Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Ed Wood Wednesdays, week 99: "Bride of the Monster: The One-Act Play" (2002)

Tor Johnson and Bela Lugosi tread the boards in Bride of the Monster.

The movie that inspired a writing project.
I've been on the internet since before the internet was any good at all. In the mid-1990s, when I first started posting to Usenet newsgroups, there was no such thing as social media, and most of the platforms we use every day (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) were still years in the future. Even Google didn't start until 1998, leaving AltaVista as the search engine of choice. Back then, I had a dial-up modem, some rudimentary typing skills, and a lot of pop culture opinions.

If all this sounds achingly familiar, it's because I've written about this era of my life before when I posted my Glen or Glenda transcript from 1997 and my Orgy of the Dead script parody from 1998. Well, today, I'm going to share yet another vintage chunk of text from the olden days, though this one at least dates from the current millennium.

In the late 1990s, my online life revolved around a Mystery Science Theater 3000 newsgroup called The show was still airing new episodes back then on the Sci-Fi Channel, and fans would regularly post reviews on RATMM. In August 1998, when MST3K premiered its version of the 1961 monster movie Gorgo as part of its ninth season, I decided to upload a short script called Gorgo: The One-Act Play to the newsgroup. This was basically a little comedy sketch featuring characters from the original film, Sam and Joe, discussing the possible consequences of bringing a Godzilla-like monster to London. (Sample dialogue: "Say, Joe, you don't think they're made at us, do ya?")

The response to Gorgo; The One-Act Play was fairly positive on RATMM, so I kept writing comedy sketches based on other episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Thus was born The MST3K One-Act Play Project. Another RATMM regular, Craig J. Clark, started writing his own MST3K-based plays just a few months after I started. Craig eventually put together a now-dormant website collecting both his plays and mine. It looks like the last entry in The MST3K One-Act Play Project was posted by Craig in June 2004. Remarkable longevity for such a gimmicky idea.

What follows is the text of my one-act play based on Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster. It was originally posted just over 18 years ago on March 7, 2002. I was more than a decade into my Wood fandom at that point, but Ed Wood Wednesdays wasn't even a glimmer on the horizon. At the time, I was in my mid-20s and working as a junior high Spanish teacher in Joliet, IL. I can remember writing these plays during my lunch break and then emailing them from my school computer to my home computer. Good times.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this artifact from the semi-distant past.

Bride of the Monster Revisited
a one-act play by Joe Blevins
based on the movie Bride of the Monster

Curtain rises. 
The setting is the drawing room of the old Willows Place, a decaying mansion surrounded by swampland. DR. ERIC VORNOFF, a decrepit Hungarian mad scientist, is sitting in a leather armchair in front of a roaring fire and leafing through the travel section of the Sunday New York Times. LOBO, his bald, hulking assistant, is sitting on the floor, cutting out strings of paper dolls.  The mood is carefree and tranquil.

VORNOFF: (with Dracula accent) I just love our Sundays together, Lobo. Just you and me and not a care in the world.

LOBO: Lobo love Sundays with Doctor, too.

VORNOFF: Maybe after a while, we could do some decoupage and watch Home and Garden Television.

LOBO: Lobo like decoupage.  (guffaws)
Just then, there is a knock at the door. The mood sours.
VORNOFF: (miffed) It never fails. Just when I'm reading a fascinating article about Colonial Williamsburg! Why can't they leave me alone?!?
Vornoff angrily gets up from his chair and walks over to a door at stage left. He opens it.  Outside is a young man, a neo-hippie ACTIVIST holding a clipboard.
VORNOFF: What do you want? You are not welcome here!

ACTIVIST: Hi! My name is Kevin, and I'm collecting signatures on behalf of "Hug the Wetlands," a charitable organization devoted to preserving our nation's precious swamps.

VORNOFF: Go away! You cannot stay here!

ACTIVIST: Sir, I'm sure as a person who makes his home in the marsh, you're well aware of the value of...

VORNOFF: Okay, that does it. (calling) DARRYL! Get out here! We've got company!
There is no answer.
VORNOFF: Darryl? Where are you? Where is that octopus? What's the point of having a killer octopus if he's not there to kill trespassers?

ACTIVIST: A killer octopus, huh? That's pretty scary. But not as scary as what could happen to this fragile ecosystem if something isn't done to protect it.

VORNOFF: (calling desperately) Darryl!
A giant octopus tentacle is extended onto the stage, indicating that there's supposed to be a whole octopus just out of view.
DARRYL: (offstage) Um, I'm a little busy. I'm making that marzipan you said you wanted. I can't be in two places at once.

VORNOFF: Never mind. I'll get rid of him myself.
The tentacle retracts. Vornoff tries to do his classic "hypnotism" bit by staring intensely at Kevin and wiggling his fingers in front of his face. It doesn't work.
ACTIVIST: Look, sir, if you'd like me to come back later...

VORNOFF: (angrily grabs the clipboard) Give me that! (signs his name) There! Now go away!
Vornoff slams the door in the activist's face. There is a pause. Then another knock on the door. Vornoff opens it, and the activist is still standing there.
ACTIVIST: Care to take one of our "Honk if You Love Preserving Our Nation's Precious Wetlands" bumper stickers?

Vornoff again slams the door and sullenly returns to his armchair.
VORNOFF: What's happened to me, Lobo? I used to be so evil, and now I'm getting mushy and soft in my old age.

LOBO: No, Doctor. Is not true.

VORNOFF: I'm afraid it is, my freakish friend. The old Dr. Vornoff would have captured that young man and used him in a fiendish experiment that would have inevitably ended with his grisly and pointless death.

LOBO: Doctor still plenty evil for Lobo.

VORNOFF: Oh, you're just saying that!
Darryl's tentacle reaches back in.
DARRYL: (offstage) No, it's true.  You're the most evil person I know, and I once worked with Zsa Zsa Gabor!

VORNOFF: (impressed) Zsa Zsa? Really?

DARRYL: Really. Heck, you've got a woman chained up in your lab right now! Remember, the lady reporter?
We hear a woman's scream from offstage.
VORNOFF: Hey! I'd forgotten about her!

DARRYL: And let's not forget those poor bastards you fed to me last week.

LOBO: Even Lobo scared of Doctor! You one bad mutha...

DARRYL: Shut your mouth!

LOBO: Lobo just talkin' bout Vornoff!
Wocka chicka music fades in.
DARRYL: Who's the bad Hungarian dude who's vile, lecherous, and lewd?

LOBO: Vornoff!

DARRYL: Can you dig it? Who's the man who takes no lip and tortures Lobo with a whip?

LOBO: Vornoff!

DARRYL: Right on!
Wocka chicka music ends.
VORNOFF: Aw, you guys are the best.
Lobo and Vornoff embrace. Vornoff then wraps the octopus tentacle around both of them. Lobo, Vornoff, and the octopus maintain their group hug as they shuffle off the stage, singing.
ALL: It's a long way to Tipperary!
     It's a long way to go!
     It's a long way to Tipperary to the sweetest girl I know!
Note: Lobo sings this as "Is long way Tip-ary / Is long way go." 
After they have exited and the stage is empty, the front door opens and Kevin the activist sticks his head back in.
ACTIVIST: (sings) They're gonna make it after all!

VORNOFF: (offstage) I told you to go away.
From offstage, Vornoff tosses a fishing boot at Kevin's head.
Lights dim.  Curtain falls.