on February 24, 2005
This DVD is a mishmash. A low-rent theatrical short here, a trip through a carnival haunted house there, some still shots of old spookshow posters in between. In fact, "Monsters Crash the Pajama Party" is nearly impossible to describe. It's not a feature film, though there is a feature ("Tormented") included somewhere on the disc. Nor is it primarily about the title segment, a short monster/comedy flick starring a bunch of college kids and a mad scientist. Instead, it's almost as if the entire DVD is made up of extras. But what a great collection of extras it is! For one low price, you get monsters, happenin' 60s co-eds, horrible narration, REALLY bad acting, a bit of 3-D, a guy in a bargain-basement gorilla outfit and a whole lot more! Watching this disc feels like channel surfing in a world in which the Cramps run all the TV stations. It's like watching snippets of movies made by people who...well...wish they could make better movies. The result? It's absolutely, over-the-top brilliant; a patchwork of lowbrow cinema that will leave you wondering, "Where the heck did this stuff ever play??"
My only complaint about this disc (and I'm docking it a whole star for this) is that it's REALLY hard to navigate! The viewer is pretty much left to just stumble onto various scenes by trial and error. It's an amazing collection of clips and snippets overall, but this thing should have come with a map.
on July 13, 2012
Wow, this dvd is so good and so full of information that i bought a second copy to have as a back-up, i love it that much!Big thank you to all the people who took the hours and hours to put all this good stuff together on one dvd!Keep trying to find other dvds that are similar to this one and i can't find anything.Since i was born too late to go to any of the spook shows i really loved seeing and hearing all the advertisements and the homemade movies from i'm guessing the 40's were awesome!I tell ya, i could not love this dvd more, i even enjoyed the dvd navigation, well the first few times i did, then i found someone named kriegerg69 on IMDB who made a chapter list which i totally appreciate, thank him not me for the following list and thanks again to the makers of this awesome, unique dvd!!! :)
Title 1 - Monsters Crash The Pajama Party (7 chapters)
Title 2 - Monsters Do Have Their Place
Title 3 - Spook Show Trailers (12 chapters)
Title 4 - Spooky Musical Soundies
Chapter 1 - Skeleton Dance
Chapter 2 - The Boogey Woogieman
Chapter 3 - Dem Dry Bones
Chapter 4 - Haunted House
Title 5 - Horror Home Movies
Chapter 1 - London After Midnight
Chapter 2 - The Mummy
Chapter 3 - Mr. Hyde
Chapter 4 - 1960's Halloween
Title 6 - Don't Be Afraid
Title 7 - Horror House Ride
Title 8 - Drive In Werewolf (excerpt from "Dracula, The Dirty Old Man")
Title 9 - Cursed By Monsters
Title 10 - Asylum of the Insane (in 3D)
Title 11 - Menu Menacing Ape
Title 12 - Menu Skull
Title 13 - Menu Skull & Booga Booga
Title 14 - Hypnoscope Introduction
Title 15 - Menu Transition
Title 16 - Menu Transition
Title 17 - Menu Transition
Title 18 - Menu Transition
Title 19 - Menu Transition
Title 20 - Menu Transition
Title 21 - Menu Transition
Title 22 - Menu Transition
Title 23 - Easter Egg
Title 24 - Easter Egg
Title 25 - Easter Egg
Title 26 - Easter Egg
Title 27 - Menu Dead End
Title 28 - Menu Dead End
Title 29 - Menu Dead End
Title 30 - Menu Dead End
Title 31 - Menu Dead End
Title 32 - Menu Dead End
Title 33 - TORMENTED (feature film - 11 chapters)
on December 12, 2002
That's what I hear from people who realize I purchased this DVD...but man, I'm glad I did! It's a treasure hunt through a haunted house that you experience by clicking your remote control. There are tons of Easter eggs here with theatrical featurettes and promos a-plenty! Of course, the 30+ minute farce MONSTERS CRASH THE PAJAMA PARTY is so bad, it makes Ed Wood look like Spielberg. This is a loving "retro-mentary" on the old spook shows that movie houses used to present live onstage with a horror feature; magic shows, monsters, ghosts in the audience and scads of ghoulish fun all meant for the kids! There's no friggin' way any theater these days would have the guts to do this stuff without worrying about getting reprimanded by some activist group. And the early 60's feature TORMENTED is great schlock horror! Total enjoyment for everyone and such a wonderful, forgotten part of cinema history that someone had the good sense to preserve for us all!
on October 25, 2001
For creepy, nostalgic Halloween fun this disk is hard to beat! Not only do you get a copy of "TORMENTED" (in itself worth the price of the disk) but HOURS AND HOURS of spook-show fun from the 20's through the 70's.
