Monday, June 26, 2017

Monkees--The Monkees Monster Mash"

      I am more a science fiction than horror fan, but I do like the genre. When I say horror, I am referring mostly to the classic Universal Monster sort of stories, not so much the slasher flicks that became popular in the '80's and till plague cinemas these days. Considering Tom Cruise's lackluster turn in the recent re-imagining of The Mummy, the slasher flicks will probably continue to plague cinema for some time to come. But I digress. The point is the Monkees encounter some of the Universal Monsters in this episode and I like it.
      Davy returns his latest date, Lorelei, to her haunted mansion after an obviously unsuccessful date. He is ready to spit, but Lorelei traps him there with a magic necklace. She is in cahoots with Dracula, who wants to turn Davy into a vampire. I want to say that sucks, but I am reluctant to make a joke so bad. When Davy does not come home late into the night, Mike, Micky, Peter go to his rescue even though all they have is the phone number to Lorelei's house, not the address. Of course, it is a haunted mansion in the hills. How difficult could it be to identify? Lorelei is one creepy chick. She would definitely live there.
      When they arrive, Dracula comes up with pans for them, too. He decides to turn Micky into a werewolf because of that huge, curly hairdo. He also wants to put Peter's brain into his Frankenstein monster because peter is dumb and easy to control. Peter had to endure quite a lot of humiliation playing such a dumb character. He faces an unusually large amount of insults to his intelligence her. I feel bad for him since the line between the character Peter and the real Peter are probably fuzzy in many people's minds. By all accounts, the real Peter was extremely intelligent and artistic. The difference between fact and fiction compelled him to be the first member to leave the band a little more than a year after this episode aired.
      There appears to be no plans for mike to become a monster. It is presumably so he can play the hero who saves the others. He doe wraps himself up in a mummy's wrappings—complete with toilet paper headband—in order to accomplish the rescue. A musical romp ensues in which the monsters are defeated. Mike inexplicably finds a book which explains the monsters cannot return for a thousand years after they are defeated. Maybe there will be a formidable boy band available in 2968 to take them on again.
      The jokes come so fast and furious, it almost feels like many were improvised. Adding to the feel of improvisation is the numerous fourth wall breaking. At one point, Micky does a scream, is called out by the director, and hen does another more effective scream all in one shot. When Dracula takes over Davy and Micky's fantasy sequence in which they are pretending to be monsters, he declares the two will not be able to remove their make up. When they realize it I true, they panic and yell for someone from makeup to help. When a book starts floating, the guys declare it is being held up by wires and cut them. The episode really piles on that everything is phony bologna, but it comes cross as hilarious.
      “The Monkees Monster Mash” is hilarious in general. It feels much like one of the wacky first season episodes where things made absolutely no sense, and everyone appeared to b enjoying themselves. There is a lot of fun missing in the second season. It is often obvious the cast is sick of the lackluster scripts and are just phoning it in at this point. Bet this episode is different. Everyone—including Mike—gets to shine while tweaking classic horror movie monster tropes. It is another rare gem in a season full of rocks. 
     Rating: **** (out of 5)

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