Sunday, October 31, 2010



Every Halloween, my friends and I get together for a wicked scary horror movie marathon! I started this at my lab back in 1996, dubbing it the Scare-a-thon and we just had our fifteenth consecutive monster movie mash this year! I try to create a theme to each Scare-a-thon and this year’s was Old Skool Scares. I found a bunch of films on Netflix, and some on cable, that were satires or homages of my favorite horror films from the 40’s and 50’s.

The exception to this was the first feature of the day: The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters. This short feature starring the Bowery Boys was released in 1954 and was one of several films that put the boys in scary situations. The Bowery Boys have a long film history, which I won’t bore you with here. At this time, the gang consisted of Leo “Slip” Gorcey, Huntz “Sach” Hall, David “Chuck” Condon and Bennie “Butch” Bartlett. If you’ve seen one of these slapstick-filled classic style comedies, you’ve seen them all. Much like the Three Stooges, your enjoyment of these old gags is dependent on your like or dislike of the performers. The two stars of the Bowery Boys are Slip Mahoney and Sach Jones. Slip is the tough leader of the boys and his main characteristic is to use complex words incorrectly. Sach is the gentle idiot, who is the focus of most of the trouble that the “boys” get into.

In The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters, the story begins in Louie's Sweet Shop. After numerous baseballs smash Louie’s storefront windows, the Bowery Boys decide that a nearby vacant lot would be a better location for the kids to play ball, because it would be out of range of Louie’s Shop. Slip and Sach visit the owners of the lot at their home, hoping to convince them to allow the kids to use it. Unfortunately, the Gravesons are completely insane. Of course, the boys arrive in a torrential rain storm and Dereck and Anton Graveson invite them to stay the night. Both brothers are mad scientist:. Dereck wants Slip’s brain for his gorilla and Anton wants Sach’s brain for his robot. Their sister Amelia wants to feed one of them to her carnivorous tree and their niece Francine, who looks like an elderly Vampira, wants to drink their blood. When the boys don’t return from the Graveson’s home, Louie, Butch, and Chuck go there to search for Slip and Sach. However, it's not too long before they too get involved in the Graveson’s nefarious plans.

Even at sixty-five minutes, The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters is a little long. My favorite gag is one that the Three Stooges used in several of their comedy shorts. Slip and Sach are locked in a closet, while the mad scientist brothers make preparations for Slip’s operation to transplant his brain into a gorilla. Looking to escape, Sach uses some tools he conveniently finds in the closet to chisel a hole in the wall. Of course, the wall is the back of the gorilla’s cage and mayhem ensues. If you are looking for a few gentle laughs, and have tired of watching Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, you could do worse than The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters.
I couldn't find a trailer for The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters, but here is a trailer from one of their earlier scary comedies: 1946's Spook Busters.

That was just the beginning of our film fun. Watch out of for the 15th Annual Scare-A-Thon! Part 2 for my review of our second fright flick: Dark and Stormy Night.

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