John Landis Monsters in the Movies Book
Monsters in the Movies is a scary new title by legendary filmmaker John Landis, just out in time for Halloween and featuring 100 years of cinematic nightmares. Since everyone wants to watch a scary movie on Halloween, DK has decided to help out New Yorkers looking for a thrill. We’ve roundup 13 lucky movies featured in Monster in the Movies- everything from B-movie bogeymen and outer space oddities to big-budget terrors, which all occurred right here in New York.
John shared, “My favorite New York-based monster movie is the original King Kong (1933) which captures the energy and excitement of Broadway in the thirties and then unleashes a giant ape into the streets of Manhattan.”
Horror in The City
- C.H.U.D.: Homeless people who live in the sewers are exposed to toxic nuclear waste and become “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers” in this nifty B picture.
- The Sentinel: John Carradine as Father Halloran, a blind priest who sits in the window of a Brooklyn brownstone that turns out to be the gateway to hell.
- King Kong: In King Kong theatrical showman Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) has captured the giant ape, brought him to Manhattan, and billed him as “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” The opening-night audience thrills with anticipation waiting for the curtain to rise on what promised to be the Broadway sensation of the decade. Two women wonder what Mr. Denham has in store for them this time. One remarks that she heard it was “some kind of gorilla.” As two men climb over them on their way to their seats, the other woman replies, “Ain’t we got enough of them in New York already?”
- Cloverfield: New York City is invaded by really huge monsters and we watch the whole thing through the video camera of one of the young people who we do not care about who are trying to escape. The special effects are first-rate.
- Rosemary’s Baby: From the bestselling novel by Ira Levin. With an exceptionally fine cast, Polanski does full justice to Ira Levin’s sly commentary on actors, motherhood and apartment dwelling.
- Planet of the Apes: Based on the book by Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes  featured innovative, Academy Award-winning make-ups by John Chambers and a forceful performance by Charlton Heston as the stranded astronaut Taylor. The film spawned four sequels, two television series, and a remake in 2011. The screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, and the ambitious art direction by William J. Creber and Jack Martin Smith, combined with Leon Shamroy’s old-school camera work, make the first Planet of the Apes a milestone in movie science fiction.
- The Hunger: Catherine Denevue is Miriam Blaylock and David Bowie is John, her lover. Blaylock is an immortal vampire, but John has begun to decompose. Bowie aging and dying while sitting in a waiting room is a beautiful and moving sequence. Based on Whitley Strieber’s 1981 novel. Dick Smith is called the godfather of special effects make-ups.
- Cat People: Cat People centers around a beautiful woman (Simone Simon) descended from an ancient European race. When her passions (jealousy and lust) are aroused, she turns into a murderous black panther!
- The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms: Ray’s Beast From 20,000 Fathoms was the first of the many monsters unleashed by the atomic bomb. Based on the Ray Bradbury short story, “The Fog Horn,” in which a lonely, prehistoric beast rises from the sea mistaking a lighthouse foghorn for a mating call, the enormous success of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms provided the incentive for Toho Studios in Tokyo to produce their own gigantic beast-rising-from0the-sea-movie, Godzilla, in 1954.
- I Am Legend: The third movie made based on Richard Matheson’s outstanding novel ‘I Am Legend.’ There is some terrific stuff in this film and Will Smith gives a strong performance. The realization of a Manhattan empty of people is very well done.
- Ghostbusters / Ghostbusters II: The sequal to Reitman’s blockbuster comedy Ghostbusters. Co-scripter Dan Aykroyd (with Harold Ramis) originally conceived the premise as a vehicle for himself and close friend John Belushi. Both movies have rousing scores by Elmer Bernstein and Randy Edelman.
- Maniac: Tom Savini is noted for his gory make-ups in Maniac
- GREMLINS II – THE NEW BATCH: Gremlins is a wonderful mix of the sweet and the sinister. Christopher Lee as Dr. Catheter has something unpleasant on the end of his arm once the gremlins go out of control in Joe Dante’s live action cartoon sequel to his own Gremlins.
What’s your favorite scary movie? Did it make the list?