‘The screen’s master of the weird… in his newest and most daring SHOCKER!’
The first incarnation of the film was a 1953 script by Alex Gordon titled The Atomic Monster, but a lack of financing prevented any production. Later, Ed Wood revived the project as The Monster of the Marshes.
Shooting began in October 1954 at the Ted Allan Studios, but further money problems quickly halted the production.The required funds were supplied by a rancher named Donald McCoy, who became the film’s producer. He also provided his son to star as the film’s hero.
Production resumed in 1955 at Centaur Studios and the film finally premiered at Hollywood’s Paramount theater in May 1955, under the title Bride of the Atom.
Dr. Eric Vornoff (Bela Lugosi), is experimenting with nuclear power with the help of his mute assistant, Lobo (Tor Johnson). His goal is to eventually create an army of superpowered soldiers that he will use to conquer the earth. Their residence, an old mansion, is guarded by a giant octopus of Dr. Vornoff’s own creation which lives in the surrounding swamp. The octopus (referred to as simply “the monster”) has been responsible for the deaths of local townspeople.
Newspaper reporter Janet Lawton (Loretta King Hadler investigates further, becoming a prisoner of Dr. Vornoff in the process. The police eventually follow, led by lieutenant Dick Craig (Tony McCoy), who is also Lawton’s boyfriend. Meanwhile, an official from Dr. Vornoff’s home country, Professor Strowksi (George Becwar), arrives and tries to persuade him to return to their homeland in hopes that his research will benefit their nation. However, Strowski is killed and Lobo unwittingly turns Dr. Vornoff into an atomic-powered superhuman being…
“It’s fast paced and has an entertaining performance by Bela Lugosi. The film is also full of Ed Wood “weirdness” to hold your interest: Where else can you see a police chief playing with a parakeet while discussing a murder case? Or see a Bela Lugosi stunt “double” wearing platform shoes fight it out ala ‘World Wrestling Federation’ style with the Super Swedish Angel in a laboratory made of cardboard?” Monster Shack
“Not to deny that several amusing Wood-ian low-budget gaffes do exist but the film does appear to have been made to a formulaic competence that makes it no different from the numerous low-budget mad scientist films that Bela Lugosi was appearing in at Monogram and PRC during the previous decade.” Moria
” … there is much to poke fun at here, but this is clearly one of Wood’s most mature, most competent efforts. One wonders what Wood’s legacy might have been had he continued collaborating with Alex Gordon. Instead of being remembered as one of the worst filmmakers in history, he might have been forgotten as just another of many boringly competent B-movie directors.” The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood by Andrew J. Rausch, Charles e. Pratt, Jr.
“Tor Johnson, the obligatory brainless brute, makes a grab for Lugosi in one of the most pathetic fights ever photographed. And dig those amateurs, Tony McCoy and Loretta King. You have to see it to believe it.” John Stanley, Creature Features
” … this fatuous flop nearly matches Plan 9 in the category of fascinating loveable camp.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
Screenwriter Alex Gordon recalls Bela Lugosi
Bela Lugosi: Dreams and Nightmares by Gary Don Rhodes
The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood by Andrew J. Rausch, Charles e. Pratt, Jr.
Ed Wood: Mad Genius by Rob Craig
Nightmare of Ecstasy by Rudolph Grey