believe was a huge inspiration for Jessica Rabbit in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?“.

The Main Cast of Characters:

Baron Boris von Frankenstein. Voiced by none other than Boris “the Grinch” Karloff. Head of all the monsters everywhere. Creator of a top-secret, rule-the-world, potion. Uncle to Felix Flanken.

Felix Flanken. Voiced by Allen Swift, who does most of the other voices also, but does one helluva Jimmy Stewart impression for Felix’s voice. Bumbling, but good-hearted, nitwit. Allergy Sufferer.

Francesca. The Baron’s hot-as-hell assistant, who may have ulterior motives.

Yetch. Head of the house servants at the Baron’s castle. Clearly inspired by Peter Lorre. In love with Francesca. Can remove his body parts at will.

The Monster’s Mate. Voiced by Phyllis Diller. Also looks like her and may not be a monster at all, other than being Phyllis Diller. I would have no clue who Phyllis Diller was if she wasn’t on Scooby Doo that time. This is the Frankenstein Monster’s ladyfriend. The brains of the operation. Has a funny laugh, is a bit of a creeper, and is power and money hungry.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Now that you are armed with all that information, on with the show!

mad monster party 1

Originally, I planned to not do a full breakdown of this movie, for two reasons. For one, I made a tribute video that featured a lot of the really cool scenes. And for two, this is a full-length movie. Clocking in at 95 minutes, to fully show Mad Monster Party would take about 300 screenshots. Plus, I really don’t wanna ruin the magic for anyone who has never seen it.

I also should be honest here: Mad Monster Party is incredible, but it kinda lags in parts. You’re really in this one for the visuals of stop-motion monsters and the badass, elaborate handmade sets.

It’s not that the plot is bad, or the dialogue is bad, but there are several scenes that could have been cut out entirely and it would have really helped the pacing of the film. I have taken the liberty of cutting several of them out here, but if you watch the movie you’ll get to see them.

Really, to put a fine point on it, Mad Monster Party would have made an amazing hour-long Halloween special on television.

Anyway, in the first scene, shown above, we get a brief prologue of Baron Frankenstein completing his potion and testing it out. It makes a mushroom cloud right outside of his castle window, by which the Baron knows, “It’s ready!”

He then sends invitations to all the monster in the world. This is shown in a montage of the monsters receiving their invitations while the opening credits roll:

Starring: The Wolfman!

Starring: The Wolfman!

Look at that Wolfman! Gee Minetty, he is so cool looking!!!!! And if you think this photo of him is cool, just imagine seeeing him walk around and do wolfy-type stuff!

Next, we get introduced to Felix Flanken, pharmacist and Goof Extraordinaire:

mad monster party 3Felix is mixing up a soda. I can barely remember when drug stores still had real soda fountains and lunch counters. Showing Felix mixing up this sugary cocktail is clearly a parallel to the Baron mixing up a rule-the-world potion. The fact that he is a pharmacist doesn’t hurt, either.

In this scene, Felix receives his invite from his Uncle, whom he has never met. He decides he is due for a vacation, thinking that a castle on a remote island is some sort of resort.

mad monster party 4We get back to the castle now, and Phyllis.

mad monster party 5Right here she’s really giving her husband, The Monster, the blues. Word has gotten out that the Baron is inviting all the monsters to his Castle for one last party, and to announce his retirement from the horror business.

We deserve that formula! We deserve that inheritance! You need to get it for us!”

She really is a shrew, isn’t she?

mad monster party 6The Baron discusses his plans with Francesca, his assistant and probably the hottest puppet ever created. Definitely hotter than Janice from the Electric Mayhem. Although I would probably date Janice. Francesca is more of a fling, Janice is more of a serious commitment.

Ahem. Right.

mad monster party 7“What’s this? You have a nephew? But you never told me you had any living relatives!”

Francesca may not be as trustworthy as the good Doctor, errrr Baron, believes.

mad monster party 8“Yes, Felix! He’s my sister’s boy! And a pharmacist too! He’ll make a fine replacement for me! I just know the monsters will all be ecstatic to hear this news!”

You see, the Baron, despite being the honcho over all the monsters, is really just a kindly old man at heart. And naive as a mofo.

Next we see all the monsters getting onto a ship. A freighter that will be passing close to the Baron’s island, which they wish to be dropped off at.

