Every story has a beginning. All over New England grown men and women are obsessed with horror and science fiction movies. The thought of giant monsters, plastic Dracula fangs and men in scaly lizard suits flows through the nostalgia receptive areas of our brain like warm honey.
If you were like me Saturday mornings in the seventies were spent on the carpet in footie pajamas, with a bowl of horrifyingly sweet cereal, where the milk had long turned the same blue as the artificial dye, in front of the cool flickering glow of a cathode ray television set. From the time you got up till mid afternoon the finest entertainment was to be had, first from a block of cartoons that were long form advertisements for the bestest toys ever and then from Creature Double Feature.
Creature Double Feature was a double block of movies on channel 56 UHF in New England. Giant monsters, Universal classics and Hammer horror films filled these blocks and gave a seventies/eighties kid quite the education. Here are some of my favorite selections from the monster side of things.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature is my favorite of the classic Universal monsters, even though it came more than twenty years after they started making them. I think the difference between this and some of the earlier films is the modern pacing. Frankenstein and Dracula while still great feel a little bit slow for those of us that are used to quick edit action films. Plus, almost sixty years later the Gill-Man suit is still scary and otherworldly. I remember a pair of anaglyphic 3d-glasses coming in the TV Guide so we could watch the monster reach out for us.
Lon Chaney Jr, was not his dad even though he did inherit his career in horror. Lon was a slightly schlumpy everyman that you could relate to. When he became the monster you had empathy because it could have been you who was bitten by a cursed wolf. To this day I can’t tell for sure if the pathos that came through was really the man or just his performance.
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Cyborgs, aliens and giant robots, the holy trinity of science fiction. My favorite part is when they are operating on the cyborg and you get to see her clockwork innards. The epic battle at the end with Godzilla is how you do an action movie.
Destroy All Monsters
The superbowl of monster movies. All the giant monsters you could stomach in one film. DaM includes Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Baragon, and Varan. Breathtaking.
I’ll be the first to admit Gargoyles is a really terrible film. Really, really terrible. When you are an impressionable kid though you see through the rubber suits into a realm of pure AWESOME. The designs in Gargoyles frightened me so much that I somehow got my mother to make me a gargoyle costume that year for Halloween thoroughly confusing all of my neighbors.
Well, that’s my short list. Would love to hear yours. Pop on over to Facebook or chat in the comments to let us know.