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.
“Once you go Boogen you never go back.”
Name: The Fiend Without a Face
Name:AKA: Barry Baines Boogen, Jr., Tuck Neverlasting.
First Appearance: The Boogens (1982)
Monster Type: Mine Grazer.
Its Place in the Film: Clambering out of an abandoned silver mine and into your heart, the Boogen is an adorable lil’ fella starved for attention and human flesh. Hailing from Silver City, Colorado, ol’ Boogen and his pals (The Boogens) been sealed-off from the world for a good long while ‘cuz some of the fellas got a little overzealous and ate up twenty-seven mineworkers back in the day. Clearly, they were in the wrong, but, really, did the townsfolk have to go and cave-in the mine just because a few bad Boogens exceeded their daily allotment of miner? Many years later, without so much as a fucking note of conciliation, the mine is reopened for business (much to the dismay of village cassandra, Jon Lormer), and guess what? It’s Boogen Time!
Distinguishing Characteristics: Half turtle, half tentacled something-or-other, and all charmer. Gets great slashing action out of its lanky tenta-claws. Will settle for poodle meat.
Why It Is Forgotten: Though it holds up better than one might expect (the screenplay is co-written by a pseudonymous Jim Kouf), the film went right the fuck out of print after turning up on pay cable back in the early 80s. The long-defunct Jensen Farley Pictures distributed The Boogens domestically. They also handled Joysticks and the immortal Timerider: The Adventure of Lynn Swann, both of which are now available on DVD.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: May soon overtake black lung disease as the leading cause of death for West Virginian coal miners.
“Hey baby, wanna touch my medulla oblongata?”
AKA: Fiendy McNoskull. Krang.
First Appearance: Fiend Without a Face (1957)
Monster Type: Thought-Monster. Mental Vampire.
Its Place in the Film: When crowds of Canadians start showing up strangled the nearby townsfolk get pissed, and blame it on the nearby American Air Force Base. It’s not just the Molson, though- it is their fault. The Americans have been conducting weird experiments with a nuclear radar gun, unknowingly stimulating a neighboring mad scientist who’s been conducting experiments of his own on psychokinesis. They find out way too late that he’s been causing all this mindlessness, as he’s created invisible creatures which are running around choking the canucks. What’s worse is what they are- mobile killer brains, possibly jealous of the Canadian’s warm skull-caps. Thankfully the invisible brains go down pretty easy with a bullet.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Invisibility. Cute brain-stem antennas. Combination spinal column/pogo stick. Leaky spinal fluid. Thoughts of violence.
Why It Is Forgotten: People weren’t ready for stop-motion brains getting shot and bleeding out all over the place when this film came out.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: Romero ripped off the ending standoff scene in Night of the Living Dead. Also, it’s getting a remake, so if you see it now you can delight in snobbery as you turn up your nose at the sure to be CGI brains.
Name: The Fiend Without a Face