Film / Bride of the Monster

"He tampered in God's domain."

Bride of the Monster (originally known as Bride of the Atom) is a 1955 horror film starring Bela Lugosi and produced, directed and co-written by Ed Wood. A sequel, entitled Night of the Ghouls, was made in 1959, but went unreleased for decades.

The story follows Dr. Eric Vornoff, who is experimenting with nuclear power in a primitive laboratory in his mansion to create an army of mutated supermen to do his bidding. Intrepid newspaper reporter Janet Lawton starts investigating, as do the local police. Meanwhile, an Eastern-bloc agent named Professor Strowksi appears and tries to persuade Dr. Vornoff to return to their homeland; instead, he gets fed to Vornoff's pet octopus-monster for getting too pushy. In the end, Vornoff is betrayed by his assistant (Tor Johnson as "Lobo", whipped one time too many), is turned into the monster he was trying to create, and is then blown up in an atomic explosion.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.

Tropes associated with this work:

  • Big Bad: Dr. Eric Vornoff, the Mad Scientist trying to make the supermen.
  • Bottomless Magazines: About 20 bullets are fired from Lt. Craig's revolver and it's never reloaded.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Oh so Ed Wood. Angora, cheap effects, sexually laden dialogue, it's all there.
    • The cinematography by Ted Allan and William C. Thompson, however, is remarkable. Some have noted The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari influence.
  • Damsel in Distress: Janet in the hands of Eric Vornoff.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: That was one unstable octopus.
  • Dirty Communists: Strongly implied about Strowksi.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The (obvious) prop octopus.
  • Evilutionary Biologist
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Recurring in the film, and mentioned specifically in dialogue. It is mentioned that there is a storm every night for the last three months.
  • He Tampered In God's Domain
  • Humans Are Morons: Vornoff is convinced that he is only called mad because humanity fails to comprehend his visionary work. "One is always considered mad, when one discovers something that others cannot grasp!".
  • The Igor, The Brute: Lobo
  • Immune to Bullets: Lobo takes about 5 bullets to the chest with no ill effects.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Janet.
  • I Love Nuclear Power
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Doctor Eric Vornoff completely lives this trope. He has a Mad Scientist Laboratory, an Igor, an eastern European accent, he wants to prove people who called him mad wrong, he has an Evil Laugh and his plan is to create a race of atomic supermen to conquer the world. He's played by Bela Lugosi after all who chews the scenery a lot.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Professor Strowski has spend years tracking-down Vornoff, and kept arriving at a location shortly after the departure of his target. He narrates that he missed Vornoff in Paris by a month, in London by a week, and at Loch Ness by a single day.
  • Noodle Incident: There are two references to Eric Vornoff contactic experiments at Loch Ness, but no mention of either their nature or their results.
  • Parental Abandonment: Eric Vornoff has not contacted his wife and son in twenty years.
  • Science Is Bad
  • Send in the Search Team: Strangely averted. Twelve persons have disappeared in a swamp area. When the police discovers the abandoned car of Janet within the area, indicating she is the 13th missing person, you could expect someone to organize a search party. Nope, her concerned, police detective fiancÚ and his partner instead rush... "to a coffee joint about ten miles back".
  • Stock Footage: It rarely matches with the scenes in which it is used.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Most of the film takes place in a swamp or the sole residence within it. It seems filled with natural death traps, as several scenes demonstrate. A cop muses that "This swamp is a monument to death. Snakes, alligators, quicksand, all bent on one thing- destruction!".
  • Take Over the World: Vornoff dreams of creating "a race of atomic supermen" to conquer the world in his name.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Lobo is fascinated with Janet and at some point approaches her with lustful intend, ignoring Eric's commands to leave the room. Eric grabs a nearby whip and whips the mute servant into submission.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Which is why Vorloff left his homeland in the first place. "But here, in this forsaken jungle hell, I have proven that I am all right!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: 12 people have disappeared near the old Willow place. Do the police search there? Nope.
  • Touch of the Monster
  • Weather Dissonance: Characters note that the near-constant rain is unnatural for their area. At one point Dick Craig and his partner Marty discuss the situation. "Something strange about this rain. Lightning's been going crazy too. Maybe, it's like the papers say- all these atom bombs explosions, distorted the atmosphere". It is implied that Vornoff's experiments may be affecting the weather, but the lines seem to also reflect then-contemporary anxiety about climate change.
  • When It Rains, It Pours: The film opens to a torrential downpour of water, with two hunters caught outside and trying to find shelter.
  • Wild Child: Lobo might be a grown-up version. Eric has been wondering the globe for twenty years, and claims to have discovered Lobo in the wildnerness of Tibet.
  • The X of Y
  • You're Insane!: Strowski is perfectly OK with the notion of Vornoff creating a "master race" to conquer the world. But he thinks this race should serve their homeland. When he hears that Vornoff wants to conquer the world in his own name, he replies with "You are mad".