Famous Monsters of Filmland (2)

I thought I’d cheer you all up with a few more covers from the American  horror film magazine from the 1960s called “Famous Monsters of Filmland”. There was nothing subtle about them. Here’s Boris Karloff, real name William Pratt, as “The Mummy”:

And here’s the long forgotten film star Duncan ‘Dean’ Parkin in the long forgotten film, “The War of the Colossal Beast”:

They’re all here. King Kong. And tonight, it’s Kentucky Fried Pterodactyl. Save me a wing :

And here’s Lon Chaney senior in the silent film of “The Phantom of the Opera”, still the best version to watch:

And here’s the little Martian guy from “War of the Worlds”, and I don’t mean Tom Cruise. This is the 1953 version, one of my favourite sci-fi films ever, produced by George Pal, one of my favourite sci-fi directors ever:

This is a very stylised cover based on the film “Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man” Note the damsel in distress and her gravity defying bosoms:

Having said that, it is arguable that the magazine cover does no more than echo the feel of the original film poster:

In a strange twist the two protagonists are played by Lon Chaney junior (the original Wolf Man, and completely expected) and Bela Lugosi (playing Frankenstein’s monster, an incredible piece of irony, given that Lugosi rejected the chance to be Frankenstein’s monster in the original film and let Boris Karloff take the role. Apparently, the monster wasn’t worthy of his acting talents).

Here are two wonderful Wolf Men (or Werewolves, or perhaps even Werewolfs). (Or even Wolf People). They look as if some buffoon has put them through the wrong cycle in the washing machine. This is the first one:

And here’s his younger brother. What a strange dental arrangement:

Here’s “The Monster from the Black Lagoon”, wishing he’d never used that cheap moisturising cream  :

This cover is about the silent film that does not exist any more in its fullest form, “London after Midnight”. It is available only in a reconstructed version. It looks like it’s back to strange dental arrangements again:

Not all of the artwork is good. Here’s a daubed Frankenstein, painted with a brush big enough to clean the garage out with:

Only the covers of the magazines are in colour, but there are some very striking black and white photographs inside. I have chosen some characters from my favourite horror films, the old 1930s Universal productions:

Here’s Doctor Pretorius. The man with all the best lines:

His toast:    “To a new world of gods and monsters! “

And:     “Do you like gin? It’s my only weakness. “

And:   “Have a cigar – they’re my only weakness! “

And then, in the mausoleum when the Frankenstein monster makes a sudden unexpected appearance:

“And I thought I was alone!”

And here’s the studio where Godzilla trashes Tokyo on a daily basis. Occasionally his Monkey Mate, King Kong, comes along to help him. The original film, “King Kong v Godzilla”, of course, was voted “Best Film for a late night beer drinking session” for eighteen consecutive years:

And finally, John Cleese’s entry in the Christmas Competition at the Ministry of Silly Werewolves:





Filed under Film & TV, History, Humour, Personal, Writing

30 responses to “Famous Monsters of Filmland (2)

  1. So glad I didn’t see this post just before going to bed.

  2. I’m sorry John, but I am going to pass. I have never been able to give the genre enough interest to understand.

    • That’s OK. It would be a boring world if we all liked the same things. I’ve never been able to like classical music as much as I ought to, and as regards sports, apart from soccer and cricket, there are very few I would give the time of day, although I can see that there is a certain artistic beauty in a good game of Aussie Rules.

      • Yes John. And don’t you think the USA would have been a better place if they played cricket?

      • Yes, I do. You learn a new respect for people of colour when one of them can whack you on the head with a cricket ball at 90mph, or when some old grandad like Bishan Bedi can toss a slow ball to you that will tie you in knots. Likewise, there was little talk of “white supremacy” when England played the West Indies in three Test series totalling 14 tests and lost 0-14. The closest we got to any question of racial issues then was when the newspapers said that we had been “blackwashed”. Happy Days.

      • It’s not called “The Game They Play In Heaven” for nothing.

  3. A great collection with fun captions

  4. GP

    If I were you, I’d watch out for your cholesterol, those Kentucky Fried Pterodactyls look like all skin and no meat.
    I used to watch so many of these movies as a kid.

    • Yes, and they were really great movies, that would frighten you in the cinema but not scar you for life. Years ago, I took a group of around fifty 12 and 13 year olds on a long coach journey to southern France. I put “The Bride of Frankenstein” on the coach’s DVD player. At first there was plenty of scorn for a black and white movie, but after ten minutes, you could have heard a pin drop!

      • GP

        I believe it!! They are classics.

      • Jan

        CD player on the coach! That’s postively decadent. In our day the High school’s preferred modes of transport were: 1) the clapped-out school coach (driven by JSH); 2) the clapped-out former police van with wooden bench seats; 3) the clapped-out 4-tonner with planks to sit on. It was the frugality that kept the fees reasonable!

      • It’s a pity that nobody has ever done a graph of the school fees. I did find out though, the cost of all the various things that you might have wanted to pay for back in 1900, with the modern equivalents in brackets:
        “School fees
        These were made up of £8 (£984) for tuition and £1 9s 0d (£55.35) for books and stationery. The fees had to be paid one term in advance, money to the school’s bankers, Messrs Samuel Smith & Co in the Market Place. An extra fee of three shillings (£18.45) was charged to boys to use the Chemical Laboratory. “The maintenance of the Football and Cricket of the School was a further 3s 0d per term (£9.23). Other small subscriptions were payable for the Fives Club, the Lawn Tennis Club and the Gymnastic Club.”

  5. As a young person, how did I miss these magazines? I didn’t know they existed. I saw the movies, but missed the magazines.

  6. John, I wasn’t aware that Godzilla and Kong are old acquaintances. I found their latest encounter very entertaining.

    • Oh yes, they are definitely old friends, from 1963:
      In this film, though, they are so obviously men in suits that it becomes a comedy, and if a group of you happen to be involved in drinking a few beers, then the film soon turns into being completely hilarious. Funniest moment is when King Kong pulls up a tree and tries to push it down Godzilla’s throat, but it seems to be slightly too large, and he can’t do it!

  7. The only films I ever remember watching were the King Kong / Godzilla ones. Fights over skyscrapers with model aeroplanes hanging on wires. The cyber men from Dr Who used to scare me, so much more then that and I couldn’t watch it.

    • You are so right. The Cyber Men were really scary with that “face that was not a real face”, that never changed expression.
      I agree with you too about Godzilla, although the original film of 1954 was meant to make a serious point, namely that if you keep carrying out atomic testing deep in the sea, who knows what you may awaken? Subsequent films have been mostly a succession of men in monster suits, presented as if it were that old Saturday afternoon wrestling, with Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. (I used to like them too !)

      • I remember watching them with my day. Very much a showcase, followed by the usual re-enactment by my brother and I! Good old Saturday sport with Dickie Davis!

      • I used to really enjoy the wrestling. It always had some comedy in it, some laughs. My favourite was Les Kellett who was as good as Laurel and Hardy on his day. The modern WWE stuff nowadays is so fierce and macho. Never a laugh in sight.

  8. So many would have watched with biting nails and sitting on the edge of the seat. 😁

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