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Memoirs of a Monster Kid ~ by Rick Pruitt
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


______________________________________________

Rick Pruitt

__When I saw this on TV 50 years ago, I thought it was the worst movie ever. But that didn't last long — a few months later I saw SHE FREAK, so there ya go. But over the years I continued to think of it as one of the worst.

Then I finally watched it again a couple of months back and . . . well, it's still a bad movie.

However, there is some small talent visible in the direction by Tom Graeff. The acting is still pretty dreadful. The skeletons (with hanging attachment atop the skulls) are ridiculous. And the lobster — excuse me, the GARGON — which almost made me angry back in '66, now makes me shake my head and giggle.

It takes a lot of chutzpah to try to pass off Larry the Lobster as an alien super monster.

But, when you get right down to it, it's just a really bad movie.




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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

______
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Rick Pruitt

__I first saw this on a Saturday afternoon TV broadcast about 50 years ago, and I thought it was pretty great. Well...maybe not great, but pretty good.

That was — and remains — a very lonely opinion. The little I knew about it in those days was that folks thought it was lousy. Even my friends at the time thought I'd gone around the bend when I told them I liked this one. I believed that I was literally the only person in the world who liked this movie.

Then, a couple of years later, I'm reading a copy of the late, still-lamented PHOTON magazine, and the writer, Ron Borst (who even then I knew was kind of top of the monster fan heap) said something favorable about ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU. Hallelujah! Not only was I not alone in the world, there was even a slight possibility that I wasn't crazy.

It's still not great, but it is still, in my opinion, pretty good. And I still might not be crazy.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Rick Pruitt

__Oh, I heard about THE FLY for years. It seemed that all of my childhood friends had seen it. So I heard about it. And heard about it. And etc.

But I had no chance to see it. I remember a friend gleefully regaling me with the story of the big press crushing THE FLY's head. But I couldn't see it.

I actually saw RETURN OF THE FLY (at the good old LeRose Theater) several years before seeing the original. RETURN is surely not much of a movie, but, at eleven years of age, I thought it was pretty creepy and pretty gross.

When I finally saw THE FLY, on a 6 pm TV broadcast (in black and white), I was disappointed. Severely. Probably it was mostly the years of anticipation which had just built up too much steam. When I finally saw the movie, rather than a giant explosion, the steam just sort of sssssssssssss'ed away.

Plus, I preferred, and still prefer, the big fly head from RETURN to the li'l mask from the first movie.








I am probably wrong about all this. Someday maybe I'll see THE FLY again and be bowled over. I hope so.

And, for a final coup de grace, this is the rare instance where the remake outstrips the original. Cronenberg's THE FLY is just worlds better than this thing.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Rick Pruitt

__GORGO was the first movie I remember for its TV ads. They ran constantly and were just overwhelmingly exciting.

There was no way I could get to the south side of the Ohio River to see it first-run, which meant waiting and hoping that it would eventually show up at the LeRose Theater. Usually this would be a wait of months for a movie to work its way down to LeRose level — if it ever got there at all.

But fortune smiled and GORGO showed up in my hometown just a few weeks after closing on 4th Street in Louisville.

The excitement in my childhood circle was almost palpable. My friends and I had watched those commercials absolutely goggle-eyed. And I had clipped a stack of newspaper ads from the Louisville papers, some as large as 1/4 page. They showed a huge, fearsome creature being bothered not at all by the feeble weapons on the ground while apparently snapping its teeth at the pesky jets buzzing around its head. We couldn't wait.

So, a troop of us raced to the theater one Saturday afternoon during the summer of 1961. And, despite our enormous expectations, we were thrilled and delighted. Not one of us expressed the tiniest iota of disappointment or criticism. There was no carping about the effects or the kid or anything else.

I'll admit that, at 11 years of age, I had no idea how the monster had been created for the movie. I knew it wasn't stop-motion because I'd already seen KING KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG and THE BLACK SCORPION by then. I knew it wasn't a lizard photographically enlarged.

