Thursday, October 16, 2014

Monster Team-up Reflection #20: The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters

With the success of "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (and the duo's monster ventures that followed), it was only a matter of time that the beloved Bowery Boys indulged in similar shenanigans. Then again, the boys had previously touched comedic, spooky turf (case in point, "Ghost Chasers", "Spook Busters" and two others co-starring Bela Lugosi: "Ghosts on the Loose" and "Spooks Run Wild"), but "The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters" (1954) comes closest to matching Bud and Lou's monster-fueled formula.

In truth, director Edward Bernds' film (which he scripted with Elwood Ulman), is another "impressions of" blend, with no actual famous, trademarked monsters appearing, but there's an honorable ensemble of eclectic entities nonetheless to churn the same sort of humorous chills. 

The plot, like "Abbott and Costello Meet Frank", deals with a brain transplant prospect. In this instance, it's foolish ol' Huntz Hall, as Sach, who becomes the object of such desires, as the boys, led by Leo Gorcey, as Slip Mahoney, visit a creepy, old home, in hopes that the occupants might sell it. (The boys wish to utilize it as a much needed lot where their neighborhood kids can play without causing damage to surrounding property.)

However, it turns out that the family inhabitants, the Gravesends, are, indeed, a most peculiar bunch, much in the "You Can't Take it With You" vein, and in that regard, forerunners to television's "Addams Family" and "the Munsters", though with an insidious bent. 

Derek, played by the great character actor, John Dehner, desires Sach's brain for his pet gorilla, Cosmos. His equally wacky brother, Anton, played with relish by Lloyd Corrigan, wants the poor sap's organ for his robot, Gorog. 

The females are just as auspiciously weird, with their sister, Amelia, played by Ellen (Grandma Walton) Corby, seeking flesh to feed to her facially attributed, man-eating plant, and their otherwise fetching niece, Francine, played by Laura Mason, an apparent vampire, who adds further to the silly thrills.

The main scene-grabber, next to flexible-face Hall, is Paul Wexler, who plays the Lurch-like butler, Grissom. He even turns into a hairy Hyde in one effective scene, followed by Hall enduring the same, bestial process later down the line.

The need to implant Sach's brain into either gorilla or robot is perplexing at best, but as in "Abbot and Costello Meets Frank", the crazy concept sure helps pile on the laughs. Oh, by the way, gorilla and robot do face off in the final reel: not the most raucous match ever captured, but amusingly staged all the same. 

Indeed, this stands as one of the boys' best. Yep, the kids will love it; adults, too, especially around the Halloween. It's only a little more than an hour long, so is conveniently designed to thwart any otherwise dull evening with a fast dose of spooky, family cheer. 


  1. Tidbit Time: As some of you may know (and as should come as no surprise), Wexler auditioned as Lurch for "Addams Family".

    1. PS: There's hidden meaning to a Wexler pic I posted. Can you guess what it is?