I have no idea how I first learned about Monsters Crash the Pajama Party, but when I spotted it on my Letterboxd watchlist, I was intrigued. Go past me! She knows what’s up.
This is a pretty unusual film in general, but it’s one of the few short films I’ve seen from the 1960s. In fact, it might be the only one I’ve seen outside of those educational films that RiffTrax like so much.
Monsters Crash the Pajama Party is a cheesy “spook show spectacular” that manages to be both very low budget and amusing. One of my favourite combinations.
The opening credits are unique. Instead of the usual title sequence with credits, a voice-over introduces everyone as gorillas stand-in doing the work of the sound editor, camera operator and the like.
A group of kids soon arrive at a ‘haunted’ mansion where a group of sorority initiates have to stay the night. None of the girls believes in ghosts and expects the night to be fairly uneventful. Their boyfriends drop the girls off and seemingly leave them to their own devices.
Unbeknownst to them, the mansion is home to a secret laboratory. A mad scientist lives there concocting experiments and ordering around his gorilla lackeys. One of the girls is kidnapped by a gorilla and brought to the lab.
The remaining girls split up to look for their friend, believing that the boys are behind it with their pranks. One-by-one the girls are grabbed by various henchmen and brought down to the lab (so see what’s on the slaaab).
It’s up to the boys to return and save the girls. But they have to fend off a selection of monsters first!
This is schlocky goodness. The acting is hammy, but the cast is clearly enjoying themselves. The sets and costumes are wonderfully 60s. The SFX are definitely low budget, but in a way that can be found charming if you enjoy that style.
Apparently during screenings of this short, actors dressed as monsters from the movie would walk through the cinemas. I love that sort of William Castle gimmicky fun. I can’t think of any movie in recent times that has fun with its audience in that sort of way. Unless you count those 4DX cinemas, and I know I don’t. This is the sort of movie I’d love to see be remade for modern audiences – it would take true ingenuity.
This is a short and sweet movie very much like Scooby Doo meets Roger Corman. It’s plenty of fun and worth seeking out if you need an amusing way to spend 30 minutes of your time.