By Chris Cummins in Movies
Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 8:04 am
What Movie Is It From? 1978's Slithis, which for no good reason is also known as Spawn of the Slithis.
What Exactly Is It? A sort of radioactive dirt creature that was, as the above trailer so eloquently puts it, "spawned from a nuclear hell!"
Why Is It Worthy of Your Love? Because it clearly has self-esteem issues. You see, the Slithis monster doesn't appear all that much in his own film. And I'm not talking about a less-is-more Jaws style approach towards building suspense either. More of a "hey, this costume looks like the hellspawn of a Predator and Swamp Thing so let's keep it off camera as much as we can." It wouldn't shock me if Slithis has a serious cutting habit, he's that underappreciated. But you can help. The flick is actually really enjoyable if you can accept it for nothing more than a snapshot of the 1970s at their cheesiest.
6) Mutant Toxic Waste Bear Thing
What Movie Is It From? The environmental terror tale Prophecy. John Frankenheimer made a name for himself directing such classics as Birdman of Alcatraz, Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate. Then he made this film, the highlight of which can be viewed above. Keep in mind that this scene that was actually meant to be taken seriously. Advantage? Prophecy!
What Exactly Is It? A mutated grizzly bear that must be stopped at all costs. Sleeping bags ain't cheap you know.
Why Is It Worthy of Your Love? Like Slithis, Prophecy was a film that was spawned as a response to the ecological concerns of the late-1970s -- including the controversy that erupted when news broke of the Love Canal scandal and the subsequent formation of the Superfund project. In its own goofy way, the movie is warning viewers that if they don't clean up their acts they will be ruthlessly murdered by icky looking bears. How's that for an inconvenient truth?
What Movie Is It From? The Dirk Benedict classic Sssssss. What Exactly Is It? In this consonant-heavy 1973 film, Benedict portrays a college student who (naturally) takes a job working for a snake expert. Then his boss starts giving him injections that turn him into the dreaded Sssssssnakeman -- a combination of human and King Cobra that defies the laws of both nature and science. Impressive really. The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow is going to have to really up its game.
Why Is It Worthy of Your Love? For starters, during the transformation he kind of looks like Green Man from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (" target="_blank">check it out here). His plight is almost as sympathetic as Seth Brundle's in The Fly... just with cheaper sets. Sadly, this film didn't exactly ignite the box office and as a result audiences were denied the Victorian era-set prequel, Sssssssense and Sssssssensibility.
One to Grow On! For more Snakeman monster hi-jinks, be sure to check out Dreamscape. Then piss your bed in terror.
4) The Green Slime Monsters
What Movie Are They From? Appropriately enough, The Green Slime.
What Exactly Are They? Creepy tentacled aliens whose slimy touch results in painful, instant death for any poor bastards who have the misfortune of encountering them.
Why Are They Worthy of Your Love? In 1969, Midnight Cowboy won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Look, I'm not even going to pretend that "Everybody's Talkin'" isn't totally my jam, but I still think that The Green Slime should have swept the Oscars that year. The rubber creatures are downright Godzilla-esque (which isn't a shock because the movie was shot on the same Toei soundstages in Japan that were used to film some of the King of the Monsters' greatest adventures).
Pointless Nerd Trivia! Bill Finger, the man who co-created The Joker (and, arguably, Batman), wrote The Green Slime's screenplay. The man knows how to make a decent monster.
3) Nazi Monsters
What Movie Are They From? John Landis' epic An American Werewolf in London.
What Exactly Are They? After David Naughton gets attacked by a werewolf, he is admitted to a hospital where he has a chilling fever dream that monstrous Nazis are slaughtering his family. Note to travelers: when locals say stay on the road, make it a point to stay on the damn road.
Why Are They Worthy of Your Love? There's nothing lovable about having a quiet evening spent watching The Muppet Show ruined by Nazi monsters, really. That said, these guys are truly horrific. Rick Baker's werewolf design work on the film gets all the credit, but there's plenty to be said for the look of the mutated Nazis that kill the main character of David and his family. The scene itself is absolutely chilling. Landis uses Kermit and Miss Piggy to lull viewers into a false sense of security only to completely pull the rug out from them with a graphic slaughter. It's both effective and frightening. A nice touch is how the various Nazis have werewolf-like features; foreshadowing David's own inevitable transformation into what he fears the most.
Collect 'Em All! A few years back, SOTA Toys released a "Nightmare Demon" action figure in their Now Playing line of movie collectibles. So far, this is the only entry on this list that has been given the honor of being recreated in plastic. That's actually really depressing.
2) Eyeball Creature
What Exactly Is It? Lo Pan's watchman is a weird floating orb with numerous eyes that can telepathically report to back to its master about what it is witnessing -- which, in the case of the movie, is Jack Burton in a state of constant befuddlement.
Why Is It Worthy of Your Love? He's a rat to be sure, but if you can overlook that personality flaw you'll actually find that the eyeball creature here is quite adorable. Aww! Plus, he's way cooler than the Wildman.
Pointless nerd trivia! In Dungeons & Dragons, there is a similar character known as The Beholder. In the film he goes without a name, partially to create an aura of mystery but mainly to avoid a lawsuit from the folks at TSR.
What Movies Is It From? Basket Case, Basket Case II and Basket Case III: The Progeny.
What Exactly Is It? Duane Bradley's horribly deformed conjoined twin.
Why Is It Worthy of Your Love? Frank Henenlotter's three Basket Case movies chronicle the adventures of Duane and Belial Bradley, two conjoined twins who were separated in a bloody operation. Belial was never meant to survive, but Duane felt compelled to save his life and so he put his lumpy sibling in a wicker basket and set out for a new life in New York City. With the exception of a scar and a hankering for running around the Big Apple naked for no apparent reason, there is absolutely nothing remarkable about Duane. Not so for Belial. Were I a 1940s film producer I would declare that "the kid's got it!" to no one in particular while chomping down on a huge stogie. The above video is sort of a sizzle reel of his greatest moments from the first (and still best) Basket Case flick. As you can see, he's a bit of a diva. But he's still nowhere as bitchy as that drama queen Frankenstein.