Mad Monster Party (1967)


Rankin Bass’s “Mad Monster Party” (or “Mad Monster Party?”) is a monster bash of animated proportions that brings the great Boris Karloff aboard to lend credibility to an already fun animated film. Comprised of some excellent voice work and some classic stop motion animation from the Rankin Bass studio, “Mad Monster Party” sets down on the geeky and lovable Felix Flankin, a pharmacist with an allergy problem who is called to his old uncle Baron Boris von Frankenstein’s island for a party where he plans to announce to his monster community that he’s giving up the life of monster making and plans to hand over the business to his nephew.

In spite of hoping for an heir, Baron Boris is a rotten scientist who is saddened to learn that his nephew Felix is bumbling, and worst of all, kind hearted and good natured. The animation for the most part has its charms and it’s tough to hate Rankin Bass’ Animagic animation style that makes every environment seem artificial but to a point where it inspires smiles rather than groans. Every element of “Mad Monster Party” seems like a genuine novel attempt to satiate the appetites of horror fans while acting as a gateway film for potential horror fans of the under age variety.

Star Allen Swift is a man of many talents, voicing many of the characters in the film, and he’s a stand out in the character of Felix Flankin, who sounds an awful lot like Jimmy Stewart. His character is an inadvertent hero who finds himself holding a legacy of monsters and ghouls and chooses instead to romance the vivacious Francesca. When the monsters discover that Felix has no interest in the legacy of Baron Boris’ formulas and secrets of eternal life, they decide it best to lure Felix and murder him. The gorgeous Francesca plots with Frankenstein, his bride, and Dracula to kill off Felix and take over for Baron Boris.

But that’s harder than it seems when Felix evades their attempts at every turn with his violent allergies and casual personality. In one hilarious scene Dracula tries his best attack Felix, but simply can’t pin him down, resulting in crashes aplenty, ending with Dracula’s fangs lodged in a random tree. Boris Karloff has a blast with Baron Boris, playing off of folks like Phyllis Diller and Gale Garnett while bouncing great dialogue off of famous monsters like the Invisible Man, the Gillman, and King Kong. Who is not named King Kong for legal reasons. But you know it’s him. “Mad Monster Party” is a novel animated gem for the Halloween season, and it’s one that should be appreciated and enjoyed by horror buffs.