Check out this Dracula:

mad monster party 9“Now, how much for the passage, hmmm?” Dracula asked the ship’s Captain and First Mate. When they tell him, he says he should probably just fly, and turns into a bat. This, coupled with the other weirdos who wish to sail with them, make ol’ Cap and his Mate feel mighty jubous.

mad monster party 10The First Mate doesn’t know whether he should trust this guy or not. He probably shouldn’t, since he’s obviously a dracula.

mad monster party 11By the time Felix arrives to book passage on the SS Herring, the Captain is so scared of everything that he tells Felix that he can just ride for free. “No charge! Just don’t do any of your surprises on me!”

mad monster party 12Later that evening, the Captain tells the Mate to go invite the passengers to have dinner at the Captain’s Table with him. This shot right here just about sums up what all happens when the Mate goes to do that.

Meanwhile, Felix meets some of his fellow passengers…

Like the esteemed Dr. Jekyll.

Like the esteemed Dr. Jekyll.

mad monster party 14Felix: “Gee, Dr. Jekyll, you look seasick! Are you all right?”
Mr. Hyde: “Hyde! Grrrr! Hyde!!! Me, Hyde!!!”
Felix: “You want me to hide? Ok, I’ll hide and you come find me!”

Felix meets most of the other passengers in a similar fashion, always narrowly escaping death through sheer dumbassery.

mad monster party 15Back at the Castle, party preparations are in full swing. This is an army of the Baron’s zombie bellhops.

mad monster party 16Lined up for inspection, with Maitre D’, Yetch, at the end of the line.

mad monster party 17See? He even talks like Peter Lorre!

the Baron: “These guys better be ready for the party, Yetch! It better be fun! The food better be good! And my guests better have a good time! Or it’s your ass!”

Yetch: “Yes sir, Mr. the Baron, sir!”

mad monster party 18“Gazongas! Great! Big! Gazongas!”

Yetch runs into Francesca here and gets a little cheap feel. You can see how Francesca feels about that. Yetch is in ecstacy and doesn’t come out of it for a few seconds.

Francesca: “You better not ruin this, you creepy little turd!”

mad monster party 19“My guests should be arriving any minute! Until then, I’ll practice my Little Richard…”

mad monster party 20“Dracula! Welcome, my old friend!”

Look how aloof Dracula looks right here. I love it. I don’t know how they got the facial expressions on these characters to be so perfect most of the time, but they did. Look at Phyllis! She’s gauging whether the Baron may give the inheritance to Dracula or not. The Monster is obviously wondering if he could kick Dracula’s ass or not, if it came down to it.

mad monster party 21Dracula: “Wolfie, you old dog, you!”

You just knew that joke was gonna have to come out at some point, and here it is. They saved it for the arrival scene.

mad monster party 22The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Mummy arrive together. The Hunchback carries in the Mummy’s coffin. I guess I never really thought about the Mummy needing to sleep in a coffin like a vampire. But then again, I guess I never really think about the Mummy. The Mummy has definitely been my most-overlooked monster in the pantheon of classic monsters. Poor Mummy.

mad monster party 23The Castle Kitchen is preparing for a huge banquet in honor of the Baron’s guests.

mad monster party 24Yetch decides to check in with the Chef and make sure things are going according to plan…

mad monster party 25He nearly gets strangled by the tentacles in the pot!

Yetch: “The octopus soup is too strong!!!”

mad monster party 26The Baron: “Welcome, honored guests! Tonight, I unveil to you my secret formula! It’s a liquid nuclear bomb!”

After the oohs and aahs die down, and the banquet is over, and everyone is shithouse drunk, it’s time for the band:

mad monster party 27

This is probably my favorite part of the whole movie. They play this really awesome garage-rock song about the Mummy. Note the “beetle” on the bass drum. This was 1967, ya know…

mad monster party 28Phyllis grabs the Mummy for a dance, some of which you can see in the video below. The Monster, a typical meatheaded jealous guy, looks ready to waylay some poor mummy’s ass.

I think this is also the first time you get a decent look at one of the under-appreciated monsters at this mad party: the fish thing. Look at him on the right in the above shot. He’s not really a Creature from the Black Lagoon, but he is certainly of some sort of aquatic origin.

"It's the Mummyyyyy!!!"

“It’s the Mummyyyyy!!!”

The shot above is cool because the guitar is actually accurate. It’s the nice little touches, like an accurately assembled puppet guitar, that really set this production apart.

Francesca, plottin’ mofo that she is, invites Dracula outside for a dance:

mad monster party 30

Some of the dance is in the video below, but needless to say, Dracula mistakes Francesca’s intentions. She has called him outside to see if he’ll help her get the formula and the inheritance.

mad monster party 31“This sneaky bitch was hiding behind the drapes, dropping eaves!”
“Let’s get her!!!!”

mad monster party 32“Blahhh!” You know the sound I mean. The one Dracula makes.

mad monster party 33Phyllis: “Not so fast, Toothy! Kick ‘is ass, Frank!”

Francesca: “Why you mean old witch! I’ll fix you good!”

