Beatniks Theo, Zelda, and Bird discover the dangers nuclear mutuations when they screen “Bride of the Monster” Saturday at Midnight on WBBZ-TV!
Bride of the Monster is a 1955 American science fiction horror film directed, written, and produced by Edward D. Wood Jr., and starring Bela Lugosi, along with Tor Johnson, Tony McCoy and Loretta King.
In a stretch of woods, two hunters are caught in a “raging thunderstorm”. They decide to seek refuge in Willows House, which is supposedly abandoned and haunted. When they reach Willows House, they find it to be occupied and the current owner repeatedly denies them hospitality. One of the hunters attempts to force his entry into the house, but a giant octopus is released from its tank and sent after the intruders. One of the fleeing hunters is killed by the octopus, while the other is captured by the giant. The owner is a scientist, Dr. Eric Vornoff, and the giant is his mute assistant, Lobo. Vornoff explains that he will perform an experiment on the unwilling hunter, who dies on the operating table.
In a police station, Officer Tom Robbins sees Lieutenant Dick Craig. There are now 12 missing victims, and the police still do not know what happened to them. The reporter behind the newspaper reports is Janet Lawton, Craig’s fiancée. Janet forces her way into the office and argues with Robbins, and vows to go to Lake Marsh to investigate. At the police station, Robbins and Craig have a meeting with an intellectual from Europe, Professor Vladimir Strowski, who agrees to assist the police in investigating the Marsh, but not at night. As night falls and another storm begins, Janet drives alone to Lake Marsh, but visibility is poor and she drives off the road and into a ravine. Lobo rescues her.
Janet awakens at Willows House. Vornoff assures her that Lobo is harmless, but the giant seems fascinated with the female captive and approaches her with questionable intent. Vornoff explains the giant is human and that Vornoff found him in the “wilderness of Tibet”. Vornoff then hypnotically places Janet back to sleep. He orders Lobo to transport the captive to Vornoff’s private quarters. Meanwhile, Strowski silently approaches Willows House and enters through the unlocked front door. By late evening, Craig and his partner return to the swamp and discover Strowski’s abandoned car. The partners split up to search the area, Craig heading towards Willows House. Back in the secret laboratory, Janet arrives dressed as a bride, summoned through telepathy. He has decided to use her as the next subject of his experiments. Meanwhile, Craig has entered the house and accidentally discovers the secret passage. He is himself captured by Vornoff and Lobo.
As the experiment is about to begin, Lobo is visibly distressed. Taking his decision, Lobo rebels and attacks Vornoff. After a fight, Lobo knocks Vornoff out, releases Janet, and transports the unconscious Vornoff to the operating table. The scientist becomes the subject of his own human experiment. This time the experiment works and Vornoff is transformed to an atomic-powered superhuman being. He and Lobo physically struggle and their fight destroys the laboratory and starts a fire. Vornoff grabs Janet and escapes from the flames. Robbins and other officers arrive to help Craig. The police pursue Vornoff through the woods. There is another thunderstorm, and a lightning strike further destroys Willows House. With his home and equipment destroyed, a distressed Vornoff abandons Janet and merely attempts to escape. Craig rolls a rock at him and lands him in the water with the octopus.
“Off Beat Cinema” began as a local program Halloween weekend 1993 with the broadcast of the late George Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead” on Buffalo’s WKBW-TV. After a few years gaining a local cult following, the program went national in January 1997. The project moved to independent station WBBZ-TV in August of 2012. Currently, “Off Beat Cinema” is broadcast Saturday at midnight on WBBZ-TV; WGBT-TV in Rochester; in Corning/Elmira on WJKP-TV at Midnight, then again at 2am on WYDC-TV BIG FOX in the Twin Tiers; and both Saturday and Sunday night at 10p.m. on the Retro Television Network of stations across the country.
Advertising executive James Gillan created the show with television producer John Di Sciullo. Gillan commented, “Off Beat Cinema was a reaction to the insidious spread of infomercials and the yawning void of late night television. Plus, we offer all of this in glorious black and white!”
