Vintage Horror Movies and Creep Shows are Still the Best
by Brenda K Oswalt
Remember your childhood days when the horror movies were on the big screen? Those frightening flicks were to die for. Maybe that’s why Halloween is so popular.
I remember, as a boomer kid, the thrills my girlfriend Carol and I got out of tossing our change through to the movie “cage lady”, as we called her, and then running through the big glass doors in to view the latest scary movie that had come to the theater in our town. We never tired of seeing plastic mechanical monsters with minimal special effects devour a Japanese town or ghoulish ghosts float across the big screen. We’d sit way up front so we could be sure not to miss a stitch on Frankenstein’s head or an unwrapped fold of the gauzy garment the mummy was dragging behind him. Times were good and times were simple and times were downright screamingly fun-filled at the horror show.
Fright Shows Almost Weekly with Bonuses
Because the scary movies were so popular among kids and kids usually had some change from daddy or mommy to spend, the freaky shows usually came weekly during the Saturday afternoon “double-feature.” matinees. Sometimes there were even sy-fi serials in between the cartoons, the “March of Time” news updates and the featured flicks. Once in a while, something special came across the silver screen and we couldn’t wait for the replays to make it around again, which they always did, in the form of the second feature of the double feature lineup.
Special Effects Creep Shows Anyone?
Of course, today we crack up at the amateurish, state-of-the-art special effects of those days but to us kids it couldn’t have been any more real. Hey, I saw a movie called The Brain Eaters and wouldn’t sleep with my bedroom window open all summer, even though we had no air conditioning and our whole house "cool down" depended on everyone keeping their windows cracked open to a specific level for maximum breeze flow. I was so scared one of those aliens was going to take that brain eater sponge thing out of a jar and let it crawl up the side of my house, through my open window and latch onto the back of my head where it pierced the flesh and took over my brain. I’d then become a mindless alien myself.
Kids Loved it Adults were Petrified
I noticed when I was a kid, when mom would take me to the spooky movies she’d have trouble sleeping that night. I’d wake up and find her in the kitchen heating up a saucepan of cocoa or something. She seemed to be really frightened and us kids just simply screamed for the sheer pleasure of group harmonics. Some of the very favorite movies were old black and white ones and are long since gone like “The Monolith Monsters”. This was a flick about a meteorite landing in the desert. A little boy picks it up, carts it home to his house. He gets called in to dinner and tosses the rock into the outside cistern (retaining water-collecting barrel). It flashes forward a couple of days and the local sheriff is at what’s left of the house, which is nothing and the whole family has turned into stone statues. What a great movie for a kid. I have an old tape and have watched it with the grandkids. Not much has changed. I still love it and so do they.
Today’s Fright Cinema Not the Same
Been to a scary movie lately? Hey, they substitute special effects for plot. Nothing like the old “Blob” movie with Steve McQueen. Remember that one from the 60’s? The giant ball of Jello from out of space keeps getting bigger and bigger as it eats folks, stopping to burp every now and then. We loved it because the teenagers were the smart ones in that little one-horse town. There might be a moral there somewhere.
How about “The Thing” with James Arness? Yes, I know they remade it but nope, the original black and white job still hits home as the best. When all the snowsuited guys stood and stretched out their arms in a huge circle overtop that “thing” in the ice, our hearts did flip-flops. The original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was in color but I still think it way trumps the new version as do all the other originals.
Remakes Aren’t Groovy
Don’t you think that remaking an original flick normally spoils it? Like, how in the world can you not be thinking of the similar old scenes and how much better they were while you are eyeballing the new one?
Wonder when they will try to remake “The Birds”. How could they ever duplicate Tippi Hedren, forget the birds!So, the moral of this article is to celebrate the old spook movies. Re-enjoy them. Hyper focus on them again. How about “Soylent Green”! Hey, does anyone out there in vintage horror movie land know what soylent green really was?
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