Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Last night JC and AB came over to watch the MST3K version of 1959's Attack of the Giant Leeches. Given that title and the name 'Roger Corman', you can pretty much work out for yourselves what it entailed. Yep, you guessed it; extras in ornamented garbage bags menacing dimwitted actors for eighty minutes. Still, plenty of laughs for a trio of 21st century kitsch-addicts with too much time on their hands.

Afficianados of this form of cinema (known in the industry as 'crap') will probably have noticed that there were only three basic title forms for this genre in the 1950s and 60s:

1) Noun of the Adjective Noun

2) Noun of the Noun Noun

3) Noun from Adjective Noun

Number 1 covers Revenge of the Astro Zombies, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Night of the Living Dead, Attack of the 50ft Woman, and so on. Each part of the title was important. The producers suspected that no one would want to see Toothbrushes of the Living Dead, Attack of the Magnanimous Leeches, or Revenge of the Astro Squirrels.

As