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Bride of the Monster

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423 - Bride of the Monster
Air Date January 23, 1993
MST3K Director Kevin Murphy
Movie Director Edward D. Wood Jr.
Year 1956
Cast Bela Lugosi
Tor Johnson
Harvey B. Dunn
Bud Osborne
Paul Marco
Short Hired! - pt. 1
Preceded by 422 - The Day the Earth Froze
Followed by 424 - Manos: The Hands of Fate

(After being tied up and turned into an "atomic superman", Dr. Vornoff breaks out of the leather straps that bind him to the table) Oh no, now he has the strength of twenty heroin addicts!

  — Crow

The Short



The short "Hired!"

A Chevrolet sales manager is having poor results with his staff, so he gets some advice from his father.


The Movie


MST3K bride of the monster

Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson in Bride of the Monster

The film opens to the scene of an old, dark house in a stormy night. In the nearby woods, two hunters are caught in the "raging thunderstorm". Their conversation reveals that every night of the previous three months had its own storm, which the hunters find to be unnatural weather. They decide to seek refuge in Willows House, identifying the old house, which is supposedly abandoned and haunted. When they reach Willows House, they find it to be occupied and the current owner repeatedly denies them hospitality. One of the hunters attempts to use his rifle to force his entry into the house, but at this point a menacing giant (played by Tor Johnson) appears and scares the intruders away

The camera follows the owner of the house to its interior. A secret passage, behind the fireplace, leads to a secret laboratory within Willows House. From a small window, the owner observes the resident "monster" of the house: a giant octopus. The "monster" is released from its tank and sent after the intruders. Soon one of the fleeing hunters is killed by the octopus, while the other is captured by the giant man. Back in the House, the captive (and through him the audience) is introduced to its human residents. The owner is a scientist, Dr. Eric Vornoff (Bela Lugosi), and the giant is his mute assistant, Lobo (Tor Johnson). The captive sits on an operating table, an unwilling test subject in a human subject experiment. Vornoff helpfully explains that the experiment will either give the captive the strength of twenty men, or kill him. Which is what happened to Vornoff's previous test subjects.

The man dies on the operating table and the scientist is left visibly disheartened. His experiment has failed.

The next scene opens to newspaper headlines, announcing that "the monster" has claimed two more victims. In a police station, officer Kelton (Paul Marco) asks to work the case of the monster of Lake Marsh. His superior Tom Robbins (Harvey B. Dunn), captain of the homicide department, turns him down and instead asks to see lieutenant Dick Craig (Tony McCoy, producer Donald E. McCoy's son). The conversation between Robbins and Craig establishes that there are now 12 missing victims, and the police still has yet to determine what happened to them. The reporter behind the newspaper reports is Janet Lawton (Loretta King Hadler, in a role originally intended for Dolores Fuller) who happens to be Craig's fiancée. Soon enough, Janet forces her way into the office and joins the conversation. Robbins and Janet verbally spar concerning the scarce and inconclusive evidence of the case, and whether it is rational to claim that monsters exist in the 20th century. Janet states that she is going to Lake Marsh to personally investigate the place and leaves the station, though Craig ineffectually protests against her idea.

Janet and Margie in Bride of the Monster

The camera follows Janet to the offices of the newspaper where she works. She visits the archives of the newspaper, asking the librarian Tillie (Ann Wilner) permission to research previous news items concerning Willows House. Then she leaves the offices, presumably to start her investigation. At the police station, Robbins and Craig have a meeting with an intellectual from Europe, Professor Vladimir Strowski (George Becwar). He claims that there are significant similarities between the case of the Monster of Lake Marsh and that of the Loch Ness Monster. He seemingly agrees to assist the police in investigating the Marsh, but not at night, which somewhat puzzles Robbins. As night falls and another storm starts begins, recalling the introduction and its comments on the weather, Janet drives alone to Lake Marsh. Due to poor visibility, Janet drives her car off the road and into a ravine. She leaves the car, and is immediately threatened by a large snake. As she passes out from fear, Lobo wrestles with the snake to rescue her. In a brief scene alluding to fetishism, Lobo caresses and smells the beret of Janet, made of Angora wool. Then places it in his pocket, evidently finding further use for it. Janet wakes up to find herself a prisoner of Vornoff, who uses hypnosis to put her back to sleep.

