Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monster Movies

Ok, I know that this post has nothing to do with broadway or even the theatre, but this is an "all things entertainment" blog afterall!  

From my earliest childhood I've always been fascinated by monster movies.  The recent destruction from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the photos and video of the aftermath made me think back to all of the Godzilla movies I enjoyed growing up.    So many of the photos from Japan looked like they came from one of the many movies in the Godzilla series.  I'm not trying to sound nonchalant about what happened in Japan, just saying what the images reminded me of as I can't begin to imagine what the people in Japan are going through, and my heart goes out to all of them for what they are dealing with.  

So, back to Godzilla, when I was very young, every Saturday night they'd have a "Creature Feature" on tv.  Where I grew up, the guy who hosted this local program was called "Sammy Terry" - get it?   He was this ghoul who told bad jokes and introduced the movies -but he had a fairly large following and his series of creature features ran for many years.   The local tv channels would also show monster movies on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  This was back in the days before cable when you only had 4 or 5 channels to pick from - anyone out there reading this today who is under the age of 30 can't imagine what life was like before cable tv.

My favorite movies to watch were Godzilla, Creature from the Black Lagoon, any of the Universal Monster movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Werewolf and I also loved to watch the 50's and 60's movies where giant creatures attack - movies like Them!.
I remember getting the weekly tv guide and flipping immediately to the Saturday listing to see what horror movies would be showing that weekend and getting very excited if one of my favorites was going to be shown.   Also at that time, the early 70's, the one movie theatre in town would often show double features on Saturday aimed at kids.   I remember many of these double features - Godzilla vs the Smog Monster and Beneath the Planet of the Apes was a very memorable one!

It is also interesting to look at how these types of horror films changed over the years.

Originally the films from the late 30's and 40's, were mainly based on the monsters in classic literature like Dracula, then that changed in the 50's to be movies as a result of the reaction to the Atomic age (Incredible Shrinking Man,  The Deadly Mantis, etc) and in the 60's became a reaction to the issues with the environment (Godzilla, etc.)   In the 70's you had the whole disaster movie phase, which is somewhat related to the monster movies I loved where now the "monster" was nature related in movies like Poseidon Adventure, and Earthquake, and horror classics like The Exorcist that definitely fall into the "monster" category if you ask me!  Then in the 80's the genre really went more into intense horror with the "human" monsters in the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  It didn't matter to me what period the movies where from, I loved them all.

As I got older, while still a fan of these movies, I have become an even bigger fan of the behind the scenes features that accompany a lot of the dvd releases - and the special features on the Universal monster series of films like Dracula, Bride of Frankestein and The Creature From the Black Lagoon dvds are a huge recommendation.

I also fell in love with the music from these films - there are many great compilation cds out there -some of which I'll list below -that I recommend for any monster movie music fans out there.

I mentioned previously how much I'm enjoying my home 3D tv experience, and I really hope that some of the monster movies from the 50's that were shot in 3D like Creature From the Black Lagoon and House of Wax get released on 3D blu ray for people to enjoy at home.

Godzilla - trailer:

Creature from the Black Lagoon- trailer:

Amazon link for Godzilla collection on dvd - The Godzilla Collection

Amazon link for Creature from the Black Lagoon Collection - Creature from the Black Lagoon - The Legacy Collection (Creature from the Black Lagoon / Revenge of the Creature / The Creature Walks Among Us)

Amazon link for a 10 movie Sci fi collection- a lot of great movies in this set! - The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection, Vols. 1 & 2

Amazon link for Them! and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms- two great classics along with two others- TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Sci-Fi Adventures (Them! / The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms / World Without End / Satellite in the Sky)

Monster Movie Music album - The Monster Movie Music Album

Creature from the Black Lagoon and others - CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON / TARZAN FILMS / THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE [Soundtrack]

Elvira- Haunted Hits - Elvira Presents Haunted Hits

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