Friday, August 10, 2012

24 of the Oddest and Strangest Creatures from Filmland (Part 3)

A scene from Ghoulies II (1988)

It seems like you guys can’t get enough of these monsters from filmland series of articles so here my friends, I give to you another installment for your reading pleasure! This article is  is filled with some truly strange cinematic beings, hope you enjoy it!

Film: The Resurrected (1992)

Creature: Mutant Experiment

Description: This film is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward’ and is basically about a scientist who is experimenting with a chemical that can help him achieve everlasting life. Basically he’s found a way to transfer himself onto another body. But like all mad scientists, he makes a couple of mistakes along the way and the resulting mistakes are the horribly disfigured creature you see pictured above, which the good doctor keeps hidden away in a dark, dank dungeon beneath his laboratory.

Quote: “I think you’ve found a way to live forever…but it’s messy”

Film: Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Creatures: The Gremlins

Description: This movie is one big love letter to monster movies. It seems director Joe Dante wanted to cram as many monsters as he could onto this one; the result is literally hundreds of variations of Gremlins. Where in the first film most of the Gremlins looked pretty much the same (save for their leader ‘Striper’ who had a white mohawk) on this sequel there’s so many different types of Gremlins, you’ll have a hard time keeping track of them. Let’s see…we get the ‘Veggie Gremlin’ ‘Lady Gremlin’ ‘Talkative Gremlin’ ‘Spider Gremlin’ the ‘Bat Gremlin’ to name but a few.

Quote: “All they have to do is eat three or four children and there would be the most appalling publicity”  

Film: Q: The Winged Serpent

Creature: Q: The Winged Serpent

Description: This film comes to us from Larry Cohen, the director responsible for such films as It’s Alive (1974) and its sequels, and The Stuff (1985), which of course means your in B-Movie territory, and that’s all Q: The Winged Serpent aims to be, and achieves it. A giant winged serpent is flying through the New York skies snatching people from the rooftops of buildings and eating them! It’s up to an ex-con piano player to help the NYPD find the creatures nest and stop the creature from killing any more New Yorkers.

Quote: “Eat em! Eat em! Crunch! Crunch!”

Film: The Never Ending Story (1984)

Creature: Morla - The Ancient One

Description: This film is filled with creatures left and right, but one of the ones that always stuck to my head was Morla, the giant turtle. You see, in the film, Atreyu the films hero needs to find information about how to stop ‘The Nothing’ a big black cloud that is  devouring the land of ‘Fantasia’ and its Morla ‘The Ancient One’ who sends Atreyu in the right direction. She is so ancient that she knows everything, unfortunately she doesn’t care very much about anything either! Another problem is that she talks really slow and is allergic to youth! You don’t want to be standing in front of Morla when she sneazes; just ask Atreyu who gets hurled a couple of feet in the air when Morla sneezes on him!

Quote: “We don’t even care whether or not we care”

 Film: Night of the Demon (1957)

Creature: The Demon

Description: On this film we meet Dr. John Holden, a man who does not believe in the supernatural. He’s such an incurable skeptic that he goes to a symposium on the supernatural simply to expose a Dr. Julian Karswell, the leader of a satanic cult. He is such a skeptic that he accepts an invitation to stay at Dr. Karswell’s mansion. Problem is that Karswell is the real deal, and the supernatural is real! So, looking for a way to kill Dr. John Holden, Dr. Julian Karswell slips Holden a magical parchment that assures whoever is holding it a quick death at the hands of the demon you see pictured above. Originally director Jaques Tourneur didn’t want to reveal the demon at any moment during the film, he wanted to make a more psychological film, but at the insistence of the films producers, he found himself obligated to show the creature, which of course is great because we got yet another memorable creature to place in the annals of Hollywood horror.

Quote: “But where does imagination end and reality begin? What is this twilight, this half world of the mind that you profess to know so much about? How can we differentiate between the powers of darkness and the powers of the mind? ”

Film: Mom and Dad Save the World (1992)

Creature: Deadly Alien Mushrooms

Description: This movie is one of the craziest movies you will ever see. It is a mixture between science fiction, fantasy and comedy that is so underrated it’s not even funny. It is not an intelligent film (in fact far from it) but then again, that’s exactly the kind of film it wants to be. To me Mom and Dad Save the World has always felt like something straight out of Monty Python, or perhaps it feels like something that Terry Gilliam would have directed, while high on weed. The film tells the story of Emperor Tod Spengo, a dictator who with the help of a very powerful microscope catches a glimpse at Marge and Dick Nelson, a regular every day middle class couple who are about to embark on a summer vacation. Unfortunately, Spengo immediately falls in love with Marge and so with the help of a very powerful magnet Spengo brings Dick and Marge to his planet so he can marry Marge, kill Dick and destroy the Earth! Amongst the many creatures we meet in this film (of which there are many trust me!) we meet the deadly mushrooms you see pictured above. At first they look kind of cute, but when they start hopping and opening those gaping jaws, you won’t feel they are so cute anymore. 