The following day, Craig and his partner drive to the area around Lake Marsh. The scene reveals that the area is a swamp, where snakes, alligators, and quicksand are constant dangers to visitors. The partners also discuss the strange weather, and mention that the newspapers could be right about "the atom bomb explosions distorting the atmosphere". Another bit of dialogue points that Strowski left on his own, missing his scheduled appointment with the police. This introduces the notion that Strowski has his own hidden agenda. The duo eventually discovers Janet's abandoned car and realize she is the 13th missing victim. Though supposedly worried about her safety, they leave the swamp to rush to "a coffee joint about ten miles back" (10 miles = 16.09 kilometers). Meanwhile, Strowski drives a rented car to the swamp. Through the phone of the coffeehouse, Craig and his partner alert Robbins about Janet's disappearance. The Captain starts researching her movements and contacts prior to the disappearance.

The scene shifts to Willows House. Janet wakes up and takes in her strange surroundings. Vornoff and Lobo are there to greet her and offer tea. Vornoff assures her that Lobo is harmless, but the giant seems fascinated with her and approaches the female captive with questionable intent. Vornoff resorts to belting his assistant to drive him away, revealing to Janet the violent and despotic nature of her host. Then a conversation begins between the captor and the captive. Janet already knows, through searching in old records, that Vornoff purchased his residence in 1948. She attempts to reveal her identity as a reporter but he already knows, having searched her purse and found her press pass. He offers a brief background explanation for Lobo, mentioning that the giant is just human and that Vornoff found him in the "wilderness of Tibet". Vornoff abruptly ends the conversation by hypnotically placing Janet back to sleep. He orders Lobo to transport the captive to Votnoff's private quarters

Meanwhile, Strowski silently approaches Willows House and enters through the unlocked front door. While the intruder searches the house, Vornoff arrives to greet him. They are revealed to be old acquaintances. Strowski explains that he has spent years tracking down Vornoff. They have had several near-encounters, in Paris, London, and at Loch Ness. Their (unspecified) country of origin is interested in the exiled scientist's groundbreaking experiments with atomic energy and wants to recruit him. At this point Vornoff narrates the story of his own past. He was once regarded as a genius of the scientific world. Two decades prior to the events of the film, Vornoff had suggested using experiments with nuclear power which could create superhumans of great strength and size. In response, he was branded a madman and exiled by his country, permanently parted from his wife and son. He has experienced years of being hunted, despised, and living like an animal. Vornoff re-explains that his life goal is to create supersoldiers capable of conquering the world, and Strowski enthusiastically embraces the concept of creating a master race. But then a fundamental difference in their goals emerges. Strowski has dreams of conquest in the name of their country, while Vornoff dreams of his creations conquering in his own name. He has no loyalty to the country which exiled him.

Realizing this, Strowski pulls a gun on his old colleague. At this point Lobo arrives to defend his master. The confrontation ends with Vornoff feeding his would-be ally to his octopus.

By late evening, Craig and his partner return to the swamp and discover Strowski's abandoned car. The partners part ways in their search of the area, with Craig heading towards Willows House. There is a scene where he sinks in quicksand and is threatened by an alligator, but he manages to save himself. Back in the secret laboratory, Vornoff uses a wave of his hand to summon Janet to his current location. She arrives dressed as a bride, summoned through telepathy. He has decided to use her as the next subject of his experiments. Lobo is reluctant to take part in this experiment, and Vornoff uses a whip to re-assert his control over his slave and assistant. Meanwhile, Craig has entered the house and accidentally discovers the secret passage. He is himself captured by Vornoff and Lobo.

The monster's defeat

As the experiment is about to begin, the camera shifts to Lobo, who is visibly distressed. In an effective mute scene, the viewer is introduced to the inner struggle of the mute giant. He is torn between his loyalty to Vornoff and his infatuation with Janet.

Taking his decision, the slave rebels and attacks his master. Vornoff pulls a gun at his servant, but his bullets seem to have no effect. Lobo knocks him out, releases Janet, and transports the unconscious Vornoff to the operating table. The scientist becomes the subject of his own human experiment. Janet releases Craig, who briefly and ineffectually attempts to stop Lobo. Craig is once again defeated and knocked out. This time the experiment works and Vornoff is transformed to an atomic-powered superhuman being. He and Lobo physically struggle with each other, and this time Vornoff emerges the victor. Their fight destroys the laboratory and starts a fire. Vornoff grabs Janet and escapes from the flames. Robbins and other officers arrive to help Craig. The police pursues Vornoff through the woods. As it is night, there is another thunderstorm and a lightning strike further destroys Willows House. With his home and equipment destroyed, a distressed Vornoff abandons Janet and merely attempts to escape. Craig rolls a rock at him and lands him in the water with the octopus. The struggles with a nuclear explosion obliterate both combatants, apparently the end result of the chain reaction started at the destroyed laboratory. The film ends with Robbins commenting that Vornoff "tampered in God's domain".[1]


