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.
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.
“Chuck Berry was on to something.”
Name: G. Gordon Gorgo
AKA: Bangers and Smash, Bloke in Suit, Soupy Scales.
First Appearance: Gorgo (1961)
Monster Type: Notzilla.
Its Place in the Film: Though they originated our language, colonized the piss out of the globe, and gave us Lenny Henry, the British are continually dogged by an inferiority complex, especially when it comes to cinema. Sure, things have been looking up lately with the release of Mr. Bean’s Holiday, but our pals from across the pond still get a bit envious from time to time. That’s why, after years of sitting out the giant monster boom that spawned King Kong, Godzilla, Them and so much more, the Brits just had to leap into the fray with Gorgo, a sixty-foot-tall tower of reptilian power that gets captured and exploited back in ol’ Blighty. And that’s actually one of Gorgo‘s better twists: the real badass is Mama Gorgo, who smashes up London looking for her shanghaied kid. But it’s the little guy who wins our hearts (even though he does a light bit o’ killing in the early going); he’s like Oliver Twist with a profound disrespect for property.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Godzilla with red eyes and a propensity for whining.
Why It Is Forgotten: For years, I only knew Gorgo through a couple of horror film picture books; in other words, the film didn’t receive a whole lot of play on local (American) independent television stations. So the movie sort of captured my imagination via two or three glossy photos. Though I’ve heard Gorgo aired fairly frequently in other parts of the country, I didn’t view it in its entirety until I was in college (with a group of geeks who’d never even heard of the film).
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: Gorgo may be hopelessly antiquated, but it’s very kid friendly in that the titular monster is a stripling and he makes it out of England alive (with mother in tow).
“You talkin’ through me? Well, I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking through?”
AKA: Anthony Hopkin’s right hand man. The Certifiable Gabbo.
First Appearance:Magic (1978)
Monster Type: Dummy.
Its Place in the Film: Corky is a man trying to make it as a magician and failing because he forgot to overlook one simple fact: Magic is gay. He stages a comeback show after heeding some advice from his agent Ben (played by the immortal Burgess Meredith) and comes back with a dummy named Fats, who’s a smartass with a dirty mouth. He’s an instant hit, but Corky starts relying on Fats for everything in his life. Ben becomes concerned, naturally, but can’t compete with Fats’ sense of self-preservation. Not only that, but Fats becomes jealous of Corky’s relationship with his old flame Peggy (as should anyone, she’s played by Ann-Margaret), so he starts prodding him into a murder spree.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Doubles as a blunt weapon. Likes knives. Manic Eyes. Magic hands. Speaks with Anthony Hopkins’ raspy, whispery voice. Wooden personality.
Why It Is Forgotten: The trailer was pulled after parents complained that it was giving their kids nightmares. Critics didn’t know what to make of it and gave it mixed reviews. Dummies staged mass protests in the streets while their partners drank glass after glass of water.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: Fuck a Hannibal Lector. Anthony Hopkins’ creepiest role to date is right here. He learned how to do the whole ventriliquism thing and do it really damn well, making Fats the creepiest doll since Willie in the Twilight Zone episode The Dummy. Plus, in the film you get to see Ann-Margaret’s pendulous baby feeders.