Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – French Tickner, Monster Mash (1999)

Your Daily Dracula – French Tickner, Monster Mash (1999)

Not to be confused with the live-action Monster Mash: The Movie, aka Frankenstein Sings, which featured your actual Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and not just his famous novelty hit song – which gets several outings in this hour-long animated Halloween TV special, along with a few much less catchy numbers by other hands.  It’s yet another toony/cute take on the Big Three Universal monsters – following Mad Monster Party?, The Drak Pack, The Monster Squad (TV series), The Munsters, etc – with a plot that kind of derives from The Canterville Ghost.

Frankenstein’s Monster (voiced by David Sobolov), Wolf (Scott McNeil) and Drac (French Tickner – a name to conjure with) were once scary in black and white and terrorised the local village in fundamentally non-violent ways but are now old and comfortably – Wolf is going bald, Drac has false teeth (ancient joke alert) and Frank literally can’t scare a baby.  Put on trial by other monsters, with the mummy muffing the defence, a judge made of bones who also plays basketball (huh – leave your Space Jam shit out of my monsters, thank you very much) says they’ll be sentenced to an eternity of appearing at children’s birthday parties (which is pretty much what they do anyway) unless they can scare a typical family, the chubby Tinkelmeisters, who win a rigged contest to fly to the monsters’ castle for a vacation where after some spot gags three of them are at least mildly scared but the incipient mad scientist and horror video renter Spike isn’t.  This being 1999, there are a lot of VCR jokes.

The Prosecutor (Jim Byrnes), a Grim Reaper type, decides to cheat and sends in three typical modern day monsters to get rid of the oldies … so we have Freddie DeSpagetti (Dave ‘Squatch’ Ward), a slasher movie villain made out of spaghetti (that’s not gore on his outfit, it’s ragu), Chickie (Tabitha St Germain) and evil wind-up doll with a channel-changer that sends people to an alligator swamp, and Alien Eater, a Xenomorph type (frankly, they’re all a bit eighties, but I guess we weren’t ready for toon versions of the Blair Witch then).  There’s a runaround, more songs, a surprise ruling, some handy sprucing-up of the monsters (Mr Tinklmeister is a pet stylist who rejuves Wolf) and a couple of funny-ish arrangements of That Song under the end credits with po-mo sneery commentary from a producer, a joke which runs dry before we get to reprises of the forgettable songs over repeat footage of gags we didn’t much laugh at first time round to edge the running time over the line.

Written by Judy Rothman Rofé (Happy Monster Band) and director Guido Manuli (who collaborated with Bruno Bozzetto on Allegro Non .Ttroppo in 1976).


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