|Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) - see more below|
Before Tom Savini and Rick Baker brought you realistic horror movie makeup; before CGI; before big budget effects, Hollywood monsters looked a little.... well, lame.
That's not to say that was always the case (take a look at the Universal monsters; Lon Chaney's creations were perhaps better than anything since). However, during the 50s and 60s there was an influx of low budget horror films to meet the demands of a new generation. The drive-ins were stocked with grade-Z horror in the wake of I Was a Teenage Werewolf, and Boomer kids were rapidly becoming monster fanatics.
The end result was some woefully poor monster costumes and unintentionally hilarious make up effects. But folks weren't as jaded and cynical back then. A little imagination was all that was needed; graphic realism would have taken the fun out of it.
So, when I present to you these awful monsters, it's with love. Sure, I'm playfully mocking them, but I also genuinely enjoy them, and perhaps wish we could go back to a time when a costume with a zipper up the back was all that you needed to make a good monster movie.
It's almost hard to believe that this costume from Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957) was intended to scare. Can you imagine this appearing in a movie today - not as a joke, but as a scare?
Here's a couple pics from behind the scenes. See, I told you the monster wasn't real.
The Alligator People (1959)
"By piecing together all available information, we have recreated startlingly real monsters, monsters which, according to local Louisiana folklore, once roamed and preyed on the surrounding countryside in the late 18th and early 19th centuries."
- Producer of The Alligator People, Jack Leewood,
The She Creature (1956)
The She Creature is an example where (1) it probably looked a lot better on paper and (2) a whole lot better in dim lighting. It really could've been quite badass in the darkness. In broad daylight, not so much.
Other than looking ridiculous in good lighting, another problem was that the She Creature walked slower than an asthmatic snail.
The She Creature was impervious to bullets.... but not torpedoes. (Get it? Torpedoes?.... I'll see myself out.)
The Neanderthal Man (1953)
Worst. Monster. Ever.
The Unknown Terror (1957)
Tagline: "They dared enter the Cave of Death to explore the secrets of hell!" Featuring a very unscary Fungus Monster.
Lost in Space Season 1, Episode 13 "One of Our Dogs is Missing"
Okay, this isn't from a movie, but I simply had to include it. Sort of a combination gorilla - horned lizard. In this episode, the always irritating Dr. Smith dismantles the lasers, leaving the womenfolk helpless. Not to worry, everyone will forgive him no matter how many times he jeopardizes the lives of the Robinsons.
The Mole People (1956)
There's plenty more where these came from. Stay tuned.