Question of the Week: Creature Feature

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?

2 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Creature Feature

  1. My favorite classic movie monster is Dracula — specifically the Hammer Dracula of Christopher Lee. His portrayal of the vampire with animalistic intensity totally erases the (let’s be honest) campiness of Lugosi from my mind.

    For me, it’s always the Hammer films, even more so than the Universal monsters, that I would look forward to being shown on Kansas City’s version of Creature Feature, hosted by Crematia Mortem, when I was in high school.

    Contemporary monster? Not sure I have one. There haven’t been too many — although I do appreciate the return to the classic haunted-house film in recent years (The Conjuring, Insidious, etc.), because I’m a fan of the format.

  2. For classic monster, if have to join you, Dave, in celebrating Lon Chaney’s wolfman. His tragic story wrenched at me, and one thing I miss most as an adult is gazing at a full moon with a thrill of tremulous trepidation. Del Toro’s remake/sequel made me happy, and I love revisiting the monster in game designs.

    For modern monster, I’d probably go with the graboids from Tremors, unless you insist on humanoid, in which case give me The Tall Man from the Phantasm series.

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