Mad Monster Party

I cannot believe that I didn’t assign you all to read my essay on the 1967 Rankin/Bass film Mad Monster Party! It was published last year in the The Journal of Dracula Studies.

Here’s the thesis paragraph or you can read the whole essay here:

Why does Mad Monster Party complicate its celebration of classic monsters by destroying them and replacing them with technology? Why are the human and nonhuman alike threatened by technology, even though the benevolent version of technology is the only promise the film offers to continue to propagate human cultural norms like heteronormative marriage? Mad Monster Party initially establishes monsters as an organized threat to humanity (led by the traitorous monster-creator Frankenstein, who now has apocalyptic powers as well), only to argue that monsters and humans alike face the greater threat of technology, which paradoxically can both destroy all matter and ensure survival of human culture. Thus, the film’s conclusion condenses the human and monster onto the axis of the organic and places the androids Francesca and Felix on the inorganic, privileging the replication of social structure over the organic body. Reading Mad Monster Party in this way reveals it to be a text that expresses basic mid-1960s cultural anxieties seen in other media productions of the time, but one that ultimately contradicts its progressive agenda by eliminating all threats to human heterosexual marriage: including the humans!

Published by

Kevin L. Ferguson

Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing at Queens