Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Johnny Cash The Beast In Me
 Evelyn “Champagne” King Give It Up
 Radiohead Creep
 Alice Cooper Feed My Frankenstein
 Iron Maiden Doctor Doctor
 Hot Hot Heat Bandages
 Ozzy Osbourne Bark At The Moon
 The Grid Swamp Thing
 Glockabelle King Kong
 Ramin Djawadi Pacific Rim
 Patsy Cline Crazy
 David Bowie Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
It takes all sorts. The population of the world is currently well above seven billion and rising fast and, if there’s one thing that I have learned, it’s that there are bound to be a few rotten apples in the bunch. Some of us are placed on earth to do good and others have an entirely different set of instructions. I learned at a very young age that evil lurks amongst us and have Hammer and Amicus studios to thank for pointing out any undesirables as they covered all the bases during a dominant spell at the very apex of horror. This sequence will be formed of two distinctive parts and will conclude with the modern-day psychos and killers that we all know and love. However, we tend to conveniently forget that terror isn’t exclusive to the period we live in now and the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe were dreaming up all manner of nightmare makers long before Myers, Voorhees and the like were ventilating co-eds for profit. Our primary excursion will look at some of the classic movie monsters of yesteryear and , believe me, there are plenty here that you wouldn’t wish to run into in a darkened alley.
First up it simply has to be Count Dracula. The vampire had been in existence for centuries before old evil eye showed up on the scene and have been traced back as far as the 15th century and Romanian Prince Vlad III the Impaler. However, under the supervision of legendary author Bram Stoker in 1897, a face was finally put to the name and he went on to become the archetype for modern-day blood suckers in the process. Believe it or not, this Transylvanian fiend was once a nobleman and fearless warrior before his death. However, he was also an alchemist and loved nothing more than to dabble with the black arts so, once his natural life came to a close, he reinvented himself as a creature of the night. Having mastered the art of resurrection, he spent the next few centuries keeping his head down and catching up on his beauty sleep in a tomb in his castle’s chapel. To ensure that loneliness never became an issue he recruited three beautiful female vampires to wash his linen and became something of a recluse.
All that time on your hands is never a good thing and eventually his quiet existence was no longer deemed sufficient. In the late 19th century, he decided it was time to spread his wings and embark on a bid for world domination. London appeared to be quite the hive of activity so he summoned fresh-faced English solicitor Jonathan Harker to handle any real estate red tape and headed off on a Russian ship, The Demeter, to explore this brave new world, feasting on the crew to keep his strength up en route. After docking in the coastal town of Whitby and assuming the identity of a hound to keep a low profile, he made a B-line for Harker’s fiancée Wilhelmina and her friend Lucy. Regular visits to Lucy’s sleeping quarters each sundown kept him stocked up on precious blood and progressively infected her with vampirism. However, it wasn’t long before questions were raised as to her deteriorating health and Dutch physician Abraham Van Helsing was called onto the scene.
Dracula terrified me as a child and, thanks to all manner of cinematic reincarnations, was never far from my boudoir. While initially depicted as something of a hideous creature, sexuality played a huge part in his reign for supremacy as the story was adapted and he knew precisely how to charm young virgins out of their chastity belts with one look. As well as being quite the hit with the ladies, he also boasted a number of supernatural abilities that assisted him in doing his foul bidding. With the strength of twenty men, superhuman agility, and a tendency to defy gravity, Van Helsing sure had his work cut out. Moreover, summoning sewer rats was also his specialty and shapeshifting into bat, wolf, dog, elemental dust, fog or mist at will made him quite the elusive villain. Mirrors could not register his reflection and, when really in a fix, he could vanish and reappear elsewhere to buy himself some time. However, it wasn’t all love bites and night terrors as he wasn’t without his weaknesses and thorn in his side Van Helsing knew exactly how to stop him in his tracks.
