Every December new generations of fans discover Rankin-Bass classics on TV. ABC Family Channel devotes many hours of programming to their productions. It is easy to find numerous Christmas favorites produced by Rankin-Bass such as: Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer; Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town; The Year Without a Santa Claus; and Frosty the Snowman to name a few. However, I’ve always loved their tribute to the horror genre: Mad Monster Party.
I remember watching this “Animagic” movie every time it aired on TV when I was a kid. Rankin-Bass animated productions often used this stop-motion process where the characters visually seemed doll-like. The life-like aspect of the characters fascinated me. Although I was told I was watching a “cartoon,” the characters were so alive. In my opinion, Mad Monster Party would not have been as delightful had this process not been used. It was filled with some of the most interesting figures of vintage Hollywood horror and used a clever plot device gather these icons.
Second, I was awed at how Old Hollywood in general was honored in this movie. Felix was the “boy scout” of the story and his voice sounded like everyone’s favorite good guy, Jimmy Stewart. In fact, when we first meet Felix he is working in a drug store (just like George Bailey). Francesca had that drop dead Gina Lollobrigida figure and sexy look. The Baron’s henchman, Yetch, looked and sounded exactly like Peter Lorre. The Invisible Man was given a fez and seemed a little rotund. No wonder, when he spoke, he sounded just like Sydney Greenstreet of Casablanca fame (and you’ll recall he did wear a fez in that classic). Finally, when It crashes the party he bears a striking resemblance to King Kong. The climax of this film will take you back to the climax of the Fay Wray classic.