Friday, December 16, 2016

Monster Mash: The Movie – review

Directors: Joel Cohen & Alec Sokolow

Release date: 1995

Contains spoilers

Not to be confused with the year 2000 animation this is a live action musical. It was based around Bobby Pickett’s famous novelty song (1962) and a 1967 stage musical entitled, “I'm Sorry the Bridge Is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night”, which Pickett co-wrote with Sheldon Allman. The sad and sorry thing is, and I’m sorry if I’m breaking your rose tinted glasses, this should have stayed in the sixties, it really should have.

Apparently the film changes many elements from the stage show, but whilst the Rocky Horror Picture Show was predated by “I’m sorry…” by eight years the elements of the clean cut teens breaking down outside a mad scientist’s castle during a storm is now synonymous with the RHPS.

Scott and Mary
So, our two clean cut kids are Scott (Ian Bohen) and Mary (Candace Cameron Bure), who are dressed as Romeo and Juliet and on their way to a Halloween party at Debbie’s. Scott seems a little underwhelmed, he doesn’t feel the party will be very good but then the car breaks down. There is a house (for house insert castle) nearby with the lights on and they decide to go there to use the phone. As they get to the porch the heavens open.

Igor and Frankenstein
The door is answered by the hunchbacked Igor (John Kassir, who was the voice of the Cryptkeeper) and, having at first misplaced them as resurrectionists, he tries to shoo them away suggesting there is no phone and there is no one home. He even goes as far as to suggest they escape whilst they still can. All that is for naught as Dr Frankenstein (Bobby Pickett, the Boneyard Collection) comes to the door and invites them in. He takes them to a drawing room where he has various guests, fails to make a call to the rescue services before the phone goes dead and then the sound of a large crash is identified as the bridge being washed away.

Dracula and the draculettes
The guests are three draculettes – essentially the chorus, Count Vladimir Dracula (Anthony Crivello) and his wife the Countess Natasha (Sarah Douglas), and Wolfie (Adam Shankman, Rockula) who is with his mother (Mink Stole). Also present but not immediately introduced are the mummy, who is actually Elvis (E. Aron Price), and his manager Hathaway (Jimmie Walker). As things progress we have the Doctor decide he wants to transplant Scott’s brain into the Monster (Deron McBee, Revamped) – though that turns out to be a mind switch rather than physical transplant, Hathaway wants to sacrifice Scott as he is a virgin and Dracula wants to drink Mary’s (assumed to be) virgin blood and make her a bride (much to the chagrin of Natasha who sets her sights on Scott as a paramour). Indeed both Igor and Wolfie (or at least Wolfie’s mum) want Mary to be for them.

fangs on show
The ensuing slapstick, unfortunately, falls flat and the songs flatter still. This is the crux, the scripting doesn’t live up to the zaniness it aspires to and the musical numbers are third rate. Beyond Monster Mash not a single one stayed with me afterwards (whereas the Rocky Horror songs lodge deep as earworms one an all). As for vampire lore, Dracula can hypnotise and must be in his coffin at sun-up (this is directly stated but one feels it was more a daylight thing than the much rarer location version of the trope), if he doesn’t get there he “shrivels up like yesterday’s fruit”.

Honestly, this did so very little for me and, whilst I feel cruel, 2.5 out of 10 is all I can give it.

The imdb page is here.

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