Customer Reviews: The Monster Club
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on April 29, 2004
Back in the mid 60's to early 70's, Amicus Productions (The Studio That Dripped Blood) rivaled the famous Hammer Studios and its' horror films, and the releases from the two English studios were often confused as they often used many of the same actors and directors. Amicus Productions was most famous for its' creepy horror anthologies, including The House that Dripped Blood (1970), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), The Vault of Horror (1974), and From Beyond the Grave (1975). Amicus, formed by a partnership between producers Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg, dissolved in the mid 70's, as did Amicus Productions. While many fans mourned the passing of this wonderful and short-lived institution, Subotosky did go on to form Sword and Sorcery Productions, which released The Monster Club (1980), bringing back some of the magic of a time since past.
Directed by Roy Ward Baker, who also did Asylum and The Vault of Horror, along with numerous Hammer films, The Monster Club, based on a book by famed and prolific author R. Chetwynd-Hayes boasts a plethora of stars including Vincent Price, John Carradine, Donald Pleasance, Britt Ekland, Stuart Whitman, and Patrick Magee, among others. There are three stories here, loosely tied together with a wrap-around story and a number of musical performances (B.A. Robertson is great performing 'Sucker for Your Love'), all wonderful in their own right.
The film starts off with the wrap-around story, as we meet a character named after the author of the book the film is based on, R. Chetwynd-Hayes (Carradine) being approached by a man looking for a bite, as he hasn't eaten in a couple of weeks. Chetwynd-Hayes offers assistance in the form of money, but the man, named Eramus (Price) isn't speaking of eating in the normal sense, as he's a vampire and takes some of Chetwynd-Hayes blood, but not to the point where he infects the author. Learning of the man's identity and feeling a debt of gratitude is due, Eramus offers to take Chetwynd-Hayes to a exclusive club, a sort of monster disco, where monsters reside, allowing for the author to gather new material for a future book. After some tongue-in-cheek humor, we are treated to three tales of varying degrees of horror.
The first tale involves couple, George and Angela, of dubious nature looking for their next scheme, and it comes in the form of a position cataloging antiquities for a odd looking man named Raven who rarely leaves his large and expansive estate. Angela applies, but soon balks as she has great apprehension about the man, given his strange appearance. George talks her into going back, and she assumes the position. He seems nice enough, despite his ghoulish appearance, and he certainly has a tempting amount of valuables ripe for the taking. Raven soon becomes enamored with Angela and proposes marriage, to which George sees as a perfect opportunity to have access to Raven's wealth. Well, things soon sour, and we learn Raven is much more than an odd-looking fellow, possessing an interesting method of dealing with those who anger him.
The second story deals with a shy, young boy and his parents, to which the father has a job that requires him to stay out all night, and sleep during the day. Also, the boy learns that he's descended from noble lineage, his father being a count. Can you guess where this is leading? Anyway, not to give too much away, the story deals with vampires and vampires hunters, and actually is the more humorous, despite its' dour beginnings, of the three tales, providing a couple of nice twists at the end. This story stars Britt Ekland and Donald Pleasance.
The third story tells a tale of a director named Sam (Whitman) scouting locations for a new horror film, looking for a village with lots and lots of atmosphere, which he finds, but soon regrets. The village, populated by ghouls, has plans for Sam, and they don't involve making a movie. Sam finds assistance in the form of a girl, and both take refuge in an abandoned church, where Sam learns the awful history of the village, and how it came to such a state that it's in now. Do Sam and the girl manage an escape? Maybe they do, maybe they don''ll just have to watch. This tale has the strongest horror element, and a really wonderful, thick, brooding sense of atmosphere. Reminds me a little of a film Vincent Price did back in the day called The Last Man on Earth (1964).
Pathfinder Home Entertainment provides a pretty good wide screen, non-anamorphic print here, which does show minor speckling and occasional murkiness, to which we learn that this was the only print available to them with a on-screen note prior to the beginning of the film. As far as special features go, there are a ton of them. There's a complete musical soundtrack, with the ability to listen to any song from the movie, and there's a lot, with artists like The Pretty Things, UB40, B.A. Robertson, and The Viewers, to name a few. There's also a separate commentary by film critics Luke Y. Thompson and Gregory Weinkauf, a theatrical trailer for the film, detailed biographies of most of the films stars, extensive production notes, original press notes, a photo still gallery, essays by film critic George Reis and, a bit by Vincent Price and his views on horror movies in general, and even a hidden feature accessed by clicking on the doctor's stomach in the special features menu. All in all, this is a great little horror anthology infused with a good dose of silly humor, one that fans of the long gone but not forgotten Amicus films will enjoy. But be warned, as the real horror doesn't come until the end, when Vincent Price and John Carradine proceed to get 'jiggy' with it on the dance floor.
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on September 3, 2013
This 1981 comedy-horror-musical film stars Vincent Price, John Carradine, Donald Pleasence. A writer of horror stories is invited to a monster club by a mysterious old gentleman. Three gruesome stories are told and between each story musicians play songs. This was Vincent Price's only vampire role. The picture and audio quality are great in this release. There is over 2 hours of total bonus content.

Story 1: Shadmock (vampire/werewolf) with Barbara Kellerman and Simon Ward.
Story 2: Vampire Hunters with Donald Pleasance.
Story 3: Humghoul (human/ghoul) with Stuart Whitman. Easily the best segment.