CAT FIGHT!!!! LINGERIE CAT FIGHT!!!

complete with cat sounds.

complete with cat sounds.

I love Phyllis’s underwear.

In the meantime, the rest of the monsters have gotten good and sauced at the banquet and get into a food fight, which leads to a real fight…

mad monster party 35That shot cracks me up. Something about a merman with pie in his face really gets me.

Next, it’s the Invisible Man’s turn, with his fez and smoking jacket and everything:

mad monster party 36

mad monster party 37You might say Yetch really lost his head in that fight! yuck yuck yuck.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

The next morning, everyone is sleeping one off…

mad monster party 38

mad monster party 39

mad monster party 40

What’s interesting is that they make no bones about what is going on here. Broken bottles and empty bottles are all over the place! And before you think, “I bet Disney would never have the balls to do something like this!”, go watch Dumbo and get back with me. In 1967, people weren’t so damn sensitive.

While everyone is sleeping off their own little ornery hangovers, Felix and the Baron and Francesca have a chat on the beach:

mad monster party 41“Let me show you around my Castle, nephew! Oh, I do hope you like it!”

mad monster party 42They take a viking ship (!) into the dock in the bowels of the Castle. Yetch is waiting to take Felix’s things.

Felix and his uncle go off on their own for a tour of the grounds, while Francesca schedules another meeting with Count Chocula:

mad monster party 43“Here’s a map of the entire island!”

mad monster party 44“I’ll lure Flanken out for a walk, and you rally the other monsters and ambush him here, here, and here…”

mad monster party 45“Sure is nice of you to give me a tour of the island, Francesca!”

I need a pith helmet in the worst way.

mad monster party 46“Why this feller here is injured! Look at those bandages! I’m a pharmacist, I’ll help!”

mad monster party 47“There! That’s better!”

Say huh?

Needless to say, none of the ambushes work out and Felix escapes every one in an equally obtuse manner.

mad monster party 48“How do you like the Castle so far, my dear boy?”

mad monster party 49“Let’s sing about it!”

mad monster party 50“You put one foot in front of the other!”

They don’t really sing the song from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town“, but it’s instantly recognizable as a Rankin/Bass classic. Plus it features a green mouse, a bird creature, and…

and…

boo2Boo, from Monsters, Inc.??? I seriously wonder if Pixar got their inspiration from this little character in this musical number from Mad Monster Party.

mad monster party 51Moving on from Boo’s cameo, Frankenstein tells Felix that this is a family business. Do you recognize any of these faces from the Frankenstein family? A correct answer may net you a big prize! Or it may not. I’m kinda broke, yall.

mad monster party 52“We have to get that stuff, Drac!”

mad monster party 53“Oh no, a double cross!”

What did you expect, Francesca? They are monsters, after all, and probably not the most trustworthy creatures on earth. Not to mention, you’ve been living it up in the lap of luxury, up here in the castle with the Baron, while the real monsters have been living off the sweat of their proverbial brows. There could be a little class war tension coming out here also. Not to mention that Francesca is, as far as they know, a human, and they are monsters. And the formula should go to the monsters! Racists.

mad monster party 54Francesca finds herself alone, betrayed by her “friends”. You reap what you sow, Francesca. And you sowed betrayal.

mad monster party 55“Before they catch me, I’ll send a note, via bat, to someone!”

mad monster party 56“And I’ll read this new edition of War & Peace I just got!”

mad monster party 57“Get her!” Make your own Library Ghost reference here.

mad monster party 58“You monsters! Stay away from me! I have a torch! And a twig!”

The monsters close in on her and she is forced to jump out of the window, into the moat below…

mad monster party 59Which is where the alligators live! EEP!

Fortunately, Felix Flanken was fishing in the moat, in a boat, with a dry coat.

mad monster party 60

"Oh, Felix! You saved me! How did I not see it all along?"

“Oh, Felix! You saved me! How did I not see it all along?”

mad monster party 62BAM! LOVE!

To be honest, Felix slaps her around a little bit, which makes her love him. I’m not kidding in the least. But I didn’t want to show that. Different times and whatnot. But I suspect that this scene could be why you never see Mad Monster Party on television.

mad monster party 63Francesca sings a song and does some erotic dance for him. Makes you wonder what her job was before, “Mad Scientist’s Assistant”. Not to mention that she clearly has some emotional issues if getting smacked causes her to fall madly in love with this nerd.

mad monster party 64“Felix! We have to get off this island! The monsters will be coming for us!”

mad monster party 65“Now see here, you monsters! We deserve that formula! Now let’s go get it! I think they’re in the woods!”

mad monster party 66I just liked this shot. A close-up on the crowd just seemed weird, to me.

mad monster party 67Francesca gets snagged by Audrey. It seriously is Audrey, because it even says, “Feed me!!!”

