Posted by: Mark | March 28, 2019

Monster Club

I love the idea of horror anthology movies but most of the actual ones are let-downs. I had searched for years to see Robert Bloch’s Asylum, but when I found it, I was sorely disappointed.

I was also looking for Vincent Price and John Carradine’s The Monster Club. After Asylum, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to expectations.

Last night I finally saw it. It wasn’t the greatest anthology of all times but I liked it.

The Monster Club starts out with famed horror writer, John Carradine, encountering a starving man played by Vincent Price. Price begged for help and when Carradine agreed, Price revealed long canine teeth and bit his neck.

Thankfully, he didn’t bite deeply, just enough to sate his hunger. In gratitude, the vampire invites the writer to The Monster Club.

With other actors, this wouldn’t work but Price and Carradine play with the material so well. The other monsters at the club are mainly extras in rubber masks or shock wigs. At first I compared them to The Muppet Show but honestly Jim and Brian Hensen had much higher production values. The movie had to walk a careful tightrope between serious and campy not to fail. For the most part, it towed the line.

At the club, the vampire asked for a glass of B+ but had to settle for common type O. The writer got tomato juice to blend in. Okay, that’s a good gag but shouldn’t the waiter mess up their order so both of them take a sip, wince a little, then exchange glasses?

There are many missed opportunities. In the second story, a group of government anti-vampire squad headed by Donald Pleasence go after a boy’s undead father. They tricked the boy into revealing that his father was in hiding and used to be a ruler in continental Europe, As the movie played out, Pleasence and his team drive a stake into the dad but are thwarted by “a stake-proof vest.”

Wouldn’t it be a better ending if Pleasence struggled but defeated the father, and was about to kill him but then did a double-take and said, “You’re a vampire? Sorry, we thought you were a Nazi. Would you like to join our team?”

The weakest element of the movie were the song segments between stories. This was years before MTV and the attempt at music videos didn’t age well.

Overall, as weak as some of the parts were, Carradine and Price just owned this material. They make The Monster Club worth watching.

So I wish it was better but as a huge fan of Vincent Price and a pretty big fan of John Carradine, I enjoyed it well enough.

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