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Bride of the Monster (1955) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Director Trademark (1)  | Spoilers (3)
According to Paul Marco, Edward D. Wood Jr. thought that Bela Lugosi's memory might not be very good, so for Lugosi's long speech, Wood had the prop man make cue cards. Lugosi, upset, insisted he didn't need cue cards and he would "memorize it." Wood still insisted on the cue cards, telling Lugosi, "We have to be safe". Lugosi went to Marco for help. He had Marco promise not to show him the cue cards during the scene. Marco held the cards at his side the whole time and Lugosi never looked over once. After Lugosi's performance the whole crew got up and applauded.
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Bela Lugosi's last speaking part in a film.
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This was Edward D. Wood Jr.'s only financially successful film upon original release.
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Bela Lugosi reportedly earned $1,000 for appearing in the film.
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Edward D. Wood Jr. began shooting in October 1954 on a tiny sound stage in Los Angeles called Ted Allan Studios. Production shut down three days later when he ran out of money.
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The film's sequel, Night of the Ghouls (1984), was completed in 1959. Due to financial issues, it was released in 1985.
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Despite the film's poor reputation, Bela Lugosi fans tend to like it. It casts him in a substantial role, offers him memorable lines, and Lugosi gives a surprisingly energetic performance for his age.
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Tony McCoy was cast as the male lead primarily because his father, Donald E. McCoy, owner of Packing Service Corp. (a meat packing company) and a major investor in the film, insisted that his son get the lead role.
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Producer Donald E. McCoy strongly disagreed with the use of nuclear warheads. He only agreed to finance the film if Edward D. Wood Jr. rewrote his original script, and made it end with a nuclear explosion as a warning against the use of nuclear weapons.
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In 1980, the book "The Golden Turkey Awards" claims that Bela Lugosi's character declares his manservant Lobo "as harmless as kitchen" [sic]. This allegedly misspoken line is cited as evidence of either Lugosi's failing health or Edward D. Wood Jr.'s incompetence as a director. However, a viewing of the film itself reveals that Lugosi said this line correctly "Don't be afraid of Lobo; he's as gentle as a kitten." An easier explanation would be that authors Michael Medved and Harry Medved saw the film in a theater setting with poor sound quality, and misheard. Unfortunately, the inaccurate claim keeps circulating.
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The character of Janet was originally written for Dolores Fuller, Edward D. Wood Jr.'s girlfriend.
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Edward D. Wood Jr. credited Alex Gordon with co-writing the story and screenplay as thanks for giving him the idea. Gordon actually contributed nothing to the script.
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Box office receipts from the film led to distributor Samuel Z. Arkoff being able to set up American International Productions.
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Stuntman Eddie Parker's participation in this film is still debatable. The story that he doubled Bela Lugosi stems from amateur fanzines in the early 1960s, and the assumption that Parker doubled Lugosi in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). He didn't. Parker doubled Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man; Australian actor/stuntman Gil Perkins doubled the Monster.
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The film uses both stock footage of a real octopus and a fake, rubber octopus in scenes where "the monster" interacts with actors. It is widely believed this is a prop from the film Wake of the Red Witch (1948). Contradictory accounts claim that Edward D. Wood Jr. either stole or rented the prop from Republic Pictures, which produced the earlier film.
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When Vornoff has Janet Lawton strapped to the table, he tells her she is about to become "The Bride of the Atom". "The Bride of the Atom" was this film's working title.
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The country of origin for Vornoff and Strowski is left unnamed. The only clues are that it is European and has its own dreams of conquest. By implication, the country which exiled Vornoff in the 1930s could be Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Strowski uses the term "master race", which is a key concept of Nazism.
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The film contains Cold War themes such as agents of foreign powers, nuclear power, and atomic weapons. They were prevalent enough in films of the 1950s and 1960s that some commentators have called them a subgenre in itself.
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This was the last film in which Bela Lugosi played a "a charismatic villain whose megalomania leads to downfall and destruction". This was the type of role that he is mainly remembered for.
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This film is part of what Edward D. Wood Jr. 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 (1959) and Night of the Ghouls (1984). Kelton is the only character to appear in all three films.
