As a kid, I loved nothing better than monster movies. They weren’t horror movies; they were monster movies. My friends and I traded monster cards, and on weekends I watched Count Gore DeVol (Dick Dyszel) present an endless parade of monsters on Creature Feature.
The first magazine I ever subscribed to was, of course, Famous Monsters of Filmland. What captured my imagination most were the articles on makeup and special effects. The earliest Halloween costume I remember making myself was a mummy (for which I tied for third place). By high school, I was doing my own prosthetics and makeup to transform into Quasimodo (ask me about the last day the Mormons came to our house) or the Wolfman and entertain the lineup for our marching band’s annual haunted house fundraiser.
Lon Chaney’s Wolfman was my early favorite, even though I recognized that Karloff’s performance in Bride of Frankenstein was the best depiction of a monster (with apologies to Lon’s father, who was overall the greatest monster actor). After puberty, just as young boys eventually give up Luke Skywalker for Han Solo, I transferred my sympathies to the Creature from the Black Lagoon because all he wanted was the girl.
Answer me two questions this week: Who’s your favorite classic (pre-1970) movie monster? And who’s your favorite contemporary movie monster? Of course also: why?