Thursday, July 07, 2011

Why I Write: Monsters

What was it that Guillermo del Toro said? "I have Monsters in my heart." I believe that was the quote. He meant it in a totally religious way.

I think that's how many of us feel about the monsters that placed us all on our path in the Fantastic. It's definitely one of the main things that has motivated me to create. I've loved monsters since the day I cracked the covers of a book about dinosaurs that my dad gave me. They were fantastic, they were amazing, they spurred my imagination. They were monsters.

Following are the celluloid monsters that made me create.

May we see more of their like until the day the last human lays down and finally dies. Dreaming of monsters.


The first time I saw this movie I was maybe five years old. I was hooked. There was no going back. There has never been anything like it since. A pox on those who tried to recapture this magic. It can't be done. You can't improve what is already perfect.

The Wolf Man, the hunter who becomes the hunted. So many underlying themes and endless possibilities.

George A. Romero's flesh-eating zombies. Good gravy, this was a stroke of pure genius. "They're dead. They're all messed up."

The TV series OUTER LIMITS floored me when I was in grade school. I watched it every week, wondering what new monster they would deliver. Along with the Zanti Misfits, the Galaxy Being was one that totally horrified and thrilled me.

I place this most fantastic of the dinosaur monsters here because it was so influential on the Atomic Age monsters who followed. And also because it was created by the best monsterist of my day, Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen shaped my mind as a kid. Along with his childhood pals, Ray Bradbury and Forry Ackerman: the triumvirate of monster men.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of the most iconographic film monsters of all time. Every kid I knew was blown away by this critter. Superbly realized and most effective monster-as-victim. Having Julie Adams as co-star didn't hurt.

Godzilla. More popular than James Bond. For a reason.

Dracula. The vampire has become one of the most popular monster types in popular media. For me, Christopher Lee portrayed him best.

I'll end with an actor. Boris Karloff (William Henry Platt--but we won't talk about that). He was Karloff to me when I was a kid. I think I loved every movie I ever saw that had him in it. One of the most under appreciated and underrated actors of the film era. Because he portrayed mainly monsters, and the larger critical community has no time for monsters. But I did. And I do. And I will.


2 comments:

dogboy443 said...

Brother you hit them all. Throw in a giant ant (Them) a walking carrot (Thing) and a overgrown woman (The Deadly Mantis) and you've got my entire childhood. OT was and is one of my all-time favorite shows growing up.

HemlockMan said...

Definitely, I should have included THEM!. I meant to, but left it out.