Saturday, June 12, 2004

"They Did the Mash"----



Old film monsters are like comic book characters: even when they're "killed off", they never seem to stay dead for long.

'Got to thinking about movie monsters and how I was so into that whole scene when I was about 12 or 13, buying every issue of Famous Monsters, Monsters Unlimited,Castle of Frankenstein,etc. and all of those great Aurora plastic models. I remember even entering Famous Monsters's "Monster Model Customizing Contest". The winners were "King Kong" and a "Dracula" diarama. Some guy had practically built a city for the great ape to go rampaging through, and the Drac' had his "brides" about him ("Barbie Dolls"). Hey! Nobody told me I could do that?! I glued real fur to my Wolfman, which my mom wasn't real thrilled about since it was the collar off of one of her winter coats!

I think one of my favorites of the Aurora monster kits was actually, "The Guillotine". I took that one to school and showed it off during history class when we were studying The French Revolution (well, I was always an Addam's Family sort'a kid). In fact, some of the later model kits were indeed a little more elaborate, like the "Addam's Family Haunted House" and "The Munster's Living Room", and I had them all (and still do either in originals or re-issues these days).

Was always a big fan of monster movies, but too young to remember ever seeing them in their original releases. No, here locally we got Channel 5 out of Nashville, Tenn. and every week day at 4PM CST, they had a movie called "The Big Show", where I watched tons of monster, sci-fi, detective, etc. flicks. It was a daily happening around my house, clipped down as they were to about an hour and 15 minutes(not counting the numberous commercials)so that station could use the remaining time to show local weather.

But then in the early 1970's there was also a late night horror flick that showed on Saturday nights over WSMV-TV (Channel 4) out of Nashville; the type with the hokey MC. In our case it was "Sir Cecil Creape", who was dressed up with funny teeth and a bald wig and cape like a vampyre. He purposely played it up for laughs, and would end every show with a "Good-Nite, sleep tight, and-don't-let-the-beddy-bugs-bite!" Such a hoot! (Numberous times I'd spend the weekend over at my parent's house and always stayed up later than they would; my folks would shout from their bedroom,"Turn that thing off and go to bed!")

Of course, we had drive-in movies and movie houses. About every weekend there was a double-bill of (usually) John Agar flicks, fighting "Giant Brains from the Planet Arous" or some such thing. The movie houses were where I got to see un-cut versions of all those wonderful Vincent Price adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stuff. Those flicks always really scared the bewilligers outta me!

And today I own scores of uncut copies of these old horror flicks, but, do I watch them and appreciate them as much? Nope. Guess after watching all of them again at least once they just don't give me the thrill they did as a kid. There were too many years of slasher and gore flicks that's made me de-sensitized to their classicness. Now they get a classification more of "camp", than horror.

But I still can't seem to turn the station to another channel when one comes on.

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