13 Days of Halloween: Day Nine

Today, I’d like to bring your attention to some lighter fair; a pair of spooky-yet-lighthearted films that were staples of my youth. Both, not coincidentally, are currently available on Netflix for instant viewing, both featuring Boris Karloff, too.

The first is Mad Monster Party? (the question mark really is part of the title). Remember those stop-motion animated specials that Rankin-Bass did for Christmas and Easter? Rudolph, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc.? Well, many people don’t know that they also did a horror-themed one called Mad Monster Party? Basically, take all of the old classic horror monsters; Frankenstein’s Monster (as well as his bride– played by Phyllis Diller!), the Mummy, the Wolfman, Dracula, etc. and throw ’em in together with a schlub pharmacy assistant who doesn’t really realize what’s going on around him and have a ball.

The second is The Comedy of Terrors, a quirky but very funny comedy/horror film starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Basil Rathbone. Price plays a murderous mortician who drums up his own business when times are slow, and the whole thing turns into wonderful farce when one of his victims turns out not to be as dead as Price might want him to be. Mix in a neglected wife with a singing voice that can (literally) shatter glass and there’s a lot of good fun here. It’s wonderful to see the range that these classic actors have, stretching from horror to slapstick comedy and back again. Well worth watching right after Tales of Terror, which featured much of the same cast just the year before.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.