Gillan, the creator, writer and director, added, ” ‘Off Beat Cinema’ was designed to provide a forum for films that are not regularly shown on television, and in many cases that are not even available on video. There’s an enormous cache of films that an entire generation grew up watching that are otherwise unavailable. We wanted to capture that nostalgia as well as introduce these films to today’s viewers.”
Set in the fictitious Hungry Ear Coffee House, “Off Beat Cinema” is currently hosted by hepcat beatniks – “Bird The Painter” (artist/event planner Tony Billoni); and “The Mysterious Zelda” (actress Constance Caldwell) – and “Theodore” ( photographer/writer and movie maven Jeffrey Roberts), plus an eclectic mix of weekly guests. Over the years, “Off Beat Cinema” has hosted celebrities including Doc Severinsen, Lauren Bacall, the late Taylor Negron, William Shatner, Robby Takac and the Goo Goo Dolls, Toronto’s Tragically Hip, Jamestown’s 10,000 Maniacs, and Ani DiFranco, to name a few.
The background music for the show is performed by local musicians David Kane’s Them Jazzbeards. The program consistently supports Western New York musicians, artists, filmmakers, and organizations, giving them exposure on a national platform. They include the creators of FilmDumpster.com and the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival.
“Off Beat Cinema” delivers the good, the bad, and the foreign, showcasing campy sci-fi classics as diverse as “Teenagers from Outer Space” to classic “art films” such as “Rashomon”; with silent film greats like Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush.”
DiSciullo said of the show’s successful formula, “We wanted to create a show reminiscent of the late night film shows that every city had – the campy sci-fi low-budget films that made us beg our parents to allow us to stay up way past our bedtimes to watch. Plus, we are proud of our ability to showcase area artists and national guests integrated with the movies. We don’t offer running commentary during the movie. Instead, we let it roll for what it is.”
The show’s popularity can be measured by the fan mail and social media posts that come in week after week. Di Sciullo, the show’s producer, said, “The show clearly strikes a chord with the viewers. How many shows have you watched that inspired you enough to write a letter? Yet that’s exactly what our viewers do. We receive hundreds of pieces of mail from all across the continent. Comments about films we have aired, requests for other films, original poetry, and caffeine-induced philosophic ramblings!”
Moving forward for the 25th anniversary season, “Off Beat Cinema” is hoping to host a film festival at an area theater; more remote telecasts from Comicon’s and Western New York destinations shot in HD; a full studio audience participation show from the WBBZ-TV studio; and continuing to post programs on digital platforms.
Watch for upcoming special segments from the Buffalo showing of “The Natural” with director Barry Levinson and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz.
Viewers can connect with “Off Beat Cinema” online at www.offbeatcinema.tv and “Like” “Off Beat Cinema” on Facebook. You can follow the show on Twitter @OffBCinema. “Off Beat Cinema” also has a channel on You Tube.
WBBZ is seen throughout Western New York. For more information, visit www.wbbz.tv.
WBBZ is seen throughout Western New York over-the-air on digital channel 67.1. Ch. 5 on Verizon FiOS (HD 505); Ch. 5 Dish; Ch. 67 DirecTV, and these Spectrum Cable channels: Buffalo – Niagara Falls Metro area: Channel 5 (HD 1230); Batavia – Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans Counties Channel 71 (HD 1230); Parts of Erie and Niagara Counties Channel 71 (HD 1230); Dunkirk Channel 99 (HD 1230); Olean Channel 21 (HD 1230); Fredonia – Jamestown Channel 72 (HD 1230); Alfred- Angelica- Avoca- Bath- Bolivar Friendship- Hornell Channel 71 (HD 1230).
WBBZ-TV is WNY’s only locally owned and operated television station. 4545 Transit Road, suite 750 Williamsville, NY 14221. 716-630-9229. www.wbbz.tv “Like” WBBZ-TV on Facebook. Follow the conversation @WBBZ on Twitter