When I was a boy, my father handed down to me—with all the mystical
reverence of handling the Ark of the Covenant—an old cardboard box filled with
the monster magazines he devoured in the 1960s. That was how I first started
reading Forest J. Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland, a cheap
black-and-white publication that covered old sci-fi movie monsters with the
relish a contemporary celebrity gossip rag would accord a Hollywood diva.
I was always fascinated by Famous Monsters. A large part of that were
the ads in the back, selling young movie buffs classic movies
to play on their own projectors.
What was strange is that these mail-order 8mm movies were actually
extremely edited-down versions of the films in question; all the films being
sold in Famous Monsters were short enough to fit on a single reel.
What’s even more surprising is how well they managed to pare down the material
to a scant 8 minutes.
This Bride of Frankenstein clip comes from one of those old reels,
and I’m surprised at how little is left out. It actually works. It’s like a
harbinger of YouTube.