I don't think it ever even crossed my mind that it might be a man in a suit. Frankly, I don't think I worried about how it was done. It was a movie monster and movies had magic and that was enough.

Today I still love GORGO. It's still vastly entertaining, and there's something so eternally satisfying about the whole 'mother love' aspect of the story.

I know now, of course, how the monster was done. And — Godzilla fans forgive me — I think it's the best man-in-suit giant monster ever. So there.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Rick Pruitt

__It is a good, brutal movie. Not exactly a feel-good experience, but it doesn't aim to be.

I saw this in Denver in 1977. It had gotten a re-release in the wake of STAR WARS because, well, George Lucas.

Uh-huh.

Folks who went to the movie hoping to see a proto-STAR WARS must have been gobsmacked. And maybe not too happy.

Thankfully, I knew what I was getting into, so no Skywalker Syndrome for me. I haven't seen the movie since then. I'm just not that taken with downbeat movies and THX 1138 is nothing if not downbeat.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Rick Pruitt

__ I saw this at a drive-in in May of 1971, almost exactly 45 years ago, don't think I've seen it since. It was doubled with CRY OF THE BANSHEE. Not the greatest double-feature I'd ever seen. Not the worst, either, but then I've seen a ton of crummy movies.

I remember Bruce Dern guesting with Johnny Carson a few years after this, when he was something of a big deal. He talked about this movie with a great deal of humor while probably stretching the truth.

He said that they never finished shooting the script. According to his version, he showed up at the studio for the last day of shooting to find the place locked and abandoned. He said the end of the script was never shot. He also said he'd never been paid.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on his salary, but I don't remember this being a movie without an ending, so I suspect that part of the story was just something funny to tell on the Carson show.

At any rate, Dern's story was more entertaining than his movie.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Rick Pruitt

__I love this movie and have since seeing it on the day it opened. It's smart and clever and funny and romantic and creepy and all good things.

Back in the days when I was — or seemed to be — the only person in the world who actually owned his own VCR, this was one of the movies I taped off HBO or Showtime or The Movie Channel or something and watched over and over. And I showed it over and over to crowds of folks I was working with. It ALWAYS played like gangbusters. I must have shown it to at least 100 people back in '80-'81 and nobody disliked it. Most loved it.

And, if there was ever a "star-making" performance it's certainly Mary Steenburgen's here. She is charming, cute, funny, touching, and just so different from everyone else. As for her dual time-travel romances, I believe I read somewhere long ago that Robert Zemeckis wanted her for BACK TO THE FUTURE 3 at least partly because of her role in TIME AFTER TIME. And why not?

"Pomme frites! Fries are pomme frites!"

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Rick Pruitt

__This was one of the movies which a local station seemed to keep on tap to fill in the schedule as needed. Guess they had a print under the news desk . . . just in case.



As a result, I saw this one too many times. Three, four, five, six times . . . I don't know. I never cared much for it, especially after it showed up over and over. Why couldn't we get something else? We always got THE UNKNOWN TERROR on Channel 3 and FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE on Channel 11. Over and over.

But did we ever see CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN or THEM! or THE MAN WITHOUT A BODY? Nope, never. Not at least till I was an adult, and I wanted to see them when I was a kid. Dammit.

Anyway, I watched THE UNKNOWN TERROR again a few years back and it's really not that bad. Some interesting turns to the story, some decent actors. But the soap suds still kill the thing dead in its tracks and instantly turn a halfway respectable monster flick into a laughfest. Too bad.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[img]poster[/img]
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Rick Pruitt

__My friends and I didn't have the chance to catch this wonderful movie at the theater. It showed up on the late movie in 1962 and, of course, we all loved it. Even in commercial-interrupted black and white.





My friend Steve particularly loved FORBIDDEN PLANET and made that widely known.