Quote: “Did I mention we were a planet of Idiots?”

Film: Cats Eye (1985)

Creature: Air Stealing Troll

Description: This is a film composed of various stories that are all connected by this cat that roams through all the stories. One of the stories is about this little girl who goes to sleep one night and is visited by this evil looking little troll who likes to steal the breath from little girls...until they die! Apparently, this is what this little creature enjoys doing. So anyways, the cat serves as the little girls protector, the little girl is played by none other than a very young Drew Barrymore.

Film: Krull (1983)

Creature: The Beast

Description: This film is all about ‘The Beast’, a creature who flies around space on his flying fortress, searching for worlds to conquer and for the one female who will be his Queen. The Beasts fortress appears and disappears out of thin air, which makes it difficult to catch this villain. But fear not! A group of heroic people decide to take The Beast on, and so they embark on a journey to find ‘The Glave’ a mythical weapon that can destroy The Beast. The film is filled with many creatures, including flying horses, giant spiders, Cyclops and blind sorcerers. The Beast itself is portrayed very vaguely in the film, often times it is seen in shadows or in a distorted fashion, but once in a while we get a good glimpse at it, especially towards the ending of the film.

Quote: “I will allow you to go wherever you please within these walls; for this is the place from which you will rule this world and countless others. You cannot escape me, you will be my queen”

Film: House 2: The Second Story (1987)

Creature: Zombie Cowboy

Description: Many love the first House (1986) because it is one of those monster filled movies from the 80’s that had tons of make up effects and was heavy on the fun factor. It was a none stop roller coaster ride of ghosts, creatures and vengeful zombies from Vietnam! The second film was a bit different because it turned out to be too sweet when compared to the second one, which was more of a horror film. This ‘Second Story’ has the same basic premise of a house that opens portals to other dimensions, but it’s more centered on adventure and even romance, it kind of feels a little bit like an Indiana Jones movie. But fear not horror fans! There’s a bit of horror to this movie in the form of the Zombie Cowboy you see pictured above, he hungers for the magical skull that can help him live forever. Above all things this skull cowboy simply looks cool! I also loved the idea of him riding on a zombie horse! The film has a couple of other cool creatures, amongst them a pterodactyl, a zombie grandpa and a worm/dog, which is pretty weird on its own.   

Quote: “Look at me, I’m a 170 year old fart, I’m a god damn zombie!”

 Film: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Creature: Sewer Monster/Chinese Wild Man  

Description: Honestly, I call this one the monkey monster, but I don’t know what the hell it is. If you ask John Carpenter though, he will tell you exactly what it is. According to Carpenters script for Big Trouble in Little China this creature is “The most horrific creature…thing…abomination you ever saw. An unnatural monster of myth and legend, a Chinese wild man made of flesh and blood,  with long twisted locks of fire red hair, yellow teeth and yellow eyes…the claws on his fingers that dig into Gracie’s arm recalling only death…” so there you have it ladies and gentlemen. The problem is that if you haven’t read the script for Big Trouble, then you won’t have an iota of an idea what this creature is, it’s existence is never explained in the film, it simply is a monster. But whatever, who cares what it is, it looks monstrous and cool, like most of the monsters in Big Trouble in Little China, they defy definition.

Quote: “But I do know this is a pretty amazing planet we live on here and a man would have to be some kind of fool to think were all alone in this universe!”

Film: Beetlejuice (1986)

Creatures: Adam and Barbara Maitland Ghosts

Description: The Maitland’s have just died, and right in the middle of their home renovations too! To make matters worse, now they got the Deetz’s moving into the home they worked so hard on! What’s this ghost couple to do? Scare the Deetz’s right out of their house that’s what! Problem is they don’t know much about being ghosts or scaring people, so it takes a few tries to figure out a way to scare the Deetz’s. One of the many things they try is stretching their faces out of proportion until they become the hideous visages you see pictured above.  