Having an insatiable appetite for the blood of virgins was all well and good but his uncontrollable lust became a constant bone of contention. Certain items acted as his Kryptonite and a slice of sacramental garlic bread was enough to bring the Count to his knees. Sacred crucifixes were also handy for provoking his repulsion and a wild rose rested upon his casket lid was enough to render him bedridden indefinitely. Natural sunlight and sacred bullets could do a number on him too, while a stake driven through the heart would put paid to his nocturnal pursuits permanently. That said, you’d have to track him down first and he had no intention of being an easy target. As for his uncanny knack for seducing the weak-willed into submission, the promise of eternal life proved fruitless to resist and his libido was certainly never in question. Erectile dysfunction can be a bitch when you enter into your twilight years but, after centuries of habitual masturbation in the confines of his cosy coffin, this was never an issue for the Count. My mother always warned me that excessive wanking would lead to blindness but he is living proof that it was all a crock of shit. Should I continue at my current rate of knots, I’ll still be alive and well at 500 and I have Dracula to thank for that.
Unfortunately for Nosferatu, personal services were a troublesome endeavor due to possessing the world’s worst manicure. Arriving on the scene in 1921 courtesy of a German studio, this particular bloodsucker met fierce resistance from Stoker’s widow, who filed for a copyright infringement suit in an attempt to stop him in his tracks. Count Orlok was then forced to deviate from the path in order not to provoke further wrath and, while Dracula was popular with the ladies, Orlok found it hard just earning himself a sympathy fuck. No amount of beauty sleep could correct his crooked posture and dashing looks eluded him in favor of a face to test even a mother’s gag reflex. As a result, Nosferatu was forced to reevaluate his technique as recruiting a legion of followers would be a stretch without chloroform. Thus, he killed his victims outright and blamed it on the plague instead. I felt bad for Orlok as he was forced to exist in his more illustrious cousin’s shadow and never enjoyed the same level of popularity. However, I feared him just as much as Count Dracula, if not more so, as nobody wishes to wake from their slumber to see his unsightly mug bearing down on you.
Frankenstein’s monster fared little better with the opposite sex and would no doubt have some harsh words for his creator as he was never given much of a chance from the offset. Genevan science student Baron Victor Frankenstein may have started out with the very best of intentions as he looked to realize his childhood dream of imparting life to non-living matter. However, for all of his simulation studies, it was the fine detail that let him down once he fired up his machine. Have you ever baked a cake only for it to turn out nothing like how the recipe states? His monster was eight-feet tall and a mass of mismatched body parts pilfered from numerous cadavers, none of which were exactly appealing. Even his skin was horrendous and barely concealed all the blood vessels beneath, while his yellow eyes were presumably robbed from a heavy smoker. In short, he was a monstrosity and Victor was less than satisfied with the results. So what does one do in such situations? You love them anyhoots as they’re yours right? In conversation at the local tavern, you pull a photo from your wallet and remark something like “he’s a looker right?” and ignore the response as, in your eyes, they’re perfect as they are. Not Victor.
Repulsed by his creation, the Baron heads off back to the drawing board, leaving his cast-aside wretch to ponder his place in society. Frankenstein’s monster just wanted to fit in and attempted to mingle with the locals to cheer him up after his rejection. Moreover, he taught himself to read and set off with his new-found intelligence and articulation kills, expecting to make friends and influence people. Alas, folk tend to judge on appearance first and the townspeople were less than enamored with his presence. Heartbroken, he retreated back into the mountains and searched out his master for showdown talks. It seemed only fair that Victor create a female companion for him as he deserved this basic human right to happiness and pledged to vanish with his new mate into the wilderness, should his simple request be granted. Fearing for his life, the Baron agrees to his terms and begins work on his significant other immediately. However, premonitions of reproduction leading to a race of ugly as sin wretches that will wipe out mankind, leave him paranoid and he destroys Frankenstein’s bride before she can breathe her first. What a bastard.
