Oh my God no!! It's Sharktopus!!!!!!
From TCM Movie Morlocks
Monsters Among Us!
Posted by Richard Harland Smith on January 20, 2012
This week, two screenwriter friends of mine were retained to write monster movies for a new production company called The Monster Machine. David Rosiak and Matthew Chernov have already written the made-for-TV chompalooza SHARK SWARM (2008) and are pushing forward to craft more supersized and hybridized horrors for the producers of DINOSHARK (2010) and SHARKTOPUS (2010). I’m happy for my friends and the news evoked in me the kneejerk response “Good… I miss monsters.” And then the strangeness of that reaction struck me — there are monsters everywhere these days, so what’s the big deal? Watch any SyFy and it’s back-to-back ads for video games and made-for-TV movies and theatrical releases offering all manner of freakish folderol and dedicated reality TV shows for Bigfoot, river monsters and ghosts foreign and domestic. We’re actually living in what could be called, quantitatively, a monster renaissance akin to the glory days of the 1940s and 1950s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and sent real estate values crumbling like so many scale model metropoli… but it’s not the same. It’s just not the same.
Sixty years ago, monster movies were crumbs cast off from the major studios, chicken feed for the kids and the punters who liked to eat popcorn and have something big to look at while doing it. Titles like THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953), THEM! (1954) and IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955) and others were not staffed with movie stars but cast instead from the ranks of the contract players, workaday actors who owed some time or some years to their home studios, or who were on loan-out from another. Most of the people doing the movies had no love for the genre, for horror, for le fantastique — it was just rent and gas money, alimony, braces for the kids, a down payment. From the directors down to the writers, actors and technicians, monster movies were the cinematic equivalent of the $2 betting window at the race track… a place where a little money could be made and better things financed. Sure, some studios (Universal, for one) made bank off the tendering of horror and science fiction but the category was still considered down-market, common, dumb. Happily, crafty artisans used the medium to sneak in ideas and techniques that were brash, blasphemous and novel at the time and in retrospect a lot of monster movies of the Classic Age of Hollywood play better now than they did originally, now that we can appreciate their subthemes and hidden motifs
What’s great about old monster movies is that there is always a reliable level of craftsmanship, of competence and reliability. If the script is dodgy, the playing is persuasive. If the acting is wooden, the script will offer thought-provoking ideas or smart dialogue. Even if the scenario boils down to little more than a guy in an ape suit and gabardine slacks or a mollusk puppet dripping Noxema from its molded rubber maw, the effects entertain, sometimes fascinate, and invariably charm while reality is worked in from the side through the matter-of-fact playing of the ensemble and the insistence on the part of everyone involved of absolute professionalism. And some of the time — and THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) comes immediately to mind — book, performance and production come together to give us something truly unforgettable… something our children and grandchildren will be talking about long after we’re gone.
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