Thursday, November 22, 2012

Unexpected Horrors - Part 1

When I was a kid I was obsessed with monsters (a lot like now).  If the word monster was attached to something, I was all over it.  I lived for Creature Double Feature on the Saturday afternoons of my youth....and when I got a little older, TNT's MonsterVision was my Friday night horror crack.  Every time we went to the library, I would borrow the awesome Crestwood House Monster Books, or any of the other other books related to monster films that I could find.  I loved looking at the photos of all the various monsters and imagining what the movies might be like.

As I've mentioned before, I used to spend some weekends at my aunt's house.  She had a massive collection of VHS tapes.  A lot of them horror films, a lot of Twilight Zone, Outer Limit and Night Gallery Episodes (as well as the complete original Star Trek series!).  When I would go to spend the weekend, I would get pumped up for a slew of monster movies and tv shows.  As a matter of fact, this is where I really started to develop my love of the classic monsters.  I saw most of the classic Universal Monsters for the first time with my aunt.....a lot of my first Twilight Zone and Outer Limit episodes too.  I loved the monsters.  It didn't matter how goofy they were, I wanted more of them.  

One of my favorite things, as a young monster nerd was finding monsters in unlikely places.  There was nothing cooler than watching a non horror or sci-fi movie/tv show and discovering that there were monsters lurking there!  Listed here are three awesome monsters that I wasn't expecting to see when watching their respective films.  Two were fun and goofy and one scared the living shit out of me!  So with out further adieu, I give you my three favorite monsters in non-horror movies!

Of course if you haven't seen these movies, then naturally you may want to steer clear of these until you get to watch the films.  Avast ye mateys.....there be spoilers ahead!

3)  Chet Monster - Weird Science

First of all, Weird Science is hands down one of the greatest movies ever made.  I don't know a single guy who didn't wish that he was smart enough to create Kelly LeBrock using a Memotech MTX512 (with an FDX add on, natch) computer and a Barbie.  Don't even get me started on the incredible cast!  You've got Anthony Michael Hall, who of course starred in The Breakfast Club, National Lampoons Vacation (he passed on European Vacation to be in Weird Science!) and of course played the villainous Jim in Edward Scissorhands.  You've got Bill Paxton (Pvt. Hudson him self!  GAME OVER MAN!), you've got Robert Downey Jr, Suzanne Snyder (Night of the Creeps, Return of the Living Dead Part II and Killer Klowns From Outer Space!) and Robert Rusler who on the final day of shooting went for his audition for the part of Grady in Nightmare on Elm Street Part II:  Freddy's Revenge!  That, my friends is an insanely awesome cast most John Hughes movies.

Anyway, as I'm sure you are aware, Lisa is endowed (WELL endowed!) with supernatural powers and uses them to turn Chet into a Jabba The Hutt-esque monster after he hassles Wyatt and Gary after their big party.  The first time I saw Chet-Monster I thought it was the coolest damn thing I had ever seen!  He's huge and nasty and I could compare him to a Star Wars character, so I was beyond psyched.  Even though there was an altercation between Wyatt and Gary and a mutant motorcycle gang (Michael Berryman was a gang member!) I was still surprised by the Chet Monster.

2) Philo's Alien Form - UHF

I know I really shouldn't be surprised by anything that happened in Weird Al's feature film, but to be perfectly honest, I never saw this coming.  Let's be honest, UHF throws everything but the kitchen sink at ya, but when Philo morphs into an alien, it's a nice little WTF moment!  Interestingly, the role of Philo was originally written with Al's friend Joel Hodgson (of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame) in mind.  The role was then offered to Crispin Glover, who turned it down because he was only interested in the role of Crazy Eddie, the car salesman who threatened to club baby seals to make a sale.  My last bit of Philotrivia for you is the fact that the character was named for Philo T Farnsworth, who was one of the inventors of television!  Look at that!  Ya got some new wrinkles in your brain there!

3) Large Marge - Pee Wee's Big Adventure

Of the three monsters/creatures featured on this list, THIS one scared the absolute shit out of me when I saw it as a kid.  There was absolutely NOTHING that had indicated that this horrifying claymation monster was going to appear until about a second beforehand.  The scene leading up to the monster reveal is pure horror camp.  Pee Wee is hitchhiking along a lonesome stretch of highway and gets picked up by an 18 wheeler.  Here was are introduced to it's driver, Large Marge.  A beefy and crusty old truck driver who doesn't say a word to Pee Wee until she starts to tell the tale of a horrible traffic accident she saw ten years earlier.  The whole sequence holds a certain campfire tale kinda feel to it, culminating in the monster jump scare.

I rented Pee Wee's Big Adventure on Friday night when my mom took me to the video store before we went grocery shopping.  She couldn't stand Pee Wee, but being a young boy, of course I thought Pee Wee's playhouse was awesome.  Anyway.....It bugged me the first time I saw it.  I genuinely creeped me out and when I tried to close my eyes that night, all I could see was Large Marge morphing into a bug eyed freak.  I thought about it all night long.  I obsessed over that nasty bizarre visage and when I woke up the next morning, the first thing I did was fire up the VCR and have another go at Large Marge.  This time, watching her transform over and over again, rewinding, replaying, playing in slo motion.  By lunchtime, I had probably watched the scene about 30 times.  It has since become one of my all time favorite scenes in any movie anywhere.  I don't know why.....I just like what I like, mmmmmkay?

I'm sure there will be more unexpected horrors that I want to talk about, which is why I conveniently labeled this as Part 1.  I dunno when Part 2 will come down the pike, but I'm sure it will rear it's ugly head eventually.  Meantime.....HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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