Blu-ray Review “Mad Monster Party”

Directed by: Jules Bass
Starring: Boris Karloff, Allen Swift, Gale Garnett, Phyllis Diller, Ethel Ennis
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Lions Gate
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 94 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 3 out of 5 stars

Lionsgate Home Entertainment is finally bringing one of Rankin/Bass’ classic films “Mad Monster Party” to Blu-ray. This stop-motion animation full-length film is arriving just in time to start getting in the mood for Halloween. The film packs some fun/catchy songs from Maury Laws & Jules Bass and great voice cast including Boris Karloff and Allen Swift. The Blu-ray itself isn’t really much more than an updated port of the 2009 DVD Special Edition release. Nonetheless it is definitely worth the purchase for all stop-motion and Rankin/Bass fans to owe this classic film on Blu-ray.

Premise: “Baron Von Frankenstein has decided to retire as the head of the Worldwide Organization of Monsters. But first, he must inform the other monsters about his plans. How to deliver the news? How else – through a Mad Monster Party! Von Frankenstein’s guests include a who’s who of Halloween favorites, including the Werewolf, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, and more. But who among them is fit to be the new head of the monsters?”

The film is being released as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, which is also a great bonus. The video looks fantastic with its 1080p transfer and presented in an full screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The film shows its age a little and the colors seems a little muted but nonetheless it very impressive transfer. The Monaural DTS-HD Master Audio track is impressive this film and its fun songs. I look forward to introducing this film to my daughter (now three months old) and share it each Halloween.

The special features are the same as the 2009 Special Edition. There are three Behind-the-scenes featurettes including on this release. My favorite was “Mad Monster Party: Making of a Cult Classic”, which features interviews from Rankin/Bass historian Rick Goldschmidt and Arthur Rankin Jr. “Groovy Ghouls: The Music of Mad Monster Party” is a great but short look at the films music with Maury Laws. The last one is called “It’s Sheer Animagic! Secrets of Stop-Motion Animation”, it is a look into what it takes to work with puppets. Lastly there are two bonus sing-along tracks and a trailer included.

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