Bride of the Monster [1955]

For years, conventional wisdom has had it that Ed Wood Jr.'s Plan 9 from Outer Space is the ultimate "bad movie," a sort of Holy Grail of cinematic ineptitude. Often lost in the shuffle, though, is Bride of the Monster (fans of Tim Burton's biopic Ed Wood will already be familiar with it and the offscreen misadventures that went along with it). Bela Lugosi plays Dr. Vornoff, a mad scientist working on a race of superbeings in his lab. His process of clamping a metal lampshade onto the heads of his subjects and zapping them with radiation usually kills them, but the monstrous Lobo (Tor Johnson) survives and becomes Vornoff's assistant. Vornoff's plans go awry, though, when he tries to get a nosy reporter to mate with Lobo and winds up being given the atom treatment himself. Suffice it to say that there's a grappling match between Vornoff and Lobo until the evil doctor falls into a pit and wrestles a rubber octopus. Stock footage of lightning and an atomic explosion round things out for a great non sequitur of an ending. Knowing Bela Lugosi's sad state by the time that he and Ed Wood had teamed up makes it hard to watch this movie without feeling a pang of pathos for the 73-year-old actor; indeed, Bride was his last speaking role. Still, any movie with as many obvious gaffes in direction, editing, set design, narrative (heck, take your pick) as Bride is a must for any connoisseur of bad movies. And of course, the gargantuan Tor Johnson gets to utter the deathless line: "Time for... go to bed." --Jerry Renshaw

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