Monsters I Have Known and Loved

My Real Memoir

The seed was planted when I was five years old. I’d enjoyed the poolside home of Mommandad’s old friends. They were childless and I was an only, so I played alone, shouting frequent, “Mom, Dad, look at me!s.” But after grilling, they broke out the card table and exported me to a loveseat in a tiny den far away, with a rabbit-eared TV as my only companion.

The moment they left, Dracula flapped into view. I became instantly obsessed. And terrified. Two states of mind that are oddly intertwined. Behind the TV was a sliding glass door, and beyond that pitch darkness—Count Dracula’s favorite setting. I built up a Hoover-Dam-full of pee, yet dared not budge, knowing the moment I did the Count would fly into the room and “sahk my blahd!”

It was my first scary movie, but not my last. I developed an abiding love for the classics (Wolf Man, The Mummy, Frankenstein and his inexplicably sexy Bride), and cried when they whipped The Hunchback (“Why was I not made of stone like thee?”).

All the great monsters, it seemed, were misunderstood, not really monsters, just as my earliest friends were. Aaaaand the really scary ones disappeared when the sun came up, or when you turned off the TV. Real terror was one thing. But pretend terror?

I couldn’t get enough!

Plus, monsters were one of the few interests Dad and I shared. The first time I watched King Kong, Dad told me about stop-motion animation and I became a lifelong fan, even making a few stop-motion home movies. After seeing Jason and the Argonauts, Dad and I talked for days about the “skeleton army.” I may have gotten my creativity and bookaholic genes from Mom, but Dad gave me my sci-fi gene!

I drew caricatures of my friends as monsters, while watching “from” movies on TV, like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Invaders from Mars, or “versus” movies like Godzilla vs. EveryOtherMonsterEver!

Then, Aurora Plastics began advertising their Universal Monster models in Mad Magazine (which I read religiously), and Rory and I decided to build them all! My masterpiece was an artfully dirtied actual gauze-wrapped Mummy!

But then, against Mom’s wishes, Dad bought me a three-foot-tall King Kong model. I obsessed over him for weeks, gluing clumps of real fake hair onto him until he looked impossibly lifelike! Finishing after bedtime, I put him in the kitchen where Mommandad would see him first thing in the morning.

Around 2 a.m. a blood-curdling scream filled the house. Dad and I jumped from our beds and ran into the kitchen to find Mom backed up against the refrigerator, pointing in horror at the moonlit behemoth next to her sink. Cool! My monster had made a real human lady scream! Still, I did feel sorta bad.

After Mom calmed down, the three of us laughed…and laughed…and that…

Was the best special effect ever!

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Monsters I Have Known and Loved

  1. gwengrant says:

    I fell in love with King Kong in a cinema watching the film. We all did and we were all convinced he was sadly misunderstood. Tears from me when he died!
    Gwen.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. ejstoo says:

    Interesting genre. I liked Anne Rice and her characters. watched some of the old Vampire Movies. Dark Shadows…The Mummy movies that Brendan Fraser was in. I think the old movies did it best…used lighting and music and stuff…but no real blood shed visible.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I would have reacted the same way as your mother, encountering King Kong in the kitchen at 2:00 a.m! Good thing you WERE an only child. What if you’d had a brother to help cook up and execute mischief?! I hate to think . . .

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I remember raising the household in the middle of the night when I turned on a kitchen light and a mouse scurried by. Unfortunately we could not laugh about it until we were able to seal off the mouse entrance.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I love the King Kong bit! You certainly were a little dickens!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. capost2k says:

    Now all you need is a 3-D printer! And let the fun begin!! 😲

    Liked by 5 people

  7. gregoryjoel says:

    We would go to church on Sunday morning, Wyatts Cafeteria, for Sunday lunch, and go home to let Dad rest from his second job the night before. It gave me the opportunity to watch Channel 11’s Sunday Afternoon Horror movies. I, too was fascinated with the original black and white Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman. Unfortunately for my parents, they tended to give me nightmares and each Sunday night I stood by my parents bed until they let me crawl in between them. I’m pretty sure Dad went two nights in a row without sleep!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Kenstien. Dr. Dickenstien. Notzilla and his dad. Such talent!

    I used to live with monsters. Barely made it out alive. No more monsters for me, thank you very much. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Lance Dean says:

    Such nostalgic feelings about monsters. I have always loved these movies!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Nancy Richy says:

    Haven’t we all? I’ve even loved a few you never heard of lol!! 🤣

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Grant at Tame Your Book! says:

    I can relate, Mitch! My wife created a plaque, proudly displayed next to our family photos: “Dr. Fergustein.”

    Liked by 3 people

  12. gpavants says:

    Mitch,

    Fun and scary stuff. I guess I enjoyed these monsters too. Not gorey but scary.

    Thanks, Gary

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Damyanti Biswas says:

    Love this 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. In recent years have you seen any of the old monster movies? I wonder how they hold up.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anna Joy says:

    Haha, your poor mom 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Aw, what great memories, Mitch. ❤ I'm so glad your mom was a good sport and able to laugh with you and your dad. I don't remember watching a lot of the original monster movies, but I do remember watching "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," which was scary enough for me. Later it was Mel Brooks's "Young Frankenstein." I liked being fake-scared, but I guess I enjoyed laughing more. Sounds like you had plenty of both.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. murisopsis says:

    You are very lucky! My mother was a woman of action and would have taken a pre-emptive swing with the wooden potato masher! Still I’m surprised there were no repercussions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      ;>) I honestly thought they’d seen it in the morning light and be impressed with my artistry! (Who knew Mom would get up for a glass of water at 2 in the morning?)

      Like

  18. Tony Briley says:

    That’s awesome you had the gorilla, though momentarily too bad for mom. Great story and made me think of one my friend had circa early 70’s. Thanks for bringing back the awesome memories I have of us destroying everything in Kong’s path.

    Liked by 1 person

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