Terrance Aloysius "Slip" Mahoney (Leo Gorcey), Horace DeBussy "Sach" Jones (Huntz Hall), Chuck (David Gorcey) and Butch (Benny Bartlett) are sitting around in Louie’s Sweet Shop when a baseball comes crashing through the window hitting the owner, Louis Dumbrowsky (Bernard Gorcey), on the head. With nowhere to play the younger kids in the neighborhood are forced to play ball in the streets, resulting in smashed windows and lumps on people’s heads. Slip believes they need to find somewhere safe for the kids to play baseball. Sach suggests the empty lot next to the acme warehouse. The lot is owned by a reclusive family known as the Gravesends.
Slip gets on the phone and calls up the family to request a meeting to discuss the use of the lot. The Gravesends are an unusual family. The head of the family is Dr. Derek Gravesend (John Dehner). Derek and his brother Anton (Lloyd Corrigan) are mad scientists. When Derek talks to Slip on the phone and hears him mangle the English language Derek believes that Slip might be perfect for his next evil experiment. Derek wants to transfer a human brain into the head of his gorilla Cosmos (Steve Calvert). Derek invites Slip to the house.
Slip takes Sach with him to his meeting with the Gravesend family. They are greeted at the door by the butler, Grissom (Paul Wexler). Slip and Sach then meet the rest of the family. There is Francine (Laura Mason), a vampire and Amelia (Ellen Corby), a botanist with a man eating plant. Anton, the second of the two mad scientists is also there. Once they realize that Sach is even stupider than Slip their excitement grows. Now Derek wants Sach’s brain for his gorilla. Not to be outdone Anton thinks that Slip’s head would go nicely on his pet project, a robot named Gorog (Steve Calvert/Norman Bishop).
When a vicious rainstorm comes up Derek convinces Slip and Sach to spend the night. The Gravesend family each wants the boys for their own purposes. It’s every man for themselves as Slip and Sach are pursued through the vast mansion by family members as well as a run amok robot and an escaped gorilla.
“The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters” was released in 1954 and was directed by Edward Bernds. It is a horror comedy. In all there were 48 Bowery Boys movies. This was the thirty-fourth film in the series.
The movie is a sort of “kitchen-sink” horror movie. It has everything including a thunderstorm, an old mansion, 2 mad scientists, a vampire, a man eating plant, a robot and a gorilla. It also has all the slapstick comedy elements as well. You don’t necessarily have to be a Bowery Boys fan to enjoy the movie but it helps. Being a fan from when I was a child I got a kick out of the silly romp and tired jokes.
The Bowery Boys are often compared to Abbott and Costello. In that vein it’s easy to see that the Abbott and Costello movie “Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein” would be compared to “The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters”. Reportedly the Abbott and Costello film was the inspiration for the Bowery Boys chiller. In addition it is believed that the movie was also inspired by the Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons “The Addams Family”. This comparison is even more apparent as Grissom is similar to Lurch, Francine is similar to Morticia, Amelia is the GranMaMa figure and of course the man eating plant. Although Morticia’s plant, “Cleopatra”, is carnivorous it is also an African Strangler.
The gorilla and the robot were played by Steve Calvert except in the scenes where both characters appear. In those scenes Norman Bishop took the part of the robot.