Granted, he may have though he was doing humanity a service by calling an end to their union before his monster could so much as unzip his fly. But if you make your bed, the least you can do is to lie in it and he had no divine right to play God. Of all the vintage monsters, Frankenstein is perhaps the most tragic as his only requisite was to be loved and ultimately it was never to be. Medical science has a lot to answer for if you ask me as mad doctors are so busy attempting to land themselves a Nobel Prize, that they fail to think of the ramifications of their actions. Nowadays it is easy enough to apply a filter to your selfies and conceal any unsightly blemishes but back in the nineteenth century there were no miraculous skin care products or one-minute makeovers to make you any more appealing to the opposite sex. Aside from a future in radio broadcasting, the Wretch had precious few options at his disposal so, ravaged by grief, he relocated to the North Pole where he cried himself to sleep at night, clubbing wayward penguins just to release his pent-up sexual frustration. Poor fellow.
Another doctor not to be trusted was Henry Jekyll who became obsessed with man’s evil impulses and develops a serum that releases his evil alter-ego, the treacherous Edward Hyde. This devilish cocktail had its drawbacks, one of which being physical abnormalities that made his dark side far less pleasing on the eye and, indeed, downright primitive in appearance. On the plus side, Hyde had absolutely no boundaries or conscience, and was free to do whatever he pleases until the effects of the drug wore off. Leading a double life was fun for a while and afforded Jekyll the opportunity to act out his sickest fantasies, whilst never being held contemptible for his partner’s vile actions. However, guilt eventually kicked in and he pledged to knock his addiction on the head once and for all. Sadly, the damage was already done and the cunning Mr. Hyde found a way of rearing his ugly head without the necessity for narcotics. Should you be looking for downsides to drugs, then Dr. Jekyll offered living proof that sometimes a natural high is better and, once again, science was to blame for creating a monster. Will they ever learn?
Dr. Caligari was just as wretched and I’m not even sure he possessed a legitimate medical licence. That said, his hypnotism skills were unquestionable and, using his powers of persuasion, he coerced some other poor impressionable bastard into doing any dirty work on his behalf. For hapless somnambulist Cesare, sleepwalking left him woefully open to the powers of persuasion and Caligari exploited this weakness for all it was worth by playing puppet master and wiping out anyone foolish enough to stand in his way. What was most unnerving was the underlying subtext to the story as Dr. Caligari represented the German government and his subject was symbolic of the common foot soldier conditioned to act on their behalf. Indeed, there are parallels between the criminal mastermind and the tyrannical Adolf Hitler lending it decidedly sinister undertones that reflected the well-documented horrors of war.
Keeping your eye on our next doctor was easier said than done as keen chemist Jack Griffin had a knack for disappearing into thin air. During a series of routine tests, he stumbled across the secret of invisibility and, in the history of scientific breakthroughs, none appealed to me so much as a youngster as the unearthing the ability to sneak around undetected. What baffled me was the way that Griffin chose to use his special purpose as he found the idea for world domination more beneficial than staking out women’s locker rooms after a long, sweaty netball session. Paulie the Penis had the right idea in Porky’s although this cunning cock came unstuck when an incriminating mole gave him away. An invisible penis is that much harder to identify and the possibilities could have been endless should he used his power for the good of harmless voyeurism. Perhaps Griffin’s biggest blunder was deciding to wrap himself in bandages and wear prescription shades. Kind of defeats the purpose of being imperceivable right?
Speaking of which, ancient priest Imhotep was provided with some bandages of his own, although he really had no choice in the matter. His punishment for attempting to resurrect his forbidden fancy, princess Ankh-es-en-amon, was to be mummified and left to spend eternity in an Egyptian tomb. When a group of archaeologists stumbled across him and read aloud an ancient life-giving scroll – the Scroll of Thoth, Imhotep’s curse was lifted and he made his escape. First stop was Cairo as he searched for the modern reincarnation of his beloved princess and, with Ankh-es-en-amon nowhere to be found, he plumped for the next best thing. This was wretched news for Helen Grosvenor who bore a canny resemblance to the object of his affections and Imhotep decided to kill her, mummify her, reawaken her, marry her, and show her his dusty penis in that order. You can’t blame a guy for trying right?
“Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
The Wolf Man was far more congenial and Larry Talbot appeared to be pretty much your regular guy on primary introduction. After learning of his brother’s untimely death, he returned to his ancestral home in Llanwelly, Wales to rebuild bridges with his estranged father and, aside from the reconciliation, fell head over heels for local antique dealer Gwen. To break the ice, he purchased a silver-tipped walking cane from her decorated with the image of a wolf and it came in handy later that night as he used it to fend off a wolf attack on her close friend Jenny. Alas, for his act of chivalry, he received a bite on his chest which a gypsy fortune-teller revealed to be the mark of the werewolf. Worse still, his penance for saving the day was to be transformation into a suchlike growler every time the moon was full. True to form, Talbot metamorphosed into this carnivorous creature and began stalking the townsfolk nocturnally through no fault of his own. While he retained vague recollections of his extracurricular activities, there was little he could do to resist the urge for carnage once the sun began to set. I learned a valuable lesson from The Wolf Man, that being, to never trust anyone whose eyebrows meet in the middle as they will invariably be hairy on the inside which was bad news for Bert from Sesame Street.
Another person not to place your faith in is one with webbed fingers and toes and The Creature of The Black Lagoon was one such amphibious urchin. Residing deep in the Amazon, the “Gill-Man” as it was less than affectionately known, was a product of its environment and shared characteristics of both humans and swamp life. Moreover, it was incredibly territorial and took great umbrage to anybody stepping foot on its turf so, when an expedition of marine biologists invaded its privacy, it all went off in style. To be fair, they attacked first out of fear of this unknown quantity, but were no match for its superior combat skills and were left with drastically depleted numbers. Had they not been so quick to jump the gun, then they would have learned that The Creature of The Black Lagoon was as much as a lover as it was a fighter and, spotting the gorgeous Kay as she lounged around in her swim suit, love was in the air and the pitter patter of tiny webbed feet were on the horizon, albeit much to Kay’s displeasure.
With its affections unlikely to be reciprocated, it was time for drastic measures and this spelt abduction as it dragged the distressed damsel back to its cavernous lair for some decidedly fishy one-way romancing and a spot of amphibious impregnation. Swamp Thing learned from his predecessors mistakes further down the line and bagged himself a buxom belle through means far less nefarious but “Gill-Man” was never destined to woo the object of his affection through such heavy-handed endeavor and ended up riddled with bullets and sinking down to the algae with a full sack of wantaway tadpoles for his troubles prompting the question “what does a monster have to do to get laid?” in the process. Granted, Count Dracula had a way with the ladies but, other than old evil eyes, it almost always ended up in tears. That said, some women love nothing more than a challenge and are powerless to resist a muscular suitor with a chip on his shoulder, which is precisely what our next beast had.
It all started on the uncharted Skull Island as film director Carl Denham decided it was an idyllic spot to shoot his upcoming feature and ventured off with his cast and crew to make cinematic history. His leading lady was penniless blonde bombshell Ann and her flaxen locks made her an instant hit with the natives who offered to trade six of their female contingent in exchange for the “golden woman”. With no deal being struck, they took matters into their own hands and kidnapped Ann at the dead of night, before tying her to an altar as a sacrificial offering to appease legendary gargantuan gorilla Kong. The unruly ape gladly accepted their gift and it was left to Denham and his crew to track her down before any harm befell his leading lady. Unfortunately, they hadn’t banked on the dinosaurs skulking around Skull Island and soon their numbers were whittled down to a bare minimum. However, they needn’t have concerned themselves ad Kong had no intention of harming her and, when a vicious T-Rex attempted to snack on his sweetheart, the gorilla fought tooth and nail to protect her honor and eventually overcame the burly threat.
