The documentary about our monstrous childhood

I’ve mentioned before in this space what I call “the monster world” and what others call the “monster kid” phenomenon. It was that golden period from the 1950s until the 1970s when a lot of us kids were obsessed with all manner of spooky, geeky stuff: Old Universal Studios monster movies, monster dragsters, monster comics, Aurora monster models … you name it.

Part of the impetus for the monster world was the release to television, in the 1950s, of the classic Universal Studios monster films from the 1930s and 1940s. After years of re-releases to theaters, the movies finally found a place on TV.

Late night Fridays and Saturdays and on Saturday afternoons, local TV stations that had purchased the Universal movie package — often referred to as the “Shock Theater” package — aired classics like “Frankenstein,” “Dracula” and all their sequels and spinoffs.

Often local stations created horror movie spoof characters — like Sammy Terry on WTTV Channel 4 in Indianapolis — to host the broadcasts.

At the same time, magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Monster Times, Castle of Frankenstein and many more began publishing.

All of a sudden, the denizens of the monster world found each other.

Today I heard about “That $#!& Will Rot Your Brain,” a documentary from Bob Tinnell that looks at the monster kid phenomenon. Through interviews with everybody from Bob Burns to Tom Savini (if you have to ask …) the documentary looks at what it was like growing up in this golden era.

Tinnell and his partners are seeking donations to help raise $10,000 toward the cost of the film. This website has details.

Donate if you want. No sales pitch from me. I mention it only because, as a former denizen of the monster world, it’s pretty cool to see devoted fans putting their fantasies in action this many years after the fact.

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2 thoughts on “The documentary about our monstrous childhood

  1. Andrew

    Beautiful – just beautiful (in a monstrous way) ! This post is a goldmine.

    I was one of those kids, obsessing over which back issue to buy next, scaring myself over films made before I was born, building glow-in-the-dark models of the monsters, pestering my dad for money to send away for “Horrible Herman” and the “Authentic-looking Jivaro Shrunken Head” – you nailed it with this post (and your blog in general).

    Goodness yes, I was a monster geek as a kid. I begged my parents to let me stay up late on Saturday night to watch “Tales of the Unknown” (which immediately followed ‘Creature Feature” in the Boston area where I grew up. They made me take a nap in order to stay up to 11:00 PM. I read H.P. Lovecraft in 5th, 6th, 7th grade – barely understood it but read it ’cause it was SCARY ! I had a massive poster of Bela Lugosi as Dracula in my freaking bedroom.

    I had John F. Keel books about Mothmen, Ancient Astronauts and Cosmic Invaders.

    I would NEVER let my own kids fill their heads with this stuff today- but I sure loved it then.

    Thanks for this great post. Check one of mine here which has the same Lon Chaney pic:

    https://connecthook.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/classical-monsters/

    Reply

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