  • There are rumors that Ed and his friends stole the rubber octopus from Republic Studios (as shown in the film "Ed Wood"), however, records exist showing it was rented, along with some cars. Unfortunately, either none of Ed’s crew could figure out how to work the motor that made the octopus’ tentacles move or they forgot to take the motor. Because of this, whenever anyone was attacked by the octopus, the victim had to pull the tentacles around himself, and writhe and struggle to make it seem as though he were actually being attacked.
  • Bela Lugosi was only paid $1,000 for his appearance in this film.
  • Ed wrote this film with his then-girlfriend Dolores Fuller in mind as the lead. However, the part was given to Loretta King and Delores was recast as a secretary. Money soon ran out and, while production was temporarily halted, Ed found a young actor named Tony McCoy whose father was wealthy. Mr. McCoy agreed to finance the film under the conditions that his son Tony play the lead.
  • A sequel (of sorts) to Bride of the Monster was made in 1959. Entitled Night of the Ghouls, the film languished in a photo lab for over 20 years, as Wood couldn't afford the processing fees. The film was finally released in 1987 and is available on home video. These two films along with Plan 9 from Outer Space form the "Kelton Trilogy", named after the character Officer Kelton (played by Paul Marco) who appeared in all three films. Tor Johnson also reprised the role of Lobo.

The Episode

Host Segments


Joel sees what Crow dreams about

Prologue: Joel connects a machine to Crow's brain to see what he dreams about. It involves money and Tom Servo in a candy striper's outfit.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Frank and Dr. F are having a fight, giving the Mads the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their Tough Love Seat. Joel and the Bots have Microwave Faith Popcorn, predicting all of the trends of the future!

Segment Two: Joel and the Bots perform "Hired! The Musical".

Willy the Waffle

Segment Three: Joel, Crow, and Tom begin by discussing the octopus from the film. Somehow the conversation wanders to cold tater tots and olive loaf. Everyone is grossed out and confused.

Segment Four: Willy the Waffle returns, this time to defend advertising. Willy the Waffle blurts out "knew your father, I did", one of 'Mr.' B. Natural's lines.

Segment Five: Cambot re-edits the ending of the movie so it makes more sense, with Joel and the Bots playing Bela’s part. They read a letter. The Mads pretend to be Bela and Tor. Frank is disturbed.

Stinger: Bela's weird face as he's being shot by the police during the climax


Obscure References

"Turn it off!  Turn it OFFFFFF..."

  • Tom Servo's reaction to Crow's dream references the reaction George C. Scott's character had to seeing his daughter in a porn movie in the movie "Hardcore ."

"Hey isn't that the John Belushi biography?

  • A reference to "Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi" by journalist Bob Woodward.

"Jam Handy to the Rescue"

  • A reference to the song "Jim Dandy", sometimes known as "Jim Dandy to the Rescue".

"Why does he have to read 'The Joy Luck Club'?"

  • "The Joy Luck Club" is a book by Amy Tan which focuses on the lives of four Chinese American families.

"Cop Killer!"

  • A reference to a very controversial song released around the time this premiered, "Cop Killer " by Ice-T's band, Body Count.

"Guess I shouldn't be trying to sell cars in Amish Country."

  • The Amish are a Christian religious denomination that are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt modern convenience, like cars.

"I have often walked down this street before"

  • The first line from the song "On the Street Where You Live" from the musical "My Fair Lady".

"Submitted for your approval..."

  • A reference to Rod Sterling's narration in "The Twilight Zone"

"Hey, Edna Ferber and Joseph Kennedy"

  • Edna Ferber was and American novelist, playwright and author. Joseph Kennedy was an American businessman, political figure and father of President John F. Kennedy.

"Moon for the Misbegotten" "Death of a Sales Manager"

  • "A Moon for the Misbegotten" is a play by Eugene O'Neill. "Death of a Salesman" is a play by Arthur Miller.


  • J'accuse ("I accuse") was an open letter published on January 13, 1898, in the newspaper L'Aurore by the influential writer Émile Zola.

