I love May Monster Madness because It's a chance to get in touch with my monstrous roots. Nothing is more comforting to me than sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and watching some Creature Features. I thought we delve a little into what makes a movie a Creature Feature to start the week off right.
Creature Feature is a general term for monster movies, be they science fiction or horror. From the 60's all the way into the 80's, Creature Features were aired on TV Broadcasts. These late night shows were usually horror-hosted by greats such as Vampira, Elvira and more. You could catch Creature Features airing cult movies from the 30's to the 50's, a lot even had no color to them. Just black and white classics of cheesey awesome with monsters. If you were a kid growing up in the 80's like myself, you probably stayed up late, curled up in your jammies watching these films and trying to not get too excited so you don't get caught. *wink* Sometimes they aired American cult classics, other times British monster films, and even Japanese "giant monster" films like Gozilla. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, and monsters are creatures that cross genre boundaries.
If you've ever seen a Universal Monster movie, then you've seen a Creature Feature. Dracula, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man and Frankenstein are but a few that fall into this category. Some British monster films come from Hammer Films, with classics such as The Phantom of the Opera. Alien invasion films and "nuclear monsters" are also pretty popular Creature Feature movie types. The concept of beings from outer space/mutations taking over the plant was pretty popular entertainment. Movies like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Thing from Another World, The War of the Worlds are just a few examples of such films.
With effects today, we can make Creature Features that would blow the minds of the people who originated the title. The Thing From Another World was remade into The Thing, and it's an amazing movie, with good storytelling, crazy effects and creepy music. When this film was made the first time it disturbed people, but The Thing is still regarded as the better of the two films simply because it has so much more to offer an audience. (Yup, I'm not even gonna talk about the "Prequel". It's not worth my time.) While a lot of these classic films aren't terrible and should be credited for the creation of Creature Features, not all of them stand up to the standards of a viewing audience today. Which is a shame, as they do carry their own charm and have inspired many a filmmaker.
Okay, my research hat is off now. I think I have rambled enough. Please feel free to share some of your favorite Creature Features with me in the comments, and tomorrow I will share my top 10 Modern Creature Features list with you!