Bride of the Monster (originally known as Bride of the Atom) is a 1955 horror/science-fiction film starring Béla Lugosi in a traditional mad scientist role. It was produced, directed and co-written by Edward D. Wood, Jr.. A sequel, entitled Night of the Ghouls, was made in 1959, but went unreleased for decades.
Producer Donald E. McCoy strongly disagreed with the use of nuclear warheads. He only agreed to finance the film if Edward D. Wood Jr. rewrote his original script, and made it end with a nuclear explosion as a warning against the use of nuclear weapons.
This was Edward D. Wood Jr.’s only financially successful film upon original release.
When Vornoff has Janet Lawton strapped to the table, he tells her she is about to become “The Bride of the Atom”. “The Bride of the Atom” was this film’s working title.
Edward D. Wood Jr. credited Alex Gordon with co-writing the story and screenplay as thanks for giving him the idea. Gordon actually contributed nothing to the script.
The prop octopus was stolen from Republic Studios and was constructed for the John Wayne film Wake of the Red Witch (1948). The motor which controlled the octopus’ tentacles was not stolen with it, as is obvious to the casual viewer. Additionally, one of the tentacles was torn off in the process of stealing it out of the property room.
Stuntman Eddie Parker’s participation in this film is still debatable. The story that he doubled Bela Lugosi stems from amateur fanzines in the early 1960s, and the assumption that Parker doubled Lugosi in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). He didn’t. Parker doubled Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man; Australian actor/stuntman Gil Perkins doubled the Monster.
Tony McCoy was cast in the male lead role, primarily because his father, Arizona entrepreneur Donald E. McCoy, was the owner of Packing Service Corp. (a meat packing concern), and was a major investor in the film.
Wood began shooting ‘Bride of the Atom’ in October, 1954 on a tiny sound stage in Los Angeles called Ted Allan Studios. He ran out of money after just three days and had to shut down production.
According to Paul Marco, Edward D. Wood Jr. thought that Bela Lugosi’s memory might not be very good so for Lugosi’s huge speech in Bride of the Monster, Wood had the prop man make cue cards. Lugosi, upset, insisted he didn’t need cue cards and he would “memorize it.” Wood still insisted on the cue cards telling Lugosi, “We have to be safe.” Bela Lugosi went to Paul Marco for help. He had Marco promise not to show him the cue cards during the scene. Paul Marco held the cards at his side the whole time and Lugosi never looked over once. Bela Lugosi gave a sensational performance and the whole crew got up and applauded.