Filming on “Tar” starts in about a month, I think. My babe’s gotta finish lining up the documentary she has to film before she gets to the oogity-boogity business. I still plan to get some “Making of…” video in between meeting my horrible, hobo fate, but don’t expect very much quality. She’s the videographer between us, not me.
“Tar” is a pretty straightforward monster story, in the style of the old school “Monster on the Loose” tales that I loved as a child. Monster movies, particularly giant monster movies, have always held a special place in my imagination. I’ve loved them with a religious zeal ever since I was five.
“The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” is what started it. Watching ridiculously handsome Kerwin Matthews fight off cyclops and skeletons and giant, two-headed, man-eating vultures was an experience bordering on spiritual rapture. To this day, I still haven’t been moved by a movie the same way I was by “The Seventh Voyage.”
Harryhausen also gave nightmare-addled ten-year-olds the “Beast from 20,000 Fathoms:”
Which inspired Tomoyuki Tanaka to give us this guy:
Who, admittedly, started out as the bad guy. But when I first saw him, he was fighting this thing:
Giving me a concept of monsters as “good guys” that hit me like a stone. These scary, destructive things were fighting to save the world, not to destroy it. Silly now, but for a six-year-old, that’s heavy stuff.
Gamera, a flying, fire-breathing turtle, continued this theme, albeit it in a more exagerratedly campy fashion:
Though Shusuke Kaneko quickly put a stop to that in his late-90s reimagining:
American films after the 1960s skimped on giving us our giant monster thrills. The closest we ever got was a remake of the ooky classic “The Blob,” (since it just keeps growing, I usually lump the Blob into the giant-ooky category) which unfortunately was destined to remain an underrated masterpiece. Unlike the creeping unstoppability of the original, this Blob was a fast, vicious, intelligent predator, and absolutely nobody was spared by this thing.
Eek. On the non-giant side of the monster coin, the aliens of the “Alien” films have always been my favored extraterrestrial menace. And I’ve noticed something: sci-fi purists almost always favor the Predator, whereas Alien fans tend to favor stories that lean towards the horror genre.
I usually lump Freddy and Jason in the monster category, but that usually opens a technical can of worms that almost always ends in whiny, annoyingly specific arguments with people who completely overlook the value of iconicity, so I’m just gonna skip that.
Anyway, while we work on “Tar,” and while I finally set about finishing Finer Points, tell me what your favorite monster is in the comments, and let me know why that film sticks out in your mind the way it does. After you guys respond (all two of you), I’ll set up a review of an all-time favorite of my own, and we’ll see how it goes. (Shut up, Brad, it’ll be awesome.)
P.S.: Original story post coming soon.