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While this was Bela Lugosi's last speaking role, it wasn't his last film. Lugosi had a silent role in The Black Sleep (1956). Lugosi appeared in Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) despite dying before filming began; he appears in archive footage from an unfinished film called "The Vampire's Tomb." Lock Up Your Daughters! (1969) was recycled footage from Lugosi's earlier films, possibly mixed with some new material.
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Throughout the film, the mute Lobo is implied to have an unspecified intellectual disability and to be of sub-human intelligence. However, he successfully operates complex machinery as if he had been trained to do so.
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The film includes a scene between Kelton the Cop and a newspaper seller. The latter is played by William 'Billy' Benedict, known as one of The Bowery Boys.
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The opening credits feature the exterior of a house, introducing the location where much of the plot will supposedly take place. It is uncertain whether this opening scene features a real location or theatrical scenery of some sort. Various theories exist, suggesting that the scene features the shot of a matte painting, a rear projection effect, or a miniature effect.
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According to Scott Zimmermam, an acquaintance of Edward D. Wood Jr., the mystery about the house depicted in the film had a solution. According to this version of the story, it was a normal two-story house located in a crowded neighborhood of Los Angeles. For the purposes of the scene, Wood reportedly had a canvas tarpaulin erected behind the house to mask the presence of other buildings in the background. The painted canvas created the illusion that the house itself was part of a painting. There are some doubts about his story.
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In a subplot, there are storms every night for three months and strange weather patterns. The characters attribute the phenomenon to the effects the nuclear explosions have on the atmosphere. This probably reflects actual anxiety of the 1950s about potential climate change. Until the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963), atmospheric nuclear weapons testing was used widely and recklessly. In the context of the film, the strange weather is implied to be a side-effect of the experiments of Vornoff, which apparently released radioactivity into the atmosphere.
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Tor Johnson also plays a character called Lobo in The Unearthly (1957), directed by Boris Petroff. This character also serves the main villain.
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The title "Bride of the Atom", which Vornoff uses for Janet in the bridal dress, is inexplicable unless the scientist is actually attempting to use Janet to replace his long-lost wife. One of his re-assuring lines to Janet concerning the experiment, "It hurts, just for a moment, but then you will emerge a woman . . . " sounds as if he's preparing her for the loss of her virginity.
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The scenes with captive Janet dressed in a bridal gown while restrained by leather shackles have led some reviewers to commend on their sadomasochistic nature.
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The reasons Loretta King was cast as the female lead instead of Dolores Fuller are disputed. Decades later, Fuller claimed that King bribed Edward D. Wood Jr. into casting her as Janet with promises of securing further funding for the film (King has vehemently denied this). Fuller wound up with a part in the film, but it was just a short appearance, not much more than a cameo.
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The first incarnation of the film was a 1953 script by Alex Gordon titled "The Atomic Monster", but a lack of financing prevented production. Edward D. Wood Jr. revived the project as "The Monster of the Marshes."
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While it remains uncertain who was the body double of Bela Lugosi, the two names most often cited are Eddie Parker and Red Reagan.
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Director Trademark 

Edward D. Wood Jr.: [angora] Lobo's apparent fetish with angora wool is a reflection of Wood's own fetish with the material.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Contrary to popular legend, Bela Lugosi cannot be seen fighting the rubber octopus in the sump (filmed in Griffith Park). Close examination of the scene reveals a stunt double doing battle. In fact, all the shots of Vornoff carrying Janet through the brush and moving down the hill, reveal a stunt double for Lugosi. Even the real close-ups of Lugosi during these sequences appear to have been shot on a stage with black backing.
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Edward D. Wood Jr. was unhappy with the daillies of Dr. Strowski's death, and asked cinematographer William C. Thompson for advice on how to make the other octopus attacks in the film look more convincing. Thompson told Wood that it would look better if he used a rain machine during the attacks, and had them lit only by lightning strikes, which Wood employed in the remaining attack scenes. Due to budgetary constraints, however, there was no time to refilm Strowski's death scene.
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The final scenes, with the mushroom cloud of the nuclear explosion, use stock footage from the blast of a hydrogen bomb.
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