Vintage Scares #31: Awful Monsters

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.


  1. I wouldn't mind being scuttled by those torpedoes.

  2. I am totally freaked out and won't be able to sleep tonight. Thanks!

  3. The worst monster, because it was apparently done on the cheap, was when Captain Kirk battled the lizard guy on a planet with the aliens looking on. I think that was during the third season of Star Trek, when their budget was cut.

    1. Episode 18, first season titled "Arena" the monster was called a "Gorn."

    2. The "Gorn" was terribly AWESOME! William Shatners over acting and the obvious-man-in-a-costume Gorn was classic. I still love to watch that episode.

    3. I did a google image search for "gorn" and then promptly laughed my ass off.

  4. J. Bevington TaliaferroApril 26, 2013

    In Lost in Space, Don was always ready to beat Dr. Smith to death. Don was always ready to beat everything and everybody to death. He was my favorite character on the show. But it was frustrating beyond belief to see the boss man tell Don to be cool. Don't kill Smith. Simmer down. They should at least have ended the series with a Don vs. Dr. Smith cage match.

    1. Don resented being upstaged by Will and the Robot, and finally by the carrot monster, as I believe it was called.

    2. I think Don only listened to the "Boss Man", because he was tappin his oldest daughter, Judy.

  5. The She Creature looks like something Rita Repulsa would have sicced on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. And no, I don't mean that as a compliment.

  6. Come now puny earthlings, surely Ro-man from Robot Monster takes the crown.

  7. Check out the Frankenstein monster from "Dracula vs Frankenstein." One of the most ridiculous monsters I've ever seen, especially for a Frankenstein monster. He looks like a loaf of bread come to life!

  8. What about the creeping critter from Creeping Terror?

    1. A classic, especially how the victims had to hobble themselves in order to let the carpet... er monster overtake them. One of the must watch bad movies.


      I kinda enjoyed the Creature from the Haunted Sea, pure Roger Corman camp....


  9. I remember seeing a movie poster for the Invasion of the Saucer Men at a local 50's themed restaurant. they looked allot scarier on the poster than they were in the movie. I guess I should have expected that the aliens on the poster would differ from the ones on screen but not by such a vast margin. I was drawn in after years of passing by that poster and seeing it wondering if the film lived up to the poster. I saw the movie and the aliens were so misrepresented on the poster it wasn't even funny. on the poster they were at least 8 feet tall and heads the size of refrigerators, in the film they were as you can gather from the pics at the top were around 4 feet tall and had Brussels sprout heads that were about the size of beach balls. I wish I could remember more about it but I can't. i guess i'll just have to watch it again.

  10. Yep, there were a lot of goofy monsters then. There were exceptions where you could see they put some more thought and money into them, of course (Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Colossus of New York, and the ants from Them! come to mind), but by and large, wow...