Mad Monster Party
The only theatrical feature from Rankin/Bass -- the outfit behind countless animated holiday TV specials including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman -- this quaint and colorful production pays amusing homage to nearly every movie monster in Universal's catalog, even to the extent of recruiting Boris Karloff to supply the voice of Baron Von Frankenstein. The story begins as the aged Baron invites all members of the Worldwide Organization of Monsters to attend the unveiling of his ultimate creation, a potion capable of destroying all matter. Before the assembled guests -- including Count Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon -- Frankenstein announces his retirement as the group's leader and the selection of his successor: his bookish, allergy-ridden nephew Felix. Chaos ensues, as nearly every creep and creature on the list begins conspiring against each other in a bid for the coveted office, including the Baron's outrageously voluptuous assistant Francesca (whose very presence stretches the film's "G" rating). The "Animagic" technique of stop-motion puppets is a refreshing medium for the larger-than-life monsters, and the parade of horror movie put-ons should delight viewers of all ages. Though the original negative was believed lost to neglect after the film's poor box-office performance, a pristine print has resurfaced, much to the delight of devoted fans who first discovered this gem via Halloween TV airings.