Special Features:
62-minute interview of Vincent Price conducted in 1987 by film historian David Del Valle
41-minute audio interview between Del Valle and Price
On camera interview with David Del Valle
Theatrical Trailer

Buy this Blu-ray.
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on January 10, 2003
Curious horror anthology is loosely based on the works of horror novelist R. Chetwynd-Hayes, portrayed by John Carradine as an active partaker in his own tales. The author is invited by a smooth vampire (the fabulous Vincent Price) to go with him to The Monster Club, where he bears witness to the secret social customs of various monsters, which evidently include drinking, dancing, and watching undead stripping Go Go Ghouls. He is also educated to the mating patterns of these creatures, whose tendency to inter-breed creates such new strains of monsters. All of this is interjected by short stories featuring campy yet fun monsters running amok. A fun side note is that the movie features music by pop-reggae band UB40. Have no sense of humor? Avoid this film. Love campy fun? Don't miss out.
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on September 12, 2005
Being a huge fan of Elvira, I originally bought the VHS of THE MONSTER CLUB in the 80s when she hosted the film on her "ThrillerVideo" collection. I remeber seeing for the first time and loving all three stories in the trilogy, the great performances by Price and Carradine, the atmosphere and monster "Make-up" (i.e. cheap rubber masks) and even the over-the-top musical numbers (especially "The Stripper," complete with a woman stripping down to her skeleton in animation). Since then I've watched the film every halloween.

I was thrilled to see the film was finally on DVD. The film is in widescreen with a pretty decent transfer--but what MOST inpressed me was the Special Features. The gallery (featuring posters, adslicks, lobby cards, etc.) PLUS the FULL SOUNDTRACK of TMC (score AND songs), plus an Easter Egg featuring an interview with the "Slingshot Ghoul" in the Humgoo story.

The DVD is a treat and highly recommended.
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on November 18, 2015
"The Monster Club" is the last of the portmanteau horror films produced by Milton Subotsky -- half of the Amicus Films team -- and for decades it's been thought to be the least, a pale shadow of the likes of "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors" or "Tales From the Crypt." But time has been oddly good to this little picture. Vincent Price stars as a vampire who invites John Carradine, playing real-life author R. Chetwind-Hayes, on whose stories the film is based, to a discotheque for monsters only, and then relates three tales of terror, two serious, one tongue-in-cheek. They're all pretty good, though the scenes in the club can sometimes be a bit much. Still, Price's explanation of the in-breeding of monster hybrids, which came off as high camp at the time, now seems to have paved the way for today's "The Vampire Diaries." The supporting cast, including Simon Ward, Richard Johnson, Stuart Whitman and Donald Pleasence, is fine, and Whitman's story, involving a secluded village of monsters, is atmospheric. But Price is basically the whole show. By 1980 he had largely forsworn horror films, particularly campy horror films, but here he is in fine form and his unique voice, conditioned by his return to the stage for a one-man show on Oscar Wilde, is at its most rich and resonant. His climactic explanation as to why humans are the ultimate monsters is a tour de force. For his part, John Carradine seems a little puzzled by the proceedings at times, but he's done worse. (A lot worse.) All in all, this is worth a look, and maybe a return visit as well.
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on May 27, 2004
I cannot recommend this disc enough. The picture and sound quality are fantastic for a film of its age and the extras are spot on as well, including the films soundtrack as a stand alone audio is a nice touch.
The only slight glich is the commentary from Beavis and Butthead (the actual people who released the dvd) who try there best to slag the film off in the most horror film nerd cliches of all time.
A brilliant budget disc that i have been waiting on for years.
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah its cornball nonsense i know but.....
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on December 14, 2013
Vincent Price hosts this trilogy of shorts. Originally made for television, though I don't know that it ever aired but the one time. The common theme among the three tales is the monsters family tree. What to you get when you breed vampires with ghouls? You have to watch to find out.
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on October 3, 2015
I adore Vincent Price but hadn't heard of this movie until I came across a clip of it on YouTube with Vincent Price singing a rendition of The Monster Mash.
I immediately ordered the movie. It is beautifully restored and was wonderful seeing Vincent along with John Carradine and Donald Pleasence. The movie is an enjoyable watch; my only reason for giving it 4 stars is because I was let down. After waiting anxiously for the end of the movie, Vincent Price didn't do the Monster Mash, it was another song completely.
A solid film for all film buffs who are deeply on love with these type of films.
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on December 1, 2013
Excellent film beautifully transferred to Blu Ray with some fun extras. This is the best this film has ever looked Colors are accurate and sharp, resolution is truly high definition, and the sound is MTS. Buy this disc.
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on November 4, 2013
The Monster Club is one of those obscure gems sought out by fans in the Vincent Price filmography and usually placed alongside The House of Long Shadows (which also needs an official non-archive release!) as a must see addition to Price's later catalog. The first DVD release of The Monster Club from Pathfinder a few years ago was mastered from a murky print of the film and special features included the trailer, complete soundtrack and an easter egg interview with an extra on the film, Sean Barry Weske. This blu-ray release from relatively unknown "Scorpion Films" is a fantastic upgrade to the DVD and contains 16×9 anamorphic HD mastered pristine video and audio and quite a few extras. The film can be viewed normally, or with included Elvira inspired cutscenes of Katarina's Nightmare Theater which is rather annoying to sit through. Extras this time include interviews lifted from the Vincent Price Sinister Image DVD, including the on camera and off camera audio, both conducted by David Del Valle. However, keep your Sinister Image disc because none of the other features have been ported over. Alongside the trailer, Scorpion has also included a current interview with David Del Valle about his career and interaction with Price. This interview is cut with reaction shots from Katrina which are distracting and feel off, much like the feature length in Nightmare Theater mode. Advertised online was a reversible cover, but apparently that idea was scrapped because the inside features only liner notes.
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