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Monster Kid Chronicles, Part II

By Hal Robins
Monday, June 11, 2012 7:30 EDT
frankenstein via Shutterstock

I wrote before (see Monster Kid Chronicles, Part I, April 16th) about the aesthetic and psychological validity, the lasting value of– monster movies. And I do assert that the best of these rank with the best of anything else.

The SubGenius concept of “Bulldada” which I also touched on in the earlier piece recognizes this. Since these pictures were not about the “serious” intellectual fashions of their day, but rather about something more timeless– and, paradoxically, therefore of more lasting human interest, they have tended to enjoy success beyond their time.

With a certain recondite group especially– the “Monster Kids.”

These, among whom I count myself (age 61), encountered the Monster Craze of the late 50s and early 60s with wide eyes– and were transformed by the encounter. Besides me and Ivan Stang, other Monster Kids included future film directors Joe Dante (who wrote at least one article for the magazine) and Steven Spielberg.

Back then, late-night TV just might show some grainy horror movie from the 30s or 40s. This was a big deal to those of us who stayed up in the wee hours to watch Before I Hang with Boris Karloff (1940), or The Invisible Ray (1936), which Karloff made with Bela Lugosi. Or Jacques Tourneur’s wonderful Curse of the Demon (Night of the Demon in England). Or Robert Lansing in 4-D Man. Or the Japanese Half-Human. Or…

Or anything that had a monster.

Or even anything odd or outré, with a speculative bent. But usually there was a monster, and that’s what we stayed up to see, and discuss with our knowledgeable peers the next day. Delightful, secret lore!

It had started when packages of Universal Pictures’ horror films were released to TV stations, in those pre-video, pre-cable, pre-digital days. To see something then you had to wait for it to come on. I still remember the excitement we felt.

But, how is it that we were hipped to this particular action, as the Beatniks of the time might say?

One man, the coolest of the cool, really deserves most of the credit.

His name was Forrest J Ackerman. He was the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

Part Three tomorrow

[Halloween Decoration and Pumpkins in Front of House from the Street, via Shutterstock.com]

Mad Men Season Five’s recent twists

By Earl Yazel
Saturday, June 9, 2012 14:00 EDT

For those of you who don’t follow Mad Men : don’t trouble reading. We make no apologies for writing about a mere television series, here – this one bears writing about every bit as much as any other in production – or, probably, any current cinematic release. For those who aren’t up-to-date on Mad Men, but plan to be, please don’t read — ah… “Spoiler Event,” “Red Alert,” what have you. Do Not Read Further. This recent…


Me and you and Ray Bradbury

By John Shirley
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 19:11 EDT

In recent years, following his stroke, Ray Bradbury continued to write stories, which appeared in national publications, by talking to his daughter over the phone. He’d call her up, long distance, and, in essence, talk the story to her; she would transcribe it. He’d go over the result with her…


The kinds of spears that cavemen used to kill dinosaurs

By Rev. Ivan Stang
Sunday, June 3, 2012 6:54 EDT

Author: Rev. Ivan Stang Abstract: There is a lot of silly talk going around about how the cavemen killed the dinosaurs. I am setting the record straight. Introduction We all know that dinosaurs were big, dangerous critters and that there aren’t any of them around any more, except in very…


‘Sir, would you like your food poisoned or non-poisoned?’

By John Shirley
Thursday, May 31, 2012 10:22 EDT

Why is that cashier wearing gloves? That nice young fellow with the tattoo on his forearm and the earring;  that smiling, “Hi how are you today, beautiful day out, I like your shirt” cashier—why is he wearing gloves as he handles my groceries? The others aren’t wearing gloves. I ask him…


Ask Dr. Hal!

By Hal Robins
Monday, May 28, 2012 11:18 EDT

The Ask Dr. Hal! Show For those who are interested in our San Francisco underground cabaret scene, here’s a link to my night club act, which we call the Ask Dr. Hal! Show. Besides the usual format of questions asked and answered, this episode featured performances by Sophia the Harp Lady,…


Voiceless shrieking horror in every drop of scum water!

By Rev. Ivan Stang
Saturday, May 26, 2012 9:35 EDT

by Rev. I. “van Leeuwenhoek” Stang An infinite nightmare of flopping, writhing, amorphous, blighted unnamables! Blasphemous unspeakable churning eldritch monstrosities from a time before death died! Abysmal necrotic benighted ageless horrors from the yawning gulf between madness and death! Squirming gibbering chittering ghastly indescribable cancerous clawing specters from the deeps!…


PBS/NPR become annoying beggars

By John Shirley
Sunday, May 20, 2012 10:10 EDT

Start with PBS, and NPR. I’m a guy who loves good nonprofit public television, and radio, and I’m herewith disgusted with it. PBS has its Masterpiece series, its documentaries; it has Bill Moyers and those beloved British comedies; NPR has great shows like Fresh Air and Prairie Home Companion and…


Dinosaurs of Slack

By Hal Robins
Friday, May 18, 2012 8:12 EDT

Reflections from Deep Time in the Church of the SubGenius Now that the Sacred Scribe of the Church of the SubGenius, Rev. Ivan Stang, is in harness writing for Culture Clutch, I suppose I may mix in my own observations as a long-time SubGenius, myself. I think I’ve paid the…


Presidential culture is more powerful than presidential promises

By John Shirley
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 20:47 EDT

“There is no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats, so the choice is meaningless.” This claim is trumpeted about by many political lefties, and by those crypto-righties, Libertarians. Sometimes the difference between the GOP and Dems is quite stark – recently Republicans in the House voted to take money from…