Giant Monstershow: Empire of the Ants

It’s a melancholy day for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow, for this is the last film of the month from giant monster auteur Bert I. Gordon. His peak days as a filmmaker were in the 1950s, but while Gordon’s pace of work slowed, he never went more than a few years without directing something. In 1977, that something was Empire of the Ants, also written by Gordon, loosely adapting the H.G. Wells story of the same name. Something of a follow-up to Gordon’s Food of the Gods, Empire of the Ants tells the story of a Florida real estate pitch gone wrong. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Empire of the Ants”

Giant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on! Today’s film is the sixth this month featuring b-cinema auteur extraordinaire Bert I. Gordon. The man made giant monster flicks his own cottage industry. That’s not too far off of the mark, considering Gordon would shoot effects in his own garage.

Today’s film is Earth vs. The Spider, also released as just The Spider. Released just a few months after War of the Colossal Beast, Earth vs. The Spider switches up the formula for giant monster flicks. Most of the films featured this past month have featured scientists and doctors as the main protagonists, or maybe a military man or two. This film does have those characters, but they’ve been relegated to supporting roles. In this flick, the heroes are teenagers. That’s right. By 1958, shitty filmmakers recognized that it was teenagers that were pumping large amounts of dollars into their coffers, and someone came up with the bright idea to make movies featuring teenagers in the leads. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider”

Giant Monstershow: The Deadly Mantis

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow returns to the land of giant insects with today’s flick. From 1957, The Deadly Mantis is an early directorial effort from Nathan Juran, who had an Oscar-winning career as an art director before becoming a director. It was written by Martin Berkeley, who also had a screenwriting credit for the execrable Tarantula. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Deadly Mantis”

Giant Monstershow: Tarantula

For a giant monster flick, there isn’t a whole lot of giant monster in 1955’s Tarantula, the film from director Jack Arnold and screenwriters Robert M. Fresco and Martin Berkeley. An adaptation of a Fresco teleplay for Science Fiction Theatre, the main action in the original plot surrounded the efforts of scientists to develop a synthetic nutrient. Not happy with the progress of the experiments, the scientists tested the nutrient on themselves, with horrific results. I’m not sure of the process involved, but at some point in the mid-1950s, someone involved in the production thought, “Hey, what if we took that TV episode we made a couple of months back, and added a giant tarantula?” Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Tarantula”

Giant Monstershow: Them!

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms may have established the formula by which 1950s American giant monster flicks operated (nuclear test + ordinary creature = giant monster), but it was 1954’s Them! that first did it well.

Directed by Gordon Douglas from a screenplay by Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes and a story by George Worthing Yates, Them! tells a tale of nature run amok. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Them!”

October Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks

Sometimes horror films can be a downer. In preparing for this month of reviews, I watch a lot of horror. For every film that makes it to the Horrorshow, I probably watch two others that didn’t interest me enough to write about. That means I spend a lot of evenings listening to young women scream in terror, watching grievous bodily injury, and living in a state of general anxiety brought about by all that scary stuff on the screen. Sleep is no respite, as we tend to dream about things that are on our minds. It’s not uncommon for me to watch yet another gory horror film followed up by a night of dreaming about the zombie apocalypse or a demonic presence in my home. Good grief. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks”

October Horrorshow: Creepshow

I’m about to write something that will call into question my credibility as a reviewer of horror films. I believe Creepshow is the best film George Romero directed. Blasphemy! What has led me to such low depths; to such sacrilege against Romero’s groundbreaking classic, Night of the Living Dead? How could I possibly elevate Creepshow not just above the incredible Night, but also above Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead? It might have something to do with the writing. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Creepshow”

October Horrorshow: Bug (1975)

This isn’t the original trailer, but this is the video that made me want to see this movie.

This movie had such shitty promise. For one thing, it was produced by William Castle, whose lasting contribution to film history was a series of horror flicks with gimmicky contraptions placed in theaters to enhance the experience for viewers. Much of the silliness of something like House on Haunted Hill doesn’t translate into a restrained living room viewing, but it’s still a well-regarded b-horror flick nonetheless. Bug is the last film in Castle’s filmography, and while it had the potential to be a spectacle of shitty proportions, it falls short. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Bug (1975)”