Partying on a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD, the 1967 animation classic "Mad Monster Party" features the story of the retiring Dr. Frankenstein who calls for a creepy convention of all monsters in order to find his worthy successor for his monster-making business. Those he invites are mostly Halloween favorites and familiar characters from horror tales including Count Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Werewolf, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Creature, the Invisible Man, and The Bride of Frankenstein, to name a few. This combo pack houses the film's HD and SD copies, along with a handful of supplements.
This Rankin-Bass stop-motion animated feature by director Jules Bass is a lightly amusing children's flick that depicts the 1960s cult culture. It presents an overall genial ambience targeting the young viewers. Leading the voices for the production's on-screen monsters are legendary stars Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller.
Made in the Rankin-Bass signature stop-motion technique dubbed as "Animagic," this family fantasy piece looks pretty clean and sharp in full frame format. For its age, its rudimentary animation still looks serviceable by today's standards. Images deliver an odd patchwork quality where shots don't really pop up well like in a more contemporary children's movie, but the picture's old-school attributes actually add to the novelty feel of the dated material.
The film's pallid palette is clearly not treated with a thorough restoration process as its muted colors fluctuate from light to dark in certain sequences. Tiny specks and scratches, along with reel change marks, are sometimes quite prominent. Yet, these blemishes don't really rise to the level of serious distraction. It is also worth noting that amidst its flaws, its charming demeanor still presents a workable color design with a fair amount of details and some moments that still render vivid colors on an HD screen.
This Blu-ray edition utilizes its source material's original mono track, which still sounds fairly adequate with clean and natural dialogue and goofy effects. The audio is not really hampered by its thin moments and the overall limitations of its mono mix. Considering the fact that it is a 1960s picture, it doesn't pick up detrimental signs of wear and tear that can really annoy its patrons. The material still offers some blasts of sonic energy that adds to the story's appeal, especially during its numerous musical scenes. Minor distortions are heard at times in the midrange orchestral cues, but fidelity remains generally good throughout the feature.
This disc edition contains a decent number of extras including "Mad Monster Party: Making of a Cult Classic," "It's Sheer Animagic! Secrets of Stop-motion Animation," "Groovy Ghouls! The Music of Mad Monster Party," "Sing-A-Longs," and the film's trailer. All these videos are presented in SD format. Subtitle options are available in English, English SDH, and Spanish.
"Mad Monster Party" is a kitsch material from Rankin-Bass. Originally swaying the baby boomers who grew up with it, this weirdly paced cult offering is a fine addition to the kiddy creepy genre. It adds a bit of wistful nostalgia to old-fashioned entertainment in stop-motion animation format. Although it may feel occasionally tiresome to the more modern audience, in the right context, this oddly dark and grim film's slow but eventful storyline is interestingly rife with allusions to many other esteemed horror movies before it.