Quote: “Barb honey, we’re dead. I don’t think we have much to worry about anymore”

Film: Leprechaun (1993)

Creature: The Leprechaun

Description: Back in 1993, when I was in high school, my high school buds and gals wanted to go to the theater to see a scary movie. We had to decide between Bram Stoker Dracula or Leprechaun. I’d read an article on Fangoria and seen some pictures of the make up effects so I thought Leprechaun might be a better choice so my friends trusted me, the film geek of the class to make the choice, so I went with Leprechaun. You probably know how this story ends. By the end of the film people were kicking my ass over how shitty this movie had been. Ha! I still wonder how the hell this film got a theatrical release, but it did, and I fell for the publicity push, sometimes the pictures in a magazine will make a film look better it actually is. Still, no matter how ‘bad’ these films might be considered, they’ve had a long run. Leprechaun spawned tons of cheap ass yet fun straight to video sequels and a remake on the horizon! I guess people like how the Leprechaun cracks jokes every time he’s going to kill somebody. Come to think of it, in a strange way, The Leprechaun filled the void that the old Freddy Krueger left when he changed into the unfunny Freddy he is today. Kudos to Warwick Davis who’s gone on to play The Leprechaun for so many years. 

Quote: “Try as they will, try as they might, who steals me gold won’t live through the night”

Film: Deep Rising (1998)

Creature: Giant Octopus

Description: So this film is basically about this giant octopus thing that invades a cruise ship on its inaugural run and little by little eats every single person on it! In other words, lot’s of gruesome moments are waiting for you with this film. The creature is an awesome one to behold for various reasons, number one its huge! It has numerous tentacles and a scary looking gigantic mouth filled with pointy teeth! In order convey the awesome scale of the creature, the filmmakers used two methods: miniatures of the ship, complete with thousands of skeletons and corpses from the people that the creature had fed upon, and number two, they had Rob Bottin, make up effects master and monster connoisseur design the thing. The result? A very impressive movie monster! 

Quote: “I don’t mean to sound like a pussy, but this shits starting to freak me out man!”

Film: Dragonslayer (1981)

Creature: Vermithrax Pejorative

Description: ‘Vermithrax Pejorative’ is the name the filmmakers behind Dragonslayer gave to the dragon that appears on the film. I like it, it’s weird, and it’s catchy. And in my opinion, old Vermithrax is the best damn dragon I’ve seen on any film, and there have been some cool ones out there, but Vermithrax takes the taco as the meanest baddest, most realistic one of the bunch. Kudos to the filmmakers for making such a great looking monster way back in 1981, when there was no such thing as computer generated images. The dragon was achieved through the use of various effects techniques such as stop motion animation, puppets, animatronics, and miniature work. A truly amazing piece of work, and a vastly underrated film. Dragonslayer remains one of my favorite fantasy films of all time.  

Quote: “In fact, if it weren’t for sorcerers, there wouldn’t be any dragons. Once, the skies were dotted with them. Magnificent horned backs, leathern wings, soaring…and their hot breathed wind. Oh, I know this creature of yours…Vermithrax Pejorative. Look at these scales, these ridges. When a dragon get’s this old, it knows nothing but pain. It grows, decrepit, crippled, pitiful, spiteful! ”

Film: Howard the Duck (1986)

Creature: Dark Overlords of the Universe

Description: The Dark Overlords of the Universe are these demon-like creatures that come from a place called “Nexus of Sominus” or something like that and they want to come to earth and take over. In order to do so, they need to use a machine that these human scientists have created that can open worm holes to other parts of the universe! These Dark Overlords look like a mix between a giant crab and a giant scorpion…on acid! They can shoot paralyzing rays of energy from their tail! They shoot tentacles from their claws! They can blow things up with their eyes! They are monstrous in nature, but in order to hide their true form, they can hide inside of a human body. These creatures were brought to life through the magic of stop motion animation by the hands of the great Phil Tippett, one of the few stop motion animation masters left on this planet. Tippett’s crossed the frontier from stop motion to computer animation, sadly, but I loved the stuff he used to do with this art form in films like Willow (1988) and Robocop 2 (1990). The Dark Overlords of the Universe are just one of his many stop motion animation creations.  

Quote: “I have disguised my true form, which would be considered hideous and revolting here”

Film: Willow (1988)

Creature: The Eborsisk

Description: The Eborsisk is a two headed dragon that is born out of magic. Willow is a sorcerer’s apprentice who’s desperate; he needs something to give him the upper hand in the fight against Bavmorda’s henchmen; so he uses the corpse of a troll to concoct this strange creature with the help of a magical wand belonging to a good witch called ‘Cherlindrea’. So it's because of Willow that The Eborsisk comes to be! Coolest part about the monster is not that it’s a dragon, but that it’s a fire breathing dragon! Unfortunately, The Eborsisk doesn’t know good guys from bad guys, so even the good guys end up fighting against it.   

Quote: “Don’t play with that wand, its got vast powers! Only a real sorcerer can use it, not a stupid peck like you!”

