Archive for classic

Mad Monster Party (1967)

Posted in movies with tags , , , on October 31, 2012 by adam

Aw man, it’s the final Flavor of 2012. This year I saved a family classic for the finale, Rankin & Bass’ Mad Monster Party. The actual title is Mad Monster Party?, but I get uncomfortable putting end punctuation in the middle of a sentence.

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Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Posted in movies with tags , on October 16, 2011 by adam

When you think of the iconic Universal Studios monsters of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, you generally picture three genre-spawning icons – Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man – and one oddball: the lowly Gill Man, a/k/a the creature from Creature from the Black Lagoon. Though it was followed by a pair of fairly successful sequels, the star of Black Lagoon didn’t create anything near the lasting cinematic legacies of his fellow supernatural headliners. Yet somehow there the image of Gill Man still sits, forever enshrined as one of the great monsters of the golden era of motion picture horror. That seems a little strange, doesn’t it?

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The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

Posted in movies with tags , , , on October 10, 2010 by adam

Hey guess what: it’s 10/10/10! To celebrate the once-in-a-century occasion I’ve chosen my favorite cryptid’s big screen debut. Bigfoot gets that special honor because it’s as close to a truly American monster as I can think of. Aside from Glenn Beck, of course.

The Sasquatch is a myth that goes back to indigenous tribes and has persisted fairly prominently in American culture ever since. A huge source of that persistence, and one that has escaped my clutches until now, was 1972’s The Legend of Boggy Creek. Credited as the first bigfoot movie ever, this low-budget drive-in special has given birth to an entire genre of film and television, not to mention the real name of my family’s first dachshund, Sassy – a name I CAME UP WITH, DAD.

The idea that such a powerful, majestic and shy creature might exist just beyond the reach of our ever-expanding civilization really resonates with western imaginations, and I’m not just talking Harry and the Hendersons and that cool episode of MacGyver. The big ape-man is on some cable channel on a weekly basis and there’s awesome stuff like January’s Bigfoot Film Festival, organized by the incomparable Alexis Dow Campbell of the Ned Smith Center in Pennsylvania. And on and on, all the way down to this little gem, which will hopefully find enough financing to earn its place on my shelf of shame next to Sharktopus. (For the record, Sasquatch would totally crush Yeti in a fight, unless the fight takes place in the Himalayas, in which case Sasquatch still wins but in a much closer match. America rules!)
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The Wolf Man (1941)

Posted in movies with tags , on October 3, 2010 by adam

Can you believe I’ve never seen The Wolf Man? A major oversight to be sure, but one I’ve thankfully remedied. In general I was impressed, though it’s nowhere near Frankenstein or Dracula in terms of overall quality. I’d always felt bad for Lon Chaney Jr. and his subsequent typecasting but after finally seeing how he got his biggest break (not that he needed one, his dad was a huge silent film star) I don’t feel so bad. Except when playing to his natural shoe-shuffling oafiness, he didn’t show a whole lot depth in The Wolf Man. Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy his performance; quite the contrary, I found his suffering as the unwitting victim of a terrible curse gripping and substantial. But he was clearly uncomfortable as the dashing rake in the early scenes and when he becomes frantic toward the end he’s a little too melodramatic even for the genre during that period. And considering he went on to make like a hundred movies and a jillion dollars afterward, yeah, I guess things weren’t so bad for old Lon.

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