"TORMENTED", starring Richard Carlson, was released by Allied Artists and is an underrated classic. You may be tempted to draw some similarities between "Tormented" and "House on Haunted Hill" which was released by the same studio several years before. The look/feel of the two movies is similar in several respects.
The many classic ghost-show trailers look and sound great, and are classically atmospheric. The short gimmick film "MONSTERS CRASH THE PAJAMA PARTY" is great, silly fun. When we showed the disk for the kid's Halloween Party, we "recreated" the gimmick by having a guy in a mask emerge from a door near the TV, look around the room menacingly, and then "kidnap" one of the youngsters and take her back into the room -- all timed to the screen action the way it might have originally played. Then, once order was restored, we settled down, put on our 3-D glasses and watched "Asylum of the Insane". "Insane" appears to be a home-made movie (fun with the movie camera) except that it is in 3-D (anaglyphic process). Anaglyphic 3-D is not a great process, but the 3-D of "Insane" was surprisingly good in places.
I loved the "soundies" too. "Soundies" are the forerunner of the music video. Soundies were short musical films which featured popular songs and performers. They date from the era when going to the movies was a complete entertainment package. The soundies on this disk are all "spooky" in theme. My favorite one features a skeleton in high heels. One small note of concern, the soundies on the dvd, like other popular entertainment of the era, may not be considered politically correct by todays standards.
The DVD has too many treasures to write about all of them, but I especially want to mention the four short "amateur" take-off's of classic Hollywood fright films. The shorts appear to actually have been made in the 1920's and 30's using home movie equipment. They are all quite good, surprisingly so. It's almost like coming across 8mm. home movies that an unknown major director might have made at age 15.
The only criticism I have of this disk is that the material presented on it is relatively without context. Part of the problem has to do with the menu options. Although exploring the menu is fun the first time out (like prowling through a haunted house) subsequent viewings render it annoying rather than cute. Also, I found that I craved information about what I was seeing. For example, who was responsible for the four black and white shorts, and how did they come to be made. Who are some of these forgotten performers in the soundies, what's their background. What's the origin of the film "Asylum of the Insane"? The lack of context makes the odd juxtopositions odder still as we jump hither and yon between a major Hollywood production and someone's home movies.
With a little imagination, this is the perfect Halloween Party disk. It should be a family favorite for many Octobers to come.
Recommended co-features: 13 Ghosts (original film in it's new "Illusion-O" DVD), House on Haunted Hill (original vers.), Matinee', Terror in the Haunted House (Rhino) and Popcorn (Buy a bag - go home in a box).
on April 1, 2008
This DVD provides hours of great spooky entertainment, ideal for Halloween parties or when you are simply in the mood for horror hijinks. Terrific trailers, shorts, ads, 3-D, & a cool feature w/ Richard Carlson certainly provide loads of bang for your buck. It all comes together to provide an excellent example of those live spook shows of yesteryear. The menu, which some have complained about, is a gas. It is set up to lead you through a haunted maze where you don't know what will pop up around the next corner. For me, this is Something Weird's finest hour. Hours of fun are provided with superior quality presentations of dated material. One from the vaults, I must recommend it to all horror fans.
on September 13, 2001
Something Weird's "Monsters Crash The Pajama Party Spook Show Spectacular" is one of the most enjoyable DVD I now own. They perfectly exploit the medium by making every one of the nearly four hours of rare spooky shorts, trailers, and features "Easter eggs" that you discover by clicking your way through a haunted house. I don't know where they dug some of this stuff up, but
it's priceless and quite addictive. Alright, so the 3-D short consists of a bunch of kids in rubber masks stabbing at the camera, but it does work. This is one of the most lovingly prepared disks I've seen. I can't imagine a classic horror fan not being delighted by this one.
