Bride of the Monster

Bride of the Monster (originally known as Bride of the Atom) is a 1955 horror-science fiction film starring Béla Lugosi in a traditional mad scientist role. It was produced, directed and co-written by Edward D. Wood, Jr. A sequel, entitled Night of the Ghouls, was made in 1959 but went unreleased for decades.


Lugosi's character, Dr. Eric Vornoff, is experimenting with atomic energy in a primitive laboratory in his mansion. His goal is to create an army of mutated supermen to do his bidding. Newspaper reporter Janet Lawton (a role originally intended for Dolores Fuller but given to Loretta King Hadler) starts investigating, as do the local police. Meanwhile, an East German "monster hunter", Professor Strowksi (George Becwar), is creeping around trying to persuade Dr. Vornoff to return to their homeland.

Myths about the film

Some sources say Wood stole the mechanical octopus (originally used for the John Wayne film Wake of the Red Witch) from a props storage vault at Republic Studios. Other sources insist Wood legitimately rented the octopus, along with some cars, from Republic. Regardless, its inner mechanism was missing, and Lugosi "struggled" with it by moving its arms around in an effort to make it seem alive. The filming of these scenes as well as the production of the film in general were played to comic effect in the movie Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton.

The book The Golden Turkey Awards claims that Lugosi's character declares his manservant Lobo (Tor Johnson) "as harmless as kitchen" (sic). This allegedly misspoken line is cited as evidence of either Lugosi's failing health/mental faculties, or as further evidence of Wood's incompetence as a director. However, a viewing of the film itself reveals that Lugosi said this line correctly, the exact words being, "Don't be afraid of Lobo; he's as gentle as a kitten."

Rudolph Grey's book Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr. contains anecdotes regarding the making of this film. Grey notes that participants in the original events sometimes contradict one another, but he relates each person's information for posterity regardless. He also includes Ed Wood's claim that one of his films made a profit and surmises that it was most likely Bride of the Monster but, in a situation similar to the play in Mel Brooks' The Producers, he oversold the film and couldn't reimburse the backers.


This film is part of what Wood aficionados refer to as "The Kelton Trilogy", a trio of films featuring Paul Marco as "Officer Kelton", a whining, reluctant policeman. The other two films are Plan 9 from Outer Space and Night of the Ghouls.

The television program Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured Bride of the Monster in episode 423. Johnson, in the character of Lobo, also appeared in The Unearthly, a non-Wood film which was made years after Bride of the Monster, but was featured on MST3K a year before Bride. Johnson also appeared in a third MST3K episode, The Beast of Yucca Flats. The character of Lobo appeared again in Bride's sequel, Night of the Ghouls, which was never MSTed.

As mentioned in an episode of the 1986 syndicated series, the Canned Film Festival, Bride of the Monster was Bela Lugosi's last speaking role in a feature film. His last appearance in a film was Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Lugosi's "Atomic Supermen" speech from this film is referenced in the Futurama episode "A Fishful of Dollars" with Professor Farnsworth ranting about creating his own race of atomic monsters.


  • Sloan, Will (2005). "Can Your Heart Stand the Shocking Facts About Kelton the Cop A/K/A Paul Marco?". Filmfax (106): pp. 88–89.

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