Monday, July 25, 2011

My top five best worst movie Monsters

I'm painting a monster at the moment. And, as is my wont when painting, I play a lot of terrible B Movies in the background to keep the mood appropriately silly. My knowledge of shite movies is fairly encyclopaedic although sites like Badmovies.org and Rotten Tomatoes are regularly visited to learn more.

Today I thought I'd highlight five of my favourite bad monsters, mostly made of chicken wire and sponge rubber and on a budget of nothing. They are a joy to behold.

5: The Green Slime (1968)

A colour film that has the dual delights of very poor camerawork and the funkiest theme song ever (hear it and see some clips here). This was an American/Japanese crossover film made in Tokyo and was described by reviewer Howard Thomson like this: 'The dialogue is wooden, so is most of the acting by a cast including Robert Horton, Richard Jaeckel and Luciana Paluzzi. And a dull and obvious romantic triangle continually squashes the terror potential at the ripest moments.' But hey, that theme song! 'Greeen sliiiiiiiiiiiime!'

4: The Giant Claw (1957)

In one of the most muddled attempts at a science-based monster movie ever, we find Geoff Morrow - later to appear in the brilliant This Island Earth - as an electrician fighting a monstrous anti-matter bird from outer space. The scene where it treats a train the same way a robin would treat a worm is, well, a treat. You can watch the whole movie for free here! I strongly suggest that you do.

3: Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)

The first of two films in my top 5 directed by the genius that is Roger Corman. Certainly the cheapest monster in my selection, he seems made of cardboard, packing tape, two ping pong balls and gloves with knitting needles attached Freddie Krueger style. It's hilariously bad. Watch the climax of the film (the best monster bits) here or, if you don't mind a five minute ad intro, you can see the whole damned mess here for free.

2: It Conquered the World (1956)

Roger Corman film Number Two. Lee Van Cleef and Peter Graves tackle a mindbending super butternut squash from Venus. Watch the final five minutes here. Look closely and you can actually see the point where Lee Van Cleef thinks to himself, 'Did I really need the money so badly?'

1: Robot Monster (1953)

What money-savvy visionary came up with the idea to mount a diver's helmet on a gorilla suit and add some wires? Voila! Instant alien overlord! Ro-Man Extension XJ9 - known simply and bizarrely as 'Roman' for most of the film - is overseeing the elimination of the final 8 survivors of humanity. With the aid of a machine that blows bubbles and advice from an identical roman called 'The Great Guidance', he slowly kills off the hu-mans until finally defeated. Then, we find out it was all a dream. Or was it? Yes, probably. Made in just four days on a budget of $16,000 Robot Monster is a joy from start to finish. Watch the trailer here.

So, that's my top five. But I must give an honourabe mention to the infamous 'carpet monster' from the 1964 film The Creeping Terror.


In this oddest of films, the monster is a Chinese New Year Dragon type affair quite obviously operated by several burly chaps. In fact, their shoes emerge from under the creature's belly at several points in the film. But the greatest oddity is that the director Vic Savage decided to have a narrator speak over most of the film instead of allowing us to hear the actors' voices. Savage was a psychotic and manipulative conman who'd escaped from prison and persuaded people to fund his appalling film. It's such a bizarre feature that there is soon to be a documentary-film released called Creep! that tells the whole astonishing story (trailer here). I hope it's as worthy a tribute to bad film makers as Tim Burton's wonderful Ed Wood was.

So ... what are your worst movie monsters?

2 comments:

Kanedoras said...

As I understand it, the reason The Creeping Terror was so heavily narrated was that the camera or sound equipment actually fell into a body of water while they were filming, destroying much of the audio tracks.

Creature from the Haunted Sea is definitely up there for me, so I loved seeing it on the list. The googly-eyed sock puppet from The Sea Monster is a good one, but I don't think you can beat the creatures in The Mighty Gorga. It's a King Kong ripoff where you never see the ape below the waist (they didn't have enough material to finish the costume), and a T-Rex that is hands-down the worst (serious) monster ever committed to the screen.

Honorable mention to the sheep monster from God Monster of Indian Flats, I'd say.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Not seen 'Gorga' - one to seek out. And yes, 'God Monster of Indian Flats' is amazing!

Interesting to hear about the equipment in 'Creeping Terror'. Reminds me of Peter Jackson's first film, 'Bad Taste' that was shot with a silent camera and the soundtrack added later. There's also a great scene where, with skilful editing, Jackson has a fight with himself :)