Monsters Crash the Pajama Party: Spook Show Spectacular [DVD] [1965]

This thoroughly enjoyable DVD release -- one of the few family-friendly titles from exploitation merchants Something Weird Video -- has been designed to take advantage of the DVD medium as few other discs have. The Monsters Crash the Pajama Party disc is built around the 1965 short subject of the same name, which was designed to be shown as part of a live spook-show presentation. Like the rest of the material, it's been transferred to disc at the full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with the audio mastered in Dolby Digital Mono. But that film is just the tip of the iceberg. Instead of a conventional menu, this disc has you navigate your way though illustrations of a graveyard and a haunted house, where, by clicking on particular items (a tree, a bat, a gravestone), you can call up dozens of things -- anything from horror-themed home movies of the 1920s to a hilariously shoddy-looking 3-D short (Asylum of the Insane) to a gallery of vintage spook-show ads to a full-length film, Tormented. Since none of the items are identified on the "menu," this might be frustrating for someone looking to find a specific item, but as a video hide-and-seek game, it's plenty of fun for kids and genre enthusiasts alike; and if the quality of the source material varies quite a bit, that seems somehow fitting given the theme of the disc. Something Weird has also thrown in a pair of 3-D glasses for good measure, and included two optional commentary tracks during Monsters Crash the Pajama Party in which old-time spook-show operators discuss the finer points of their trade. Clever, well researched, and lots of fun, this is one of the few DVDs that suggest that its producers realize the disc is more than a souped-up video cassette, and have designed it accordingly. The result is a very entertaining release.
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Special Features

  • Commentary track by Harry "Dr. Jekyl" Wise
  • Commentary track by Philip "Dr. Evil" Morris
  • "Asylum of the Insane" 3-D short
  • 3-D glasses


Monsters Crash the Pajama Party
A group of sorority girls are instructed to spend the night in a haunted house as an initiation. None of them believe in ghosts, and all expect their boyfriends to show up at midnight in an attempt to scare them with store-bought masks, so they relax in their pajamas and wait for the fun to start. Little do they suspect that the house also holds a secret laboratory where a mad scientist is performing nefarious experiments, turning beautiful girls into gorillas. The girls are abducted and chained in the basement, but luckily their boyfriends arrive in the nick of time and fight off the crazy doctor's henchmen (a werewolf, a gorilla, and a creature of some indeterminate type). Incensed at his monsters' failure to procure a girl for his experiments, the mad scientist instructs them to blast a hole in the movie screen with a laser gun and venture out into the audience. At this point the screen goes blank, and during Monsters Crash the Pajama Party's original theatrical run, actors wearing identical monster costumes would run through the crowd, chasing girls to bring back up onscreen with them. It's all played for laughs and both the comedy and horror is extremely lightweight, best enjoyed by fans of schlock cinema or anyone who feels nostalgic for the live "spook shows" that used to tour the country so many years ago. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi

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