Women love nothing more than a man who is prepared to fight for their honor and, while the notion of primary penetration still brought tears to her eyes, she couldn’t help but soften a little as Kong was clearly just a big dumb ape at heart. The course of true love seldom runs smoothly and this proved to be the case as Denham picked up on Kong’s trail of destruction and promptly threw a spanner in the works. Sensing the opportunity for making a quick buck, he opted against killing his opposite number and, instead, used a gas bomb to render Kong unconscious before shackling him and shipping him back to the States for his big break on Broadway. Here he was introduced as “Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World” and it the crowd were in rapture. That was, until some douchebag forgot the no flash photography rule and all merry hell broke loose. Breaking free of his chains, Kong made a B-line for his true love Ann and gently scooped her up before making his dash through the streets of New York to find a minister and make things official.
Unfortunately, the urge to go sightseeing was all too much for a gorilla who had spent his life in the mist and a quick visit to the Empire State Building was just too tantalizing to pass up. With the military in hot pursuit, he scaled the building to its very summit and excessive firepower proved to be too much, sending him plummeting to terra firma quicker than you could say “Hans Gruber”. Once again, true love was thwarted, and he never got to engage in the proposed monkey business although I’m fairly sure that it would have been a one-time deal as Ann’s vagina was just not designed to take that kind of girth. Things were only about to get worse for the newly renamed King Kong as, somewhere in Tokyo, his nemesis was preparing to steal his thunder and, at 165 ft tall, this ancient reptilian sea creature was set to become a constant thorn in his side. There’s a fine line between love and war and, given that Kong’s personal life was no closer to bearing fruit, it was time to engage in the latter. Game on!
Godzilla had no interest whatsoever in romance and, after having his sleep disturbed by underwater hydrogen bomb testing, was feeling more than a little cranky. Despite a number of frigates being dispatches in an attempt to banish him through depth charges, the beast prevailed and made his way to shore for some good old-fashioned prehistoric payback. Emerging from Tokyo Bay with an axe to grind and thousands of commuters to soundly obliterate, Godzilla did precisely that before heading back to the depths of the ocean for some well-earned R&R. While he was napping, Japanese forces erected a 100 ft electrified fence around the coastline to the tune of around 50,000 volts but this proved to be little more than a mild obstruction as he returned for round two. Meanwhile, King Kong had gotten wind of his competitor and was preparing for the ultimate showdown in a bid for overall supremacy. Talk about rumble in the urban jungle, these two going at it hell for leather was always going to be a messy affair and so it proved as they eventually came to blows. All of this destruction could have been avoided had things panned out differently with Ann. You see, even monsters have feelings and, when their hopes are repeatedly dashed, there’s little else to do than start a full-blown riot.
For our final vintage monster, I have decided to scale things down some and focus on a far less overbearing maniac. The psycho in question is none other than timid motel clerk Norman Bates and, by all accounts, he was pretty much your average everyday schmuck. Polite and friendly, he ran his establishment to the letter of the law and always ensured there was fresh towels on hand for anyone passing through and looking to wash away all that city sludge. He was more than happy to make conversation and prepare you a sandwich on your arrival and, should things be getting off to a good start, then he had no objection to enlightening you as to his interest in ornithology. You see, Norman was quite the bird watcher and didn’t draw the line at his vast collection of feathered friends either as his sideline in taxidermy was never likely to fulfil his more carnal desires. Call it a perk of the job but Norman preferred to think of it as keeping an eye on his clientele as they have a tendency to snatch the soap bar before checking out. Thus, the shower seemed like the ideal spot to keep tabs on them.