I chose the title of the review based on one thing only: it was the most entertaining line from the entire DVD. I am a big Something Weird fan, and almost always love their work, but this time I have to make an exception. This DVD is really pretty boring, except for the drama of 'Tormented' and the lowbrow comedy of 'Monsters Crash The Pajama Party'. Since 'Monsters Crash The Pajama Party' was selected as the title for the DVD, let's begin there. The story is basically this: five sorority pledges stay in a haunted house and fall victim to the resident mad doctor (we know this because "Mad Doctor" is emblazoned on his lab coat.) There is much wackiness foisted on the audience over the next 30 minutes, including men in gorilla suits, women in chains, a werewolf in polka dotted boxer shorts, a laser cannon that seemingly has no point, and police detectives summoned to investigate it all because of a noise complaint. The film ends in absolute mid-action when a monkey bangs a gong, and it's suddenly over; no climax, no denouement, nothing. The best part of the film are some fairly entertaining credits done with guys in gorilla suits at the opening. It is campy fun that is timed just right at 30 minutes; any more would be pushing the limits. Besides 'Tormented' this is easily the best thing on the DVD.
Seemingly out of place to me on the disc is 'Tormented' a feature length psychological drama of love torn asunder in a lighthouse by Bert I. Gordon, who for once uses characters of normal size. 'Tormented' is well made and fairly creepy, and therefore not really in keeping with the rest of the DVD, which is thematically tied to spook shows of the 1920s to 1960s. I like 'Tormented,' and that (plus some funny camp value points from 'Monsters Crash The Pajama Party') is what brought this DVD up to three stars for me.
Now that I have discussed the good, let's turn to the bad. In any discussion of the bad features of this DVD, the logical place to start is the index. This DVD has the worst designed, most irritating and utterly pointless index system I have ever seen. Some people seem to like the 'hidden Easter egg' charm of this index, but most people will hate it. Let me explain. The index has no words, merely symbols like a bat or a headstone to select the features. This means that there is absolutely no way to find what you are looking for other than by random chance. To further aggravate the viewer, there are multiple sub-menus of index functions, meaning that the search is even more aggravating than it even sounds. I will never watch this DVD again for that reason alone.
There is a short feature, wholly inappropriately titled 'The Asylum of the Insane'. It is in 3-D, and (very cheap) glasses are provided, but it doesn't really matter, as the 3-D does not work on a television, but gave me a big time headache (or perhaps it's the content that did it...) This movie is not terribly horrifying inasmuch as it consists of ten minutes of some kids throwing a football around, an old guy doing yo-yo tricks, and a some teenagers in Halloween masks poking baseball bats and hatchets at the camera. To exacerbate the 'horror', there is the bonus of no sound, so it's really a silent movie of a Saturday afternoon with some adolescent boys. It is the most utterly pointless piece of celluloid ever exposed to the light of day.
There are scads of other, unrelated things, like some bad horror shorts from the 1920s to 1960s set to the tune of "Little Jack-o-lantern" sung by 'The Dead Elvi'. There are some amazingly boring audio tracks superimposed over random other things like stills and spook show art (this gets tedious...there are 300 stills in this section), there is a ride through a fun house, something called 'Chased By Monsters', that I never grasped it's reason for existing, and it's all introduced by the amazing 'Hypnoscope,' an effect used much more effectively by Ray Dennis Steckler in 'The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies.' There is also a documentary named 'Don't Be Afraid', about fearing darkness, but honestly after looking over and over through that stupid menu, I could never find it, so I really can't tell you anything about it.
This DVD was supposed to be fun. Instead, all I felt was 'Tormented'.
on November 27, 2001
DVDs with a lot of extras are great. But when one is almost entirely extras, it falls flat. So I feel the need to warn mal-informed b-movie fans as to what they are truly getting on this disc.
Now make no mistake, I like obscure sci-fi/horror as much as the next geek (I rate The Brain From Planet Arous 4 stars, for Pete's Sake), but that's not really what this dvd is about. While it may be fun once in a while for parties, avoid it if you are considering it on its own merits. To enjoy this disc, one must really really be on the lookout for regional rarities. If you like looking at other people's home movies, that is a head start; and don't think I am exaggerating because some home movies are in fact included on this disc. (Manos is an A-Picture epic compared to some of this stuff.)
First, the navigation of the dvd was admittedly great: sort of like a spectral treasure hunt. Some items are highlighted but not explained in text, while others are not shown at all, so you really have to search. Some people may find it annoying. I found it rather charming. With patience, you'll locate them all.
BTW, this dvd is not really for kids, although there is not anything too objectionable. But most would probably not have the patience to sit through this. Much of the disc achieves a certain amount of nostalgic spookiness (as opposed to being frightening) by being the most hypnotically stupid things these eyes have ever seen.
