The Daves would like to wish our fellow American monster fans a very Happy Thanksgiving while also giving them the bird! No, not just any bird, mind you, but a “battleship” sized fowl from another dimension! I’m referring, of course, to the 1957 quintessential “turkey,” The Giant Claw. This film’s not only achieved cult status for all the wrong reasons but has since gone on to become something of a Thanksgiving movie tradition (for fun people who hate football). In fact, about seven years ago I included it as part of my list of Thanksgiving-related genre films. I remember at the time wondering if I wasn’t reaching a bit by having it on there but those doubts were all erased last July during a “Hollywood Kaiju Strikes Back” panel at G-FEST XXIV. Although the Godzilla Festival revolves around Japanese monsters, Martin Arlt and Archie Waugh gave an entire hour to some of their American contemporaries. This included such atomic menaces as The Deadly Mantis and The Beginning of the End while saving the best of the worst for last. Our moderators introduced the film by informing is it was their Thanksgiving movie tradition. So I not only walked away feeling validated regarding my list, but also with enough tidbits to offer YOU this special Turkey Day blog. And if that isn’t a reason to feel thankful, then we just don’t know what is!
I admit that my love of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind inspired this year’s summer road trip. The Devil’s Tower National Monument in Wyoming had played a pivotal role in the film and, after touring all the great UFO hot-spots in the Southwest last year with the other Dave, seemed like the next logical place to go. This amazing geologic feature is considered sacred to Native Americans and is also this country’s very first National Monument with no short thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt. Despite its history, I don’t think I’m alone when I site Close Encounters as my first introduction to it.
I was seven years old back when the film was released and, at that time, much more enthralled with another 1977 blockbuster, STAR WARS. My only connection to the film was via a “bendy” alien figure my Grandma bought me (Grandma always understood my interests better than my idiot parents did).
I know I speak for many of my fellow horror fans when I say how saddened we Daves were at the news regarding George Romero’s passing. I had the honor of meeting him twice; once in Indianapolis in 2010 and then the following year with the other Dave in Massachusetts. When the news broke, I wrote on our Facebook page how he was one of the most fan-friendly celebrities you could ever meet; spending as much time as he could with you despite the prodding of his handlers. Romero had been scheduled to attend the convention we’ve been in the midst of covering, Days of the Dead Indianapolis, but his declining health forced his cancellation. The “godfather of zombies” had been slated to do a Q&A panel that Saturday afternoon and many of us wondered how DOTD planned on filling the space. It wasn’t until that morning when we learned there would, indeed, be another panel and that it would feature Romero’s dear friend and Night of the Living Dead co-writer, John A. Russo. The following dialogue is based off the audio recordings taken during that hour…
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome guest writer, Mark Spangler, and his nod to a screen legend we horror fans may have overlooked.
We’ve come to know our horror screen legends as one of the family. Not that you’d want Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein’s monster or Pumpkinhead as frequent dinner guests (imagine the mess), but there’s something safe and comforting in the familiar, especially for fans of the horror genre. This is why picking the right actor for the right role is so crucial in the world of celluloid monsters – and why unusual moves in this department often misfire.