Marion Crane had it coming if you ask me after embezzling a fortune and making off with her tainted bank notes without a thought for anyone other than herself. Of course, Norman made her more than welcome on her arrival as, what she got up to in her own time was not his concern but, the moment she reached for that loafer, she was in his jurisdiction and the voices in his head took over. The first of these was emanating from his aching loins and encouraging that he release a little of that pent-up sexual frustration as Marion was quite the sight for sore eyes and far more arousing than stuffed kestrels. However, the second was far more domineering and came courtesy of his beloved wheelchair-bound mother who was far less than pleased with the impression being made on her sweet, innocent boy. While Norman was reluctant to do as she ordered, he had been raised to be obedient and, besides, he secretly liked the way her frocks felt against his skin. Poor Marion never stood a chance but at least she died with a clean vagina.
The thing about Norman Bates that makes him such a fascinating subject to end on is that, unlike a fair number of the aforementioned, he wasn’t created by science or afflicted with a malevolent curse and, instead, it all boiled down to severe emotional abuse as a child and the bogus wiring this encouraged. Interestingly, many of the modern monsters we will be exploring in our second outing turned to the dark side as a direct result of their upbringing and Norman was something of a trendsetter here. His mother Norma may have thought that she was doing the good Christian thing by teaching him that sexual intercourse was immoral and that all women other than herself were little more than whores but she created a monster in the process and it all came back to bite her on the ass after the death of his father as she proved herself quite the hypocrite by engaging in an illicit affair herself. Overcome with jealousy, Norman poisoned both her and her lover with strychnine and forged a suicide note to relinquish himself of any blame.
While he inherited the family home and motel, the penance for his act of treachery was to be left saddled with her rotting corpse and live with the atrocities he had committed. Before too long, he had developed dissociative identity disorder and assumed her personality as a way of repressing his overwhelming feelings of guilt. She may have been dead but Norma still managed to dominate her son and bark her orders from the other side, forbidding him from so much as looking at another woman and flying off the handle whenever he dared to defy her wishes. Poor bastard never stood a chance as, even from beyond the grave, those apron strings were tied too tightly to escape from. Instead he couldn’t even spank the monkey in the confines of his own boudoir without “I know what you’re up to Norman, you filthy child” ringing out in his eardrums. Nosferatu may have been one ugly motherfucker but at least he stood a chance of sowing his wild oats thanks to an administered dose of Rohypnol. When your long-dead other lives inside your own subconscious, even date-rape becomes a no-no.
So there we have it. There may be other monsters feeling a little aggrieved not to have made the cut here but I believe most bases have been firmly covered. With the exception of Dracula and Caligari, who were pretty much bad to the bone, most of the above were driven to their treachery by a few dud life choices and developments outside of their own control. Frankenstein’s monster was grossly misunderstood and poorly manufactured, The Invisible Man just got his priorities wrong, The Mummy cannot be held in contempt for feeling a little hard-done by after being buried alive for centuries, The Wolf Man was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, there was nothing about Dr. Jekyll that couldn’t have been cured with a stint in rehab, Nosferatu was fine until Mrs. Stoker got involved, The Creature of The Black Lagoon attempted to hold out the Olive branch but was set upon before it got to the handshake, King Kong was exploited for the purpose of man’s greed and cock-blocked continuously by the armed forces, Godzilla was enjoying a deep sleep when the Japanese sent the missiles sub-aqua, and Norman Bates simply grew tired of massaging his mother’s bunions. If you ask me, mankind has nobody else to blame than itself.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2016
Beasts in the Cellar
With so many iconic monsters being placed under the microscope, it seems only right that they be provided with a closing gallery to celebrate them a little further. Moreover, any others who failed to make an appearance are more than welcome to have their snapshots taken as the more the merrier if you ask me. It’s hard picking a favorite from such an enigmatic bunch as they all deserve recognition for their services to horror and, without them, we would never have made it to the point we’re at now. Where would be without a few monsters lurking in our closets with intent? I’m not sure Kong and Godzilla would fit mind.