A visit to Mockingbird Lane today as the charity blog pays tribute to black and white sci-fantasy movies
Herman Munster makes a cameo appearance in Blog 84 because… well, I haven’t got a Boris Karloff Frankenstein’s monster action figure. So what could have been a moody, monochrome homage to ’30 horror films looks instead like a tribute to Carry On Screaming. Oooooh, what a lovely pair… of white plimsolls.
Had them for years. Only ever wear them with black jeans in a self-conscious attempt to look like an ageing hipster. But despite the fact they’ve probably only been worn eight times in 10 years (it’s not often I self-consciously attempt to look like an ageing hipster) the soles are so incredibly worn out that walking on the office carpet is currently a bit like Dancing On Ice. That’s what you get for buying plimsolls in a Pound Shop.
Anyway, computer was quickly fixed yesterday. The problem? A stone in the socket. Well, at least I don’t bore the IT lads with the same old problems. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that blog from Brighton beach, eh?
Lots of exciting Sole Of Sci-Fi development; I currently have about 11 pairs of on-loan trainers either in the post coming my way, or to be posted imminently! I’m also arranging my most extravagant photoshoot yet, to take place at the end of April. I need some more Golas for that and another pair of yellow trainers form that one.
Anyway, while we’re in a black and white frame of mind, here are my top 10 favourite monochrome sci-fi and fantasy films, in no particular order:
Night Of The Demon (1957)
Spooky, psychological horror featuring the original Death Note. And you know what? I don’t even mind the monster at the end. I know it was forced on the director, who wanted a less on-the-nose finale, but when I was a kid watching this for the first time, the monster worked for me! These days, though, I will admit that a simple fluttering piece of paper that seems to have a life of its own is a lot more scary.
The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
Decades before The Godfather 2 showed the masses that sequels didn’t have to be inferior, director James Whale had proven the point with this blackly comic masterpiece.
20 Million Miles To Earth (1957)
The first of two Ray Harryhausen films in this list, simply because I’m a huge Harryhausen fan. And the Ymir is one of his greatest creations, with loads more character than King King (which some of you may be shocked to see isn’t on this list; it nearly was – consider it an honorary number 11). The scenes of the Ymir hatching from an egg and wiping its eyes in the glare of the new light are amongst Harryhausen’s best bits of animation.
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
Mainly love this film because, subtextually, it’s about a giant lizard that wants to shag a lighthouse and is rudely interrupted. Harryhausen liked the number 20, didn’t he?
The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
Best. Movie. Robot. Ever. The FX of the saucer landing are pretty damned impressive too. And while the message is worryingly akin to US foreign policy (we’re right because we have bigger weapons) at least it tries to have a pacifist message.
The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
The film that spawned a zillion Doctor Who stories. British sci-fi horror at its pipe-smoking best.
You can accuse me of being deliberately trendy, but I genuinely prefer German director FW Murnau’s unofficial rip-off of Bram Stoker’s vampire tale to the Todd Browning US-made official Dracula (which I think is actually a bit dull). Max Shreck’s Graf Orlok is one of the most iconic horror images of the last 100 years.
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
The film that made everyday objects alien and scary. Never been completely sold on the ending – which some critics praise as poetic and lyrical, but I just put down to not knowing how to end the film and writing an existential monologue to cover up the fact – but the journey there is filled great effects and set pieces, and a wonderfully touching star performance from Grant Williams.
The Thing From Another World (1951)
Usually dismissed as “not as good as the remake” which is fair comment, but it’s still a highly effective base-under-siege movie.
Wow. It’s still visually impressive nearly 100 years on. Okay, the story is a tad incoherent, but as with Blade Runner, its the world that’s created here that is the true star.
USUAL SIGN OFF:
Current total: £585
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