Obviously, there's something refreshing about children not spending their entire youths drowning in fear and paranoia from realistic horrors portrayed in the media.
This came to me after remembering when I showed my sister's son, Griffin, a movie called The Giant Claw when he was about 10.
He convulsed in laughter at the sight of the hokey monster.
"You mean they were serious when they made this?" he asked me, incredulous.
"Oh my, yes..." I replied, and then we both howled at the sight of this preposterous creature and the poor actors feigning fright.
Here are my choices for the top 10 most idiotic, sublimely stupid, monsters in film history.
1. The Giant Claw (1957): This laugh riot is about a giant bird from outer space attacking New York, and stars Jeff Morrow (This Island Earth) who, in an interview with film historian Tom Weaver, said he only got to see the finished monster (a Sesame Street Big Bird look-a-like marionette) at the premiere. He promptly sunk in his seat, mortified. But, of course, the rest of us jumped for joy.
2. The Creeping Terror (1964): A giant killer throw rug attacks Lake Tahoe. The movie is all voice-over narration (the soundtrack was purportedly lost). The alien creature looks just like a 1950s bath mat left out in the rain. If you watch carefully, you can see the sneakers of the film crew under the "Terror".
3. From Hell It Came (1957):My personal favorite: "Tabanga," a possessed, killer tree stump with the spirit of a murdered South Sea native, takes revenge by slowly carrying his enemies over to dump into quicksand.
4. It Conquered The World (1956): A Roger Corman-directed cheapie about a monster from Venus, holed up in a cave which sends out bat-like creatures that turn you into its slaves. The beast looks like half a cucumber with big teeth and crab-like arms, and when B-movie fave Beverly Garland has an angry confrontation with it at the end, you will fall off your couch laughing.
5. The Alligator People (1959): Beverly Garland (again!) travels to Louisiana to find her missing husband, only to discover that a mad scientist has turned him into an alligator man. It also stars Lon Chaney as a hate-crazed, hook-handed, Cajun. The last 15 minutes with a shrieking Garland being chased by her gator-mate through the swamp is riotously funny.
6. Robot Monster (1953): Notorious 3D movie about an alien invader sent to destroy earth called Ro-Man (actually a man in a gorilla suit with a diving helmet on his head). This legendary stinker was directed by Phil Tucker, who allegedly attempted suicide after the movie's disastrous opening.
7. The Mighty Gorga (1969): There have been plenty of lousy King Kong rip-offs, but this one takes the cake. A circus owner (Anthony Eisley) travels to a lost tribe who worship a giant ape named "Gorga". There are plastic dinosaur attacks, and Gorga's eyes are clearly painted on, which adds to the pleasure.
8. Frankenstein's Daughter (1958): Another teenage monster rip-off from master schlockmeister Richard E. Cunha (Missile To The Moon/She Demons). A California girl is transformed into a hideous monster by Dr. Frankenstein's grandson, Oliver (Donald Murphy). The early scenes with the snaggle-toothed lady monster is played by Sandra Knight, but the later scenes are played by a big, burly stunt man with what looks like a bucket on his head.
9. Horror Of Party Beach (1964): Classic beach party movie with sea creatures caused by nuclear waste, filmed in Connecticut. The monsters look like Black Lagoon-wannabes but with rows of hot dogs sticking out of their mouths. The Del-Aires perform "The Zombie Stomp," while teens frug wildly and become food for the monsters.
10. The Killer Shrews (1959):I have the original poster framed in my living room--a hairy animal tail and a bloody high-heel shoe- which promised "rodentacular horrors." The real film is about a bunch of people who get stranded on an island overrun with a mad doctor's experiments on "shrews." They're quite obviously packs of dogs with masks on. Shrewtastic!