-- Dr. David Reed (as played by Richard Carlson)
I often try to explain that because SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror are such mixed bags -- there are dozens and dozens of subgenres within each broader type -- that it's difficult to name but a few. But in my past I was pressed very hard to come up with those that I can recall vividly seeing on the TV screen of my youngest days. So, yeah, I kinda/sorta racked my brain a bit on one occasion, and I can come up with the top three. Now, these three pictures I don't mean to be essential viewing necessarily; all I mean with them is that these are definitely three pictures I can still remember watching when I was very, very young -- but a wee sprite -- and falling in love with at that time. None of them did I see theatrically -- nor have I yet, though I keep encouraging local theaters to bring them back in limited engagements -- but I do hold out hope that I'll get to them up in the lights at some point.
But ... I digress ...
These three films are:
First, 1951's The Day The Earth Stood Still. It's a rare gem that I think is a relevant a Science Fiction film that's ever been done. I think it's stood the test of time and deserves to be rediscovered with each generation of viewers. Though I don't exactly 'hate' the 2008 remake like so many do -- I think it's a misunderstood flick, honestly -- I'll always argue to watch the original over any newfangled imitator. It's just that good.
Second, 1967's Quatermass And The Pit. This was a film I saw very, very, very late at night -- it was on some local channel overnight movie slot -- and I do remember being so very much drawn to it. I'll admit that I was so young that there were a few parts of it I didn't quite understand at the time -- I asked my father a helluva lot of questions about the ending, and he probably got annoyed with my talking about it so much -- but to this day I can recall first being captivated by it. I've got it on DVD, and I probably watch it once a year.
1954's Creature From The Black Lagoon.
While I did watch Universal Pictures' Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), and The Wolf Man (1941) and loved them, too, they didn't quite register with me as much as Creature did. While I couldn't say why specifically, I've always felt it was because Creature didn't quite have a spectacular backstory they did. There were no 'transformation' sequences of any kind -- from ordinary to extraordinary -- so I always took it at face value that this was who he always was, the only form he'd ever truly known in existence. And what a frightening visage he was! Gills and all, Creature was kinda/sorta plucked out of one's nightmare ... and he was gifted with this look that automatically set folks back if not running away. He truly had no choice in his life, had no say in his creation, and I always saw him as forced into this villainous mode by absolutely no fault of his own.
So it was this framework that always reminded me to be a bit more respectfully of things that go bump in the night mostly because they very likely had nothing to do with their own making. Not all monsters are bad ... some are just born looking bad and have to adopt such ways as a consequence of merely being born. Such was the Creature, and I learned to appreciate monsters in an all-new way as a young'un.
Here's the plot summary as provided by our friends at IMDB.com:
"A strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study."