Scary Season Spoof: Frankenstein by Ludworst Bemonster
IN A CREEPY OLD CASTLE
ALL COVERED WITH SPINES
LIVES TWELVE LITTLE MONSTERS
IN TWO CROOKED LINES.
IN TWO CROOKED LINES
THEY BROKE THEIR HEADS,
PULLED OUT THEIR TEETH
AND WET THEIR BEDS.
And we're off and spoofing, in "Ludworst Bemonster's" Frankenstein (Feiwel & Fiends, er, Friends, 2012), just published in time to get us in the mood for the scary season.
In a merry monster mashup of Ludwig Bemelmans' classic Madeline, Ludwig Bemonster, a.k.a. Nathan Hale, borrows the familiar rhyme scheme and verse form loosely to tell a tale of the terrible twelve, a student body made up of the usual Halloween suspects--a little vampire, werewolf, mummy--with the chief mischief-making monster, "the ugliest of all," Frankenstein. These terrifying twelve are overseen by Miss Devel (rhymes with Miss Clavel), who sleeps downstairs from the dorm on a gurney in some sort of mad scientist's lab.
It seems that little Fearsome Frankie is the attention seeker of this class (there's always one, right?), and he knows just how to twist the tail of their keeper, Miss D.:
NO ONE KNEW QUITE SO WELL
HOW TO TORMENT MISS DEVEL.
ONE BLACK AND DARK AND DISMAL NIGHT.
MISS DEVEL TURNED ON THE LIGHT,
AND WHISPERED "SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT."
Miss Devel shrieks and calls for Dr. Bones when she realizes that Frankie's noggin is nowhere to be found. Luckily, in his lab the mad doctor has a vault of spare monster parts and it's no big deal to transplant a new head onto Frankenstein's squat neck. Upon regaining consciousness, Frankie is a bit hungry, so he chomps up the nursing staff and Dr. Bones, pronouncing with a satisfied slurp that they "taste like rabbit!"
Back at creepy castle academy, the other students are agog at Frankie's new noggin--especially the two bright new screws that he's sporting in his cervical area. In fact, they are more than impressed. They are jealous. And that night, not long after the weary Miss Devel straps herself onto her gurney for a restful coma, she senses a ominous omen in the air:
HOPING FOR NO MORE DISASTER,
MISS DEVEL RAN FAST
"OH, MONSTERS!" SHE PLEADED.
TELL ME WHAT IS TROUBLING YOU!"
ALL THE UGLY MONSTERS SAID--
EACH HAD LOST HIS HEAD.
The cover sports a familiar-looking silver seal which tips off the reader to the parody within: "A CalderNOT Horror Tale Silver Medal." Author Hale makes the most of Bemelmans' catchy verse form, while his spoofy illustrations provide plenty of visual humor. Older primary schoolers will instantly spot the oft-parodied monster movie props and stereotypes in this timely takeoff. Pair this one with Michael Rex's popular Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody (reviewed back in the day here) for a perfect pair of parodies designed to please and not to scare.
For a foretaste of the rib-tickling takeoff within, take in Ludworst's teasingly terrifying trailer here.