I make no bones about it; I love monster movies. Yes, indeed, I do.
Still many monster movies that are awful have terrific monsters in them. These monsters have become somewhat legendary even though the movie or movies in which they appear are terrible. Here are a few awesome monsters in awful movies:
The Blob: This 1958 movie is the pits. It has a bunch of annoying 1950s teenagers that you want to see killed immediately. Yes, it does star a young Steve McQueen but other than that, the only thing it has going for it is the Blob. And what a great creature the Blob is!
Coming down in a cheesy meteor, the Blob was a small, gelatinous mass (akin to red jello) that attached itself to some dull, old, drunken guy who lived in a old, ramshackle house deep in the old woods. The Blob attaches itself to the old guy’s arm and starts eating him slowly. When he dies, it is no loss.
When the Blob has finished devouring the old guy and it has grown proportionally, it eats a doctor and then begins to eat dogs and other townspeople. Finally, the monstrous Blob gets into a movie theater and all hell breaks loose. How can they kill the beast? Don’t worry the annoying teenagers have figured out a way!
Yeah, they freeze the damn thing and the movie ends with the question of whether the Blob will return. (It does…in more awful movies.)
But this monster is a great idea. If it keeps eating it can devour almost all living things on the entire earth. Wow! A wonderful concept; the entire earth consumed by a look-alike to the dessert you get in a hospital. The movie is awful but the Blob is awesome.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon: A 1954 movie about a creature from—where else?—the Black Lagoon. It was originally presented in 3D and I saw it way back when, but the only thing I can remember from that viewing was some hand stuck in a rock of a mountain range of some type. I have seen it several times now in 2D as an adult. The movie rots in either format.
Even as a kid, I had to stifle the yawns until the creature actually appeared. It was the gill man, partly a water creature but with a human physique.
The creature fell in love with one of those pretty 1950s women who enjoyed swimming in a dark, murky lagoon somewhere in the Amazon jungle. Okay, so women back then were portrayed as idiots but I really didn’t care. They were pretty and that was enough for me. It was also enough for the creature who took to her immediately. In the Black Lagoon there was a dearth pretty gill girls.
Needless to say, he tries to kidnap her and make her his bride (or whatever such horny creatures made women in the Amazon) but he is stopped and then brought to civilization and, like King Kong, things did not go well for him.
This is one great monster and he appears in two more films, each worse than the one before. The creature is 0 for 3 in movies but he is a memorable guy.
Christopher Lee as Dracula in a host of movies: Christopher Lee played Dracula in a host of movies beginning with the quite good Horror of Dracula (1958), a Hammer films production. Then he made sequel after sequel, each one suckier than the one before it.
Lee was a magnificent Dracula; tall, sexy, masculine, who commanded every scene in which he appeared, even in movies that should have been eaten by the Blob.
I will still occasionally watch the Horror of Dracula, a movie that pits Lee’s consummate Dracula against Peter Cushing’s intense Dr. Van Helsing. These two were great in one movie that was worth watching until Hammer’s Dracula vehicle went steadily and speedily downhill. But Lee was awesome and I think of him as the best Dracula of all time.
Godzilla: A 1954 film that mimicked the terrific American movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). Admittedly, the movie has a great monster that is 300 to 400 feet tall; a fierce creature that can spew fire, but the movie itself goes up in smoke. The American producers dumped Raymond Burr into the film as a narrating American journalist for American audiences and based on his performance, Burr deserved what the teenagers in The Blob deserved. Until recent Godzilla movies, the entire series of Japanese films starring Godzilla as well as movies featuring other truly awesome monsters (Rodan among them) unfortunately need to be dumped into the radioactive part of the ocean from whence Godzilla obviously came. The awesome monsters cannot overcome a terrible screenplay, bad directing and lousy acting.
May modern filmmakers hear my prayer and give awesome monsters the films they deserve!
Frank’s web site is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available from smile.Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, kindle, e-books and at bookstores.