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Western Animation: Mad Monster Party
Promotional Art by Frank Frazetta

A Rankin/Bass Productions Stop Motion puppet animated (called "Animagic") feature-length production from 1967, Mad Monster Party is a get together of many classic monsters, as designed by MAD cartoonist Jack Davis. Baron von Frankenstein (voiced by Boris Karloff), creator of the Monster and his Mate, has created a vial of potion capable of destroying matter. Delighted by his latest success, the Baron decides to retire while he is still on top, and invites nearly a dozen monsters to the Isle of Evil for a party. There, at the party, he intends to retire as head of the Worldwide Organization of Monsters, and hand over the position, and the secret of destruction, to his nephew, the nerdy Felix Flanken.

Attending the party are the Monster and his Mate (voiced by Phyllis Diller), Dracula, the Werewolf, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man, the Creature, Dr. Jekyll and his alter-ego, and the Mummy. Also present are the Baron's assistant, the attractive redhead Francesca, and the zombie butler Yetch who is obsessed with her. Not invited to the party is a monster the Baron only refers to as "It," who, in the climax, is revealed to be King Kong.

Needless to say, when the monsters find out that the Baron is handing over his secrets to his nephew instead of one of them, they are outraged. Hilarity and chaos ensue.

The film was under-promoted and did poorly in its theatrical release, but has since become a cult classic. Five years later, Rankin/Bass would give the film an unofficial (and somewhat illogical) sequel of sorts, Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters (1972), a 2D television film for the anthology series ABC Saturday Superstar Movies, using most of the original Jack Davis character designs, though dropping Phyllis Diller for a "Monstress" who somewhat resembled this film's Francescanote .

Today, Mad Monster Party is considered by many to be the precursor to The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Tropes present in Mad Monster Party include:

  • Actor Allusion: The Monster's Mate is basically a monster version of Phyllis Diller. She has Phyllis Diller"s signature laugh, and refers to the Monster as "Fang."
    • In Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters, the Werewolf is given the name "Ron Chandley", while The Invisible Man is given the name "Claude."
    • Perhaps the greatest of all: Boris Karloff went from playing the Frankenstein monster to playing Dr. Frankenstein (named Boris).
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The Wolf Man.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Felix, which allows him to encounter the Wolf Man and the Invisible Man without noticing anything amiss.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Monster's Mate is totally not the Bride of Frankenstein; Dracula is certainly not Dracula, despite his Hungarian accent (see, he has a monocle — that proves it!); the Creature is definitely not from the Black Lagoon; the Werewolf is positively not The Wolf Man (even if he is introduced as "Ron Chandley" in the sequel); — and how could anyone even begin to think that "It" had anything to do with any movie ever previously made?
  • Cat Fight: There's one between hot babe Francesca and The Monster's Mate Phyllis Diller — complete with dubbed-in meows.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The reason the Baron doesn't invite "It" to the party is because he found that monster's behavior disgusting.
  • Executive Meddling: The film was originally released through Embassy Pictures, whose executives insisted to director Jules Bass that the film was too short for a feature — hence the added scenes of the corpse flying corps and Chef Mafia Machiavelli.
  • Expy: In the five years between Mad Monster Party and Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters, The Hunchback of Notre Dame has gone gray, changed his name to Fritz Igor, and become Dr. Frankenstein's assistant.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: The Monster and his Mate play an important role in the story and setting.
  • Haven't You Seen X Before??: The early scene where Felix meets the sailors at the dock after several monsters have already boarded the ship has a variant of this. The sailors, spooked by the behavior of the monsters, react to the normal-looking Felix with fear.
    Felix: Golly. What's the matter with them? Haven't they ever seen a tourist before?
  • Heel-Face Turn: Francesca, after Felix kisses her.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Felix falls for Francesca almost right away.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Phyllis Diller voices the Monster's Mate.
  • The Igor: Yetch.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Boris Karloff as Baron von Frankenstein. Phyllis Diller as the Monster's Mate (down to her signature laugh).
  • Island Base: The Isle of Evil is the home of Baron von Frankenstein and his creations. The air space around it is patrolled by zombies flying fighter planes.
  • Kid with the Leash - Monster's Mate
  • Medium Awareness: After Francesca has an Inner Monologue about her plan to use Dracula to steal Baron von Frankenstein's secret of destruction, the Monster's Mate tells the Monster (AKA Fang) that she suspects Francesca is up to something. "Besides, it's her own fault for thinking too loud."
  • Monster Mash
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Yetch's voice and character design are modeled on Peter Lorre; The Invisible Man's (insofar as he can be seen) on Sydney Greenstreet. Felix's voice is very similar to Jimmy Stewart's, though the character design does not resemble him much.
    • In the sequel, though Baron von Frankenstein is voiced by Allan Swift, he still sounds like Boris Karloff; Dracula sounds even more like a stereotypical Bela Lugosi; and Harvey's doctor sounds rather like Ronald Colman.
    • The ship captain sounds rather like Peter Ustinov.
  • Pokémon Speak: All Mr. Hyde ever says is his own name. "Hyde, Hyde, Hyde!"
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: At one point, the Monster's Mate has trouble with the word "Unanimous," switching to "A hun'red percen' "
  • Robotic Reveal: While Francesca's not exactly human nature is hinted at throughout the movie, Felix isn't even hinted at until he starts glitching out during the finale.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
    • Dracula refers to himself as the original Batman at one point.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Yetch is obsessed with Francesca.
  • Skeletal Musicians: Little Tibia and the Fibias, a rock band composed of skeletons.
  • Talking to Himself: Allen Swift voiced all the characters with the exceptions of Baron von Frankenstein, Francesca, and the Monster's Mate.
  • Villain Song: "Our Time To Shine" qualifies.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Or, in the case of the Hunchback, pink.

IgorHorror Animated FilmsMonster House
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The Lord of the RingsThe Dark Age of AnimationMagilla Gorilla
Le SamouraiFilms of the 1960sMagical Mystery Tour
The ManitouCreator/Magnetic VideoDon't Drink The Water

alternative title(s): Mad Monster Party
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