A collection of trailers from midnight spook shows is fun for 15 minutes, but continues on for another 30, becoming very repetitive and dull and repetitive and dull and repetitive. Buffs will enjoy playing Spot the Art, as these stage shows often ripped off poster images from movies of the time, such as Beverly Garland screaming in Not Of This Earth. Some are amusing or cool, but they just go on forever. I didn't even watch the still gallery of poster art; there were 300 items!
The 3-D Asylum of the Insane is a genuinely odd, headache-inducing affair even with the free glasses. At first it consists of happy suburban families throwing footballs at the camera. Then a yo-yo expert comes on. Finally, three costumed weirdos make stabbing motions at the lens for approximately 13 hours (actually it only seemed that long). This was disturbing in a Flying Monkey sort of way.
The title feature is terribly dumb but watchable hokum about portly and rather old sorority sisters spending the night in a creepy house. Then there is a short where a guy turns into a werewolf as he returns with snacks to his car at the Drive-In Theater: pretty lame, uncomfortably idiotic. Another is a ride through a carnival spook house: why, I must ask? Another is an educational short about a boy who is frightened, why that is fine and how he can combat his fears: it will likely have you wishing for Joel and the 'Bots. Another follows a guy as he is menaced by grotesque women in gowns: like a low-rent Carnival of Souls and nowhere near as good.
There are other extras, too, which you can read about for yourself. I only mean to give my take on things without the bombastic ad-speak, and I thought most of the extras were blah. I am not criticizing the effort put out by the makers of this disc, only the flawed thinking behind it. To give you an idea, one of the "hidden gems" in the navigation is footage of a skull that turns to the camera and says "Stay cool," and that's it. Ho-hum.
I will say that some of the silent short movies included are not bad; one about a mummy and one in an operating room are of particular artistic merit. I wish I knew exactly what they were. But they are the exceptions and definitely not the rule.
The Bert I. Gordon film Tormented is the most enjoyable thing on the disc, but it seems like sort of a last-minute add-on, rather than one of the main attractions. A matter of perspective and (poor) taste, perhaps. If you grew up with these spook shows, maybe you'll feel differently. But I feel that they easily could have chopped out some of the "junk" and added another full-length feature. The disc just needed less salad and more meat.
In summation: you get a lot, but what you get is not too good. Like a cheap all-you can-eat buffet where the food has been out under the heat lamps too long.
P.S. IMHO this all just goes to show how good William Castle really was at his showman shtick.
on February 4, 2016
When I was a kid, I remember going to the local movie theater, and watching a movie where the film suddenly stops. Monsters and gorillas come out from behind the curtains, and run into the audience, grabbing screaming girls. The movie then resumes and quickly ends, to be followed by a feature-length horror movie. I thought that cinematic curiosity would be a lost film. Much to my delight, I discovered that "Monsters Crash The Pajama Party" (1965) was that same featurette. Filmed on a shoestring budget, the acting was wooden, the dialog was almost indecipherable, and I loved every minute of it! None of the multiple bonus features are listed in the menu, so you have to scroll around to find the Easter eggs containing them, which only adds to the fun. One of the bonuses is the feature-length movie "Tormented" (1960). Co-written and directed by the legendary Bert I. Gordon (a/k/a Mr. Big), it's an entertaining horror/melodrama, with outdated ghostly special effects. Unfortunately, the video quality is not very good, with lines, scratches and jump cuts. Considering all that's packed into this DVD for a very low price, it's definitely worth buying.
on November 5, 2015
"Monsters Crash the Pajama Party," well, this DVD is something else alright. It's a celebration of the good ol' days of Halloween and spook shows. The main feature "Monsters Crash The Pajama Party" is about 25 minutes or so long and is ridiculously cheesy. The other feature promoted on the cover is "Asylum of the Insane" which is a 10-15 minute clip of 70s kids wearing weird monster masks and stabbing at the camera with various objects. Let's be real here: the 3D sucks though.
There's also a THIRD feature, the 1960 film "Tormented" that is hidden on this disc. It's longer than the main presentation and actually, a legit movie.
Included on this disc is also tons and tons of special features, including various clips of random "spooky" stuff, a ride through a 1960s carnival "haunted attraction" and a long detailed essay on how to put on your own spook show. One of the best features is old, rare footage from the 20s, 30s, and 40s of short films, as well as "soundies," which were musical numbers from various television programs and promotions at the time.
The DVD itself is the best part. NOTHING is labeled and all this stuff is hidden. Part of the fun is clicking on various things in the menu and seeing what comes up.
Is it hokey? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. Is it safe for the kids? Yes, yes and yes. It's a great trip down memory lane.