Frankenstein’s Monster. Dracula. Freddy Krueger. Leatherface. Godzilla.
Henry Kissinger. These are some of the monsters whose names get evoked
every year at Halloween, the monsters with the highest Q ratings and
maybe their own personal publicists. But there are many more monsters
out there, monsters who kill, terrorize and stalk their prey far
outside of the limelight. For the next few weeks, we’re going to be
paying tribute to these Forgotten Monsters of Filmland.
Some of these monsters are just a successful film away from making the
mainstream. Some were more popular years ago and have fallen out of
favor. Some are just sort of utterly bizarre. Some of these monsters
will be familiar to the loyal readers of CHUD.com, while others will
make just about everybody scratch their head. All of them deserve more
love. That’s where we come in.
Relax! He can taste fear.
Name: The Brainiac
AKA: Baron Vitelius.
First Appearance: Brainiac (AKA El Bar’n del terror – 1962)
Monster Type: Skull-sucker. Book reader.
Its Place in the Film: While being burned to death for the crimes of sorcery, consorting with the devil and jaywalking; Baron Vitelius proclaims to his inquisitors that he will return in 300 years to kill their lineage. His return will coincide with the arrival of a comet, but unfortunately not the Day of the Comet. The Baron makes good on his word, and comes back as THE BRANIAC. Most witches and sorcerers that put a curse on you tend to come back as a spirit or ghost of some sort, but the Brainiac doesn’t mess around in its quest for the one thing that makes it happy. Brains. It grabs people with its disgusting, tubey claw hands and sticks its tongue in the base of their neck, where it sucks out all the yummy gray matter within. He’s especially popular with the ladies, this guy, as he can change at will from Latin lover to life injester.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Giant, pulsating head. Horns. Forked tongue that puts Gene Simmons to shame. Furry, tubed lobster-boy hands. Snappy suit. Shape-shifting, invisiblity powers. Fear of fire.
Why It Is Forgotten: It’s an old Mexican film that even today is one of the most bizarre things you’ve ever seen. Also, because of modern society’s innate distrust of astrologers.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: Because it shows that all this time we should have been worried about Mexicans stealing not only our jobs, but our brains.
“Who’s making fun of someone’s funnel cake now, asshole?”
Name: He-Devils of the SS
AKA: Hogan’s Hellions. Juwanna Mann.
First Appearance: An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Monster Type: Nightmare Nazi
Its Place in the Film: Bitten by a werewolf when he just refused to stay off the fucking moors*, David Kessler finds that not only is he growing hair in new places and having conversations with his rapidly deteriorating dead best friend, he’s having intense nightmares, some of which feature a group of demonic Nazis performing a home invasion right in the middle of The Muppet Show. These monsters seem like a weird but scary interlude in the film when taken at face value, but if you read An American Werewolf in London as a story about a nice Jewish boy coming to terms with his more animalistic sexual impulses (and getting filled with lead for his trouble. Kinky!), they carry a deeper, guiltier meaning.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Rings bell before performing a massacre. Appear to wear Halloween masks. Have large budget for bullets.
Why It Is Forgotten: These Nazi beasts are the perfect example of forgotten monsters from a well-known movie – when you have the amazing Rick Baker FX and the funny and grody decay of Griffin Dunne, these guys are easy to lose in the shuffle.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: Just because they’re monsters doesn’t mean that their scene is any less scary; sure, you’re unlikely to find Demonic Deutschlanders invading your home, but there’s something terrifying about just going about your daily routine and having senseless and sudden violence visited not on you but your loved ones.