But this is no time to play with the local flora, Francesca! There are monsters in the woods, and they are after you!!!!

mad monster party 68mad monster party 69Phyllis has a small case of the tangle-eye in this picture.

mad monster party 70mad monster party 71The Invisible Man, ever the International Playboy, stalks through the jungle in his fez, smoking jacket, and sunglasses. No shoes, though, apparently. Yippee ki-yay, right?

mad monster party 72The Hunchback and Aquaman have teamed up.

mad monster party 73“Put up yer dukes, Wolfman!”

Felix really shows what he’s made of here. Deep down inside all of us is a fighting spirit, despite how much of an indoorsman we are. Felix has his glasses on and is aware of what is happening, and he chooses to fist-fight a werewolf!!!

mad monster party 74The monsters close in on Felix!

mad monster party 75“He has the potion! Aiieeeee!”

mad monster party 76“That’s right, bitches.”

mad monster party 77“Don’t kill us! We’ll do whatever you say!”

mad monster party 78Who was that mysterious message, that Francesca sent by bat, addressed to?

That is correct. King-muhfuggin-KONG!!!

mad monster party 79“YOU BETTER RUN!”

mad monster party 80“OH SNAP! Formula AND a giant monkey! Cheese it, boys, we’ve been out-classed!”

mad monster party 81“Maybe Francesca is in the Castle. That’s probably where the party is. The party she invited me to.”

mad monster party 82“And she sent me this picture. Look at those bazonkers!”

mad monster party 83“I love Francesca! And I love this photograph of her, even though she isn’t smiling!”

mad monster party 84“Ow! Sunuva bitch!”

mad monster party 85“Hello? Helloooooo? Francesca? Are you in there??? It’s me, your Kongy-poo!”

mad monster party 86“There you are!”

mad monster party 87“Run, boy! Run! I’ll take care of that giant idiot with this formula right here!”

mad monster party 88He also picks up the monsters and climbs a mountain, as all giant apes do instinctively.

mad monster party 89“Duhhhh, now I have Francesca AND you guys, who didn’t invite me to the party!”

mad monster party 90“When this is over, I’m gettin’ a divorce!”

mad monster party 91Never fear! The Baron has arrived in a plane with his army of zombie bellhops! Who are also in planes!

mad monster party 92mad monster party 93mad monster party 94Francesca: “Let me go, darling. You know it could never work. Our love was doomed from the start.”

Kong: “Uhhhh, ok.”

mad monster party 95“Thanks for picking me up, Felix! Let’s get the hell out of here!”

mad monster party 96“But what about my uncle?????”

mad monster party 97“Surprise, asshole! I have the formula!!!!!”

mad monster party 98I guess that answers that question.

mad monster party 99Felix: “Yay! Now we’ll go home and get married and have kids and stuff!”

Francesca: “Oh boo hoo hoo! I can’t do any of that stuff! I’m a robot!”

Felix: “That’s ok, Francesca, nobody’s perfect… perfect… perfect…”

Felix is a robot too! He glitches out, right here at the end. Now they can go home and build some laptops or calculator watches or something.

mad monster party 100

Before you go anywhere, I want to share this Mad Monster Party tribute video I made and put on youtube. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe to my channel, so you don’t miss any more terrible videos. There’s too many good videos out there, join me and watch my bad ones!

turn up the volume…

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5 Responses to Mad Monster Party

  1. Dead Dwarf Gag says:

    Indeed Disney wasn’t so uptight about such matters in 1967, and not even in 1977. A deployment or two back, I had the communal movie sharedrive all to myself on night, and opted to watch “Pete’s Dragon” for the first time in decades. I had nearly forgotten the all-out beer orgy/pub free-for-all musical number we get treated to at barely 20 minutes in, and smiling ruefully at the knowledge that there’s no way we could get anything like this from the company these days.

    On a somewhat related note, I just saw the Pecos Bill short for the first time since grade school just last night, and my 21st century sensibilities had me wondering how I would have taken the utterance of “redskins” had I been born thirty years later.

    • I’ve tried to reply to this comment numerous times, but our computer at work (where I am) keeps crashing.
      Anyway, I love the Pecos Bill and Johnny Appleseed shorts. The Paul Bunyan one made me cry. So much so that one of my “imaginary friends” was Paul Bunyan.
      I also love Peter Pan, politically incorrect bits and all.

  2. Dead Dwarf Gag says:

    If you had any desire to get better versed in the classic Mummy movies, they’re remarkably short and sweet–the original Universal series only had about an hour runtime each, so you could knock them off the list of flicks to get around to in about five hours and some change.

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