Plot: What’s it about?
Baron von Frankenstein (voiced by Boris Karloff) has been making monsters for as long as he can remember, but he is now set to retire. As such, he needs to appoint a new leader for the organization of monsters and of course, that means he’ll need to call them all together for a monster bash. So the invitations are handed over to some bats and they’re sent out into the world, to inform the monsters of the upcoming event. Soon enough, the Hunchback, Dracula, The Creature, Dr. Jekyll (and his friend Mr. Hyde), the Werewolf, Fang (a.k.a. Frankenstein’s monster), the Invisible Man, and even Fang’s companion (voiced by Phyllis Diller) have all assembled at Frankenstein’s eerie mansion, to see who will take over the leader’s post. Of course, each of them thinks it will be them to be named the new leader, but only Frankenstein and his assistant Francesca (voiced by Gale Garnett) know for sure. In truth, the reins will be handed over to Frankenstein’s nephew Felix, who is not only not a monster, but he is a nerd to boot! Will this prove to be a good decision and beyond that, will this be the best monster bash of all time?
This Rankin/Bass production isn’t in the same mold as Rudolph or Frosty, but Mad Monster Party has the same kind of charm and magic. As a fan of the classic monster movies, I love seeing so many of them featured in one place, not to mention Boris Karloff’s presence. I won’t claim that this is a flawless project, as I often wonder why Phyllis Diller was brought in and some of the songs are substandard, but Mad Monster Party is a blast to experience. Yes, it has loads of camp value and seems overly silly most of the time, but it is well written and the animation is superb, which is enough to balance things out a little. Jack Davis (of Mad Magazine fame) designed the characters and they look terrific, especially Karloff’s character, with tons of detail and while the characters look somewhat different, the designs also remain true to the traditional elements. If you’re a fan of monster movies, have a good sense of humor, and appreciate camp, then Mad Monster Party is worth a look.
Video: How does it look?
Mad Monster Party is presented in full frame, as intended. This movie looks excellent, a vast improvement over even the remarkable DVD presentation. The visuals looks clean and sharp, which allows all the detail from the characters and backgrounds to shine through. The colors are vivid and bright, while contrast is rock solid throughout. I simply can’t imagine how this could look much better this, as this is a dynamic, remarkable treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack here is a DTS HD mono option, which sounds quite good. As you’d expect, mono limits the sound in some ways, but the track has a clean, natural sound. I didn’t pick up on the usual signs of age and wear, which means the audio isn’t hampered by thin moments or hiss. The music sounds good and dialogue is always clear, so no complaints there. As far as mono soundtracks go, this one is about as good as it gets. This release also includes English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to a DVD version of the movie, the extras include a trio of featurettes, 2 sing-a-longs, and the film’s trailer.