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.
“The mouth is pure friction. You really should try it. Friend.”
Name: Jeriba Shigan
AKA: Jerry, Gunnery Sergeant Emil Ugly, Col. Charles “Crappy” Sinclair, Shell Samuelsson
Appearances: Enemy Mine (1985)
Monster Type: Asexual Chocolate
Its Place in the Film: Jeriba is just another Drac from the planet of Draco, sworn enemy to the people of Earth because… they’re different. It’s an intractable conflict, the kind you’d rather keep fighting than question lest you fuck up and find yourself stuck in a Stanley Kramer movie. Unfortunately for Jeriba, he gets entangled in an intergalactic dust-up with an Earthling named Willis Davidge, and before you can recite the moral to The Defiant Ones (“Racism is Just Plain Bad”), he’s crash landed on a remote planet along with his enemy. Ever mindful of cliche, Jeriba does what he can to rid himself of his unwanted sphere-mate, but stupid old self-preservation overtakes interplanetary hatred, and soon he’s fast friends with Davidge (who nicknames him “Jerry” because the writers weren’t very clever). And so it goes for a few years. Then, Jerry gets, um, pregnant, and things get a little awkward. And Jerry gets a little dead.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Bumpy. Suffers from a gurgling speech impediment that makes him sound a little too much like a Klingon. Conceives immaculately.
Why It Is Forgotten: For a time during the 1980s, Enemy Mine was the hot science fiction screenplay. Keep in mind that this was right around the same time that kids were wearing camouflage and puffing out their chests after America achieved a swift and decisive victory in Grenada. It was a simple time. The film was unceremoniously dumped in theaters by 20th Century Fox when they realized a sci-fi rendition of The Defiant Ones was not going to be the next Star Wars.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: It is still the only film in which Academy Award winner Louis Gossett, Jr. gives birth.
The years have not been kind to Gene Simmons.
AKA: The Ripoffs. Stoner’s folly.
Appearances: Munchies (1987)
Monster Type: Tiny Creature That Loves To Party (TCTLTP)
Its Place in the Film: In this Harvey Korman vehicle (seriously), one of the Munchies are found by the Blazing Saddles star in Peru and shipped back home, where his evil twin brother (it’s cheaper that way) gets ahold of him. Sadly for him there isn’t an ancient Peruvian man around to tell him the rules of these creatures. They’ve only got one big one. Don’t cut them up, you sick fuck, because if you do, they multiply.
Of course soon dozens of Munchies are running around town, eating anything and everyone they come across, and even doing John Belusci impressions when they see a woman’s panties. These guys like to fucking PARTY. And eat. But mostly party.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Big teeth, nasty demenor and voracious appetite. Not to be confused with Gremlins, Critters, Ghoulies, Hobgoblins, or the inferior monster from the sequel in name only- Munchie, without the S.
Why It Is Forgotten: It was overshadowed by the aforementioned killer beastie flicks. And Robert Picardo narrowly avoided destroying his career with this, only to be saved by his appearance as The Cowboy in Innerspace the same year.
Why It Shouldn’t Be Forgotten: Put this out of print dvd in your collection and it will immediately overshadow anything else you own. Not even owning every Dark Shadows boxset (all 25) would be as simulateously impressive and sad, and once in a while you’ll get a guy like me who will have to walk up to you and give you the Munchies handshake. The people who grew up on this know what I mean.
- Alex Riviello