Film: Clash of the Titans (1981)

Creature: Medussa

Description: Medussa is also known as ‘The Gorgon’, one look from her eyes will turn any man who looks into stone. Her blood is so venomous, that it will in fact melt metal! Oh and another thing, she has snakes on her head! On the film, Perseus, the son of Zeus must cut off her head to use it as a weapon against the all powerful six armed under water behemoth known as The Kraken. Medusa has appeared in various films dealing with Greek Mythology amongst them Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010) and the new Clash of the Titans (2010), but even though these more recent versions use better effects, I still find Ray Harryhausen’s portrayal of the character to be the best, it’s just so spooky!

Quote: “You must win Medussa’s head. She’s not going to give it to you as a present. As difficult and as dangerous as to vanquish a thousand Kraken’s!”

Film: Ghostbusters (1984)

Creature: Slimer

Description: This ghastly creature is a harmless little ghost that starts out by spooking the Ghostbusters when they first encounter him in the hallway of a haunted hotel. It is Peter Venkman who has a close encounter with it. He is not an evil entity like most of the ghosts that the Ghostbusters have to deal with, all Slimer cares about is eating. Strange part is that since he has no stomach (remember, Slimer’s a ghost) when he eats anything it just falls right to the floor. He is known for running straight into human beings and sliming them with his protoplasmic residue. By Ghostbusters II, slimmer is sort of a pet to the Ghostbusters, apparently it regularly resides at the Ghostbusters HQ   

Quote: “He slimed me!”

Film: Army of Darkness (1993)

Creature: Demonite and Pit Hag/Witch

Description: Again, this is another film filled with strange creatures, but these two stand out amongst all the others. The Pit Hag is awesome, it’s this witch who apparently lives in a dungeon filled with water, waiting for her masters to through tender morsels like Ashley J. Williams, also known as ‘Ash’, down to her. She has white eyes, huge claws and a big ass haid, she’s also going bald for some reason, I guess she must be reaching middle age. Then we have this Demonite thing that snatches Ash’s mid-evil girlfriend Sheila and whisks her away to the hands of ‘Evil Ash’ the leader of the titular Army of Darkness, I love this creature because it’s got a very demonic look to it.  

Quote: “Into the pit with those blood thirsty sons of whores!”

Film: King Kong (2005)

Creature: Giant Man Eating Worms

Description: When I first saw this movie I was blown away by these scenes that take place in Skull Island because it felt to me as if on that island one could not stand still without some creature trying to kill you or eat you in one way or another. Out of the many creatures we encounter in Skull Island we have these really freaking weird giant worms. What freaked me out about them is that they move about so slowly that you wouldn’t expect them to be so deadly. But little by little they creep up on you until suddenly they are wrapped around your body and eating you alive, these creatures truly freaked me the hell out!

Quote: “Monsters belong in B-Movies”

Film: Men in Black 3 (2012)

Creature: Boris the Animal

Description: These Men in Black films are filled to the brim with tons of aliens and monsters, but Boris the Animal was one of my favorites from this third film. What made him stand out? Well, for starters he is so dangerous that he has to be kept in a high security prison…on the moon! Second, he can shoot these bones out of his hands, that shoot out as if they were bullets. If he gets caught up in trouble, these spiderlike creatures crawl out of his hands and save him…he also time travels and has an awesome chopper; he ends up being one of the most formidable villains that J and K ever faced.  

Quote: “Look at you, every mistake I ever made just waiting to happen!”

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy parts I and II which showcase even more strange creatures from filmland! 

The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)


Dom Coccaro said...

Excellent column! I'm all about monsters. Q and Deep Rising are both underrated. I might actually review Krull within the next month or so.

Jack Thursby said...

Love this list. Can't go wrong with a huge practical latex puppet monster.

Think I've seen most of these but thanks for point out a few gaps in my film knowledge. Need to sit down and watch Q The Winged Serpent. Heard good things about that one.

Franco Macabro said...

@Dom: Krull is one of the best Fantasy films of the 80's, I mean it's not up there with Legend, The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth, but it certainly is one of the good ones. Glad you liked the column dom, dont forget to check out parts one and two.

@Jack: Q is a low budget monster flick with big ideas! Which is what this director (Larry Cohen) has always been about. It's not a masterpiece, but hope you find some enjoyment in it anyways!

Shaun Anderson [The Celluloid Highway] said...

I have much to catch up on! Been out of the loop for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to checking out these articles Franco.

Kev D. said...

I think Howard the Duck from Howard the Duck was even stranger looking than that thing...

Franco Macabro said...

Shaun: Hope you like them Shaun.

Kev D: Good point, Howard himself is one of the strangest creatures from Filmland, I'll include him on a future article.

Kaijinu said...



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