"Bella Abzug is actually a lot scarier than Bela Lugosi"

  • Bella Savitsky Abzug (July 24, 1920 - March 31, 1998) was an American lawyer, Congresswoman, social activist and a leader of the Women's Movement.

"I wonder who did his gowns for this one?"

  • Director Ed Wood was notorious for wearing women's clothing.

"Did you notice? No Hatfields?"

  • The Hatfields and McCoys were two rural families who engaged in a notorious long-running feud.

"I'm dead, Jim"

  • A reference to Leonard "Bones" McCoy from Star Trek who occasionally had to inform Captain James T. Kirk that a crew member had died.

"Movie-beater Paints, for bad American movies, like yours"

  • A reference to "Weatherbeater Paints"

"Look out Mr. Trevino!"

  • Lee Trevino is an American Golfer who was struck by lightning at the 1975 Western Open.

"Hey, it's Boo Radley's house."

  • Boo Radley is a character in Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" who is a well-known shut-in.

"Hi, it's Curt Gowdy. Can me and Phil Harris come in?

  • Curt Gowdy was an American Sportscaster and Phil Harris was an American Singer.

"I just don't get that Gary Larson."

  • Gary Larson was the mind behind the bizarre "Far Side" newspaper comic.

"Your opium shipment's in Mr. Lugosi, sir."

  • Bela Lugosi was addicted to Methadone and Morphine, both Opium derivatives.

"It's a sinister day in the laboratory, a sinister day in the lab"

  • A parody of the lyrics to the theme to "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood". "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor".
MST3K 423 Promo00:45

MST3K 423 Promo

"I will love him and feed him and call him mine."
  • A reference to the Abominable Snowman in Warner Brothers cartoons (who says "I will love him and hold him and call him George" after capturing Bugs Bunny) who was inspired by the simpleton farmhand in John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men

"I remember when rock was young..."

  • A line from Elton John's song "Crocodile Rock."  


Memorable Quotes

Hired! Part 1 (short)

[The short's title screen appears: "Chevrolet presents: HIRED!"]
Crow: Well, that's something you didn't hear much during the Bush administration.
[After speaking with Jimmy, Mr. Warren prepares some paperwork with concern.]
Servo [as Warren]: Hmm. I didn't know he had a prison record. Says here he's wanted in Idaho.
Joel [as Warren]: Hmm? What in the world?! "Assault with a deadly weapon"?!
Crow [as Warren]: A.K.A., the "Pantsless Salesman"? Or the "Piddling Peddler"?!

Bride of the Monster (movie)

[Crow reads Edward D. Jr.'s name in the credits.]
Crow: Mr. Wood's wardrobe by MRS. Wood!
[Lobo (Tor Johnson) scares away some people during a rainstorm, his mouth agape]
Crow: Tor! Close your mouth before you drown!
["Steve" fires his rifle on the octopus grabbing poor "Roy."]
Joel: Did you ever hear of "Friendly Fire!?"
[After being tied up and turned into an "atomic superman", Dr. Vornoff breaks out of the leather straps that bind him to the table.]
Crow: Oh no, now he has the strength of twenty heroin addicts!
[Dr. Vornoff and his octopus monster go up in a nuclear blast. The good guys look on in horror and dismay.]
Capt. Robbins[solemnly] He tampered in God's domain.
Crow: Oh great, the nutty birdman from Apartment 4B is gonna give us a religious insight.
[With the experiment over; Servo bitterly reads the actors' names off the end credits.]
Servo: Uh Loser...Loser...Loser....Harvey B. "Loser"....George Bec"Loser"....Paul "Loser" Marco....Don "The Big Loser" Nagel....Bud "Big Ol Loser" Osborne...John "Wanking Loser" Warren....Ann...Aw for crying out loud! AGGH!
Crow: ....But "The Drunk" was good. Ben Frommer.
Servo: "The Drunk" was real good!
[Joel and the bots prepare to recreate the climactic scene between Bela Legosi and the good guys.]
Joel: Cambot believes that he can re-edit the film better than Ed Wood Jr. and we're going to help him.
Crow: Bu-bu-but Joel that's NOT what Cambot thinks. Cambot thinks that that "Candy Butt" Ed Wood edits like he's got his head crammed up his....
Joel: Crow!!

Video Releases



  • Commercially released on DVD by Shout Factory in November 2010 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 19, a 4-DVD set with Robot MonsterDevil Fish, and Devil Doll.
  • The DVD also includes a theatrical trailer and a featurette about the making of Bride of the Monster.

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