Day 12 & 13: Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) & Destroy All Monsters (1968)
I passed on all the Godzilla movies that were part of Monster Awareness Month because I’d already had my fill of them when I did my Godzilla movie marathon for Innsmouth Free Press, and found that they didn’t hold up well to my memories of youthful nostalgia. I didn’t actually watch Destroy All Monsters for that, either, though I saw it when I was a kid and thought it was awesome then. Who knows what it would be like now?
Day 14: The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
Because of the vagaries of fate, I actually watched this one after Gargoyles (below), so this was technically the last of the movies for Monster Awareness Month that I hadn’t already seen. It’s a Ray Harryhausen movie about cowboys fighting dinosaurs. That probably tells you everything you need to know about whether you’ll like it or how much. For me, it wasn’t Harryhausen’s best or his worst, but there was lots to like. I think my favorite part was that Gwangi was purple. There need to be more purple dinosaurs.
Day 15: Gargoyles (1972)
What would have been a pretty good Star Trek episode is, instead, a pretty awful movie. I’m a sucker for weird roadside attractions and people finding bones of monsters, but beyond that about the only good thing I can say here is that the suits (which represent some of the first work of monster legend Stan Winston) are much better than you’d expect. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is the usual long shots of people driving around in obviously non-moving cars or climbing on rocks, and pretty much all the action takes place in a cave in the desert. So all the stuff you could expect in an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, except without the wisecracking robots.
Day 16: Jaws (1975)
In honor of Monster Awareness Month, I finally got my wife and roommate to watch Jaws for the first time. They were both suitably impressed. The end.
Day 17: Alien (1979)
We are at this point (sort of at the point where we got to Jaws, actually) into a stretch of movies that really need no introduction, and there’s nothing I can say about them that everybody doesn’t already know. The Alien franchise was one of my earliest fandoms, and I used to love the movies and watch them all to death, but I’m also one of those people who thinks that Aliens is the superior installment, so…
Day 18: The Thing (1982)
Picking a favorite movie from off the Monster Awareness Month viewing slate would be hard. There’s Hellboy, after all, and there’s King Kong. But if I did have to pick one, and it wasn’t one of those two, then it would be this one, hands down. I think everything about this movie is brilliant, and I think that the titular monster is one of the best of all time. In a world where this movie exists, I don’t know why we ever have debates about the potential viability of remakes.