Just last year, more than 53 years after we'd first seen FB, I got a lovely Christmas letter from ol' Steve. He's been a busy boy all these years. Got his doctorate in physics or engineering or, I dunno, something else I don't understand. His sons and wife and sons-in-law and himself are almost all college professors. Steve has also written a college-level textbook on, you know, physics or engineering or whatever. He even had some sort of patented device of his installed on the space shuttle.

So, like I said, he's been busy.

The fun part of the letter though was Steve reminiscing about our childhood sci-fi and monster movie watching. He mentioned that he continues to love FORBIDDEN PLANET. He even dazzled me by writing that he still watches FORBIDDEN PLANET "at least once a month."

Steve's wife has, he says, come to accept this.

Now that is a FORBIDDEN PLANET fan writ large.

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scotpens
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:


Rick Pruitt

I remember Bruce Dern guesting with Johnny Carson a few years after this, when he was something of a big deal. He talked about this movie with a great deal of humor while probably stretching the truth.

He said that they never finished shooting the script. According to his version, he showed up at the studio for the last day of shooting to find the place locked and abandoned. He said the end of the script was never shot. He also said he'd never been paid.

Movies are almost always shot out of continuity. If there's any truth to Bruce Dern's story, it may be that a random scene or two never got filmed, and the editor simply worked around the gaps.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Rick Pruitt

__I saw this at the LeRose when I was ten years old, at a time when I had very few sci-fi or horror films under my belt. I thought it was the worst movie I'd ever seen. And, at the time, it was probably fairly close to being that.



But when I saw it for the second time, on TV when I was 17, I was kind of shocked. Sure, it's a bad movie, but it's not a BAAAAAAD! movie.

What surprised me the most on that second viewing was how well acted it was. Allison Hayes, Yvette Vickers, William Hudson, even the guy who played the sheriff . . . they were all really good!

Of course the story was still silly and the effects were truly awful. But it ain't the worst of nuthin'.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scotpens wrote:
Movies are almost always shot out of continuity. If there's any truth to Bruce Dern's story, it may be that a random scene or two never got filmed, and the editor simply worked around the gaps.

At last! A member of All Sci-Fi who demonstrated that he's been enjoying these great anecdotal posts by Rick Elliot!
Thanks, Scot! Very Happy

Please share more of your reactions to these re-posted messages by our friend and fellow member.

I've been chatting frequently with Rick through PMs on the Classic Horror Film Board where he's made thousands of posts, and he's delighted by the manner in which I've collected his ASF comments and shared them in this unique thread on All Sci-Fi.

Scot, I seen your own posts on the Classic Horror Film Board, so I'm sure Rick is familiar with you are well.
Very Happy
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scotpens
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
Rick Pruitt

. . . And, for a final coup de grace, this is the rare instance where the remake outstrips the original. Cronenberg's THE FLY is just worlds better than this thing.

Cronenberg's version takes the story in such a different direction that I consider it a reworking or re-imagining rather than a remake.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

______________________________________________

Concerning the two versions of The Fly, that's exactly the way I feel, Scot. Both movies are brilliant, but the basic premises are different, and the main characters are decidedly not the same.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Rick Pruitt

__ I saw this on TV when I was a kid and, for a while, I thought maybe nobody but me had ever heard of it. Maybe I'd even dreamt it.

Then I saw a mention of it in one of the Scheuer or Maltin movie books, so I knew it was real.

That first viewing, when I was young, was a real gift. I had no idea when I started watching the movie what it was about. It was just on and it was something to watch, so I did.

When I realized that it had this fantasy/s-f thing goin' on, I was thrilled. Very rarely did I get to "discover" such a thing. Usually I'd seen an ad in the paper or a friend had told me about it or it had a title which gave it away. But this one...I mean, STOP PRESS GIRL could be almost anything.

I didn't see it again till just about a year ago and...it's cute. Nothing special, but cute. And, because it was all MINE all those years ago, it still holds a special, if tiny, place in my affections.

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