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.
“No, this is my mean face. And my nice face. And my meloncholy face. And my Estella Warren face…”
Name: Lak Sivrak
AKA: Curse of the Queerwolf. Baker’s Fuzz’n. Indian Name: Covered With Pixels.
Appearances: Star Wars (1977)
Monster Type: Where Wolf?
Its Place in the Film: If you call it a place, Lak’s lone contribution to the Star Wars mythos is a brief moment in the Mos Eisley cantina in the original release of the film. Hurting for “extras”, Lucas went out to makeup artists (including Rick Baker) to fill the margins with beasts. Many of them were people with static masks, which probably led some kids to believe that jaws that move were verboten on Tattooine. Lak’s a hyena/wolf atrocity who reeks of last minute decisionmaking and though he looks way out of place, he added to the homegrown and warm nature of the original untouched film. So they digitally replaced him with a CGI squidboy in the Special Edition. Don’t be sad. As is typical with Star Wars nobodies, he has nine novels, six video games, thirteen action figures, a blanket, a wristwatch, three role-playing games, four Halloween costumes, and one inexplicable female diaphragm bearing his likeness.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Wolf-like. Gone.
Why It Is Forgotten: Because he was already a “blink and you missed it” type of character before becoming a “blink all you want, the fucker’s outta here” type of character. Some people say that George Lucas is a perfectionist and this is a casualty of that mad brilliance. Other say that George Lucas is fucked in the fuckface.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: Because it’s comforting to know that there’s some sort of werewolf out there in the Star Wars world ready to eviscerate Mon Mothma or hump the leg of Bossk.
Knife on Bald Mountain.
Name: Horace Pinker
AKA: Two in the Pinker, One in the Stinker*. Electro. Berg’s Bane. Skinner.
Appearances: Shocker (1989) - BUY IT FROM CHUD & AMAZON
Monster Type: Electric Horaceman.
Its Place in the Film: Mean spirited serial killer Horace Pinker is running around town offing entire families, and no one can catch him – until Peter Berg starts having prophetic dreams about the killings. When Pinker is captured and sentenced to death the very next week, he enlists the forces of darkness (represented by a big pair of floating lips that say ‘You got it baby!’) to make him immortal. His time in the electric chair just unleashes his new infernal power, which is to jump from body to body and then eventually travel through electricity and TV transmissions. It’s up to Peter Berg, his girlfriend’s ghost (I swear to Christ) and a remote control to finally switch Pinker off.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Bald. Limps (even in other bodies!). Dixie fried. Staticky. Allergic to bling. Jumps in and out of people like the goddamned clap or something.
Why It Is Forgotten: Shocker is a bona fide bizarre movie that was probably too weird and generally ill-conceived to be Wes Craven’s next A Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s got a wise-cracking serial killer, devil worship, a ghost, predictive dreams, gay Ted Raimi, terrible special effects and a hair metal soundtrack. The film often feels like Craven is just making it up on the day, and Pinker’s one liners make Freddy Kreuger sound like Lenny Bruce (‘Take a ride in my VOLTSwagon’ is one of his better jokes). The film’s strange chase through TV channels tends to be the only thing people remember about this odd, odd film.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: The TV chase that overshadows the rest of the movie has Pinker and Berg inserted into historical film footage five years before Forrest Gump would do the same thing. That alone is a reason to pay attention to this movie. But Pinker himself deserves some love – for the love of Pete, it’s Mitch Pileggi doing some kind of DeNiro in Cape Fear thing… two years before Cape Fear! (This movie is as oracular as Berg’s dreams, it turns out) Pinker’s kind of lovable because he feels like he’s just been thrown together to hit all the villain quadrants and he has no backstory, no reason for being whatsoever. I know that doesn’t sound like a positive thing, but when it’s Pileggi chewing his way through the scenery (and sometimes his castmates!) and surrounded by a whole bunch of insane mumbo jumbo, end up with a totally surreal, completely unique monster.
*I wish I could take credit for that.
- Devin Faraci