Still here at Five an old favourite – FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER. Various years!
He’s against nature! This sad, shambling wreck has taken on cinematic form since the early days of cinema itself and he’s stayed with us in one form or another. He may not be faithful to his creator, Mary Shelley, but he’s been a real pleasure for the mad doctor (as played by Peter Cushing, Udo Kier or Sir Kenneth Brannagh) and local villagers who take to the hills with burning torches. Here’s why!? We like the man-made monster, we sympathise with his plight – He didn’t want to be born, we ask the same questions about why we’re here and what our purpose in life is, though we kill less villagers in the process.
At four… Dr. Edward Pretorius, FROM BEYOND! 1986.
Sometimes the scientist himself, in his passionate quest for discovery, becomes the monster himself (we’re talking about you, too Jekyll!). And there are no more bizarre and twisted, utterly demented creatures than the beast from beyond that Edward Pretorius becomes, meddling in things he should have left alone. As directed by by Stuart (Re-Animator) Gordon, we follow a team of scientists, messing with the human brain’s pineal gland with some mental machinery called a Resonator (!) – unforeseen results mean they can see creatures from another dimension who, unfortunately, can see them! Pretty soon our mad doctor has become a crazed creature in a storm of head chomping, S&M fun from the ‘more is more’, completely over the top school of filmmaking.
At three and tearing the place to pieces – Godzilla. From a variety of films including GODZILLA from Ishirō Honda 1954.
The remake from Gareth Edwards (MONSTERS – Mayhem Film Fest’s very special guest a few years back) is on the way and hugely anticipated – expectations are running high enough to destroy Tokyo – but this classic beast from the ocean floor has terrorised the world, and squashed cities and citizens, with unprecedented popularity for 60 years. Like a reptilian wrestler he’s grappled oversized moths and even King Kong himself winning him a place in all monster movie fans hearts. We salute you Gojira – but not you Godzooky, the cartoon side-kick you were lumped with for the syndicated animation series of the 70’s – you were like Scrappy-Doo!
At two – THE THING from John Carpenter’s THE THING. 1982.
“You gotta be fucking kidding me!” No I’m not. He’s not one thing, he’s ‘things’ – it could be you, it could be me, it could be both of us. We’re all doomed. Alien creatures (the Alien from Alien, the Predator from Predator, the Blob from The Blob) are a perennial favourite. Developed from the original novella ‘Who Goes There?’ by John W. Campbell, Jr. (as well, of course from The Thing From Another World, 1951). Carpenter and the brilliant Rob Bottin design an incredible xenomorph able to assimilate other organisms (gulo, us!) and in turn imitate them. This is the cold classic, a dark ending meant box office failure but eventual cult classic status. A masterpiece of paranoia.
At one – some praise for a new monster – The Grabber, from GRABBERS. 2012.
Jon Wright’s brilliant blend of romance, laughs and monster movie (A MonRomCom!) is a blast! An Irish Termors of sorts with a great cast (Russell Tovey from Being Human!) and an even better premise. When aliens invade a sleepy Irish island the locals realise that the brilliantly designed creatures are allergic to alcohol and that their only chance of survival is to get drunk, very, very drunk indeed. The film is sure to spawn a drinking game, though it could probably finish you off. But the reason such a new film is here is because the creature/s themselves are so well designed. I’m not a huge fan of CGI effects, but here everything comes together perfectly, tentacle by tentacle.
Every generation gets the monsters it deserves, but some monsters remain favourites for generation after generation, reflecting the fears of every age. But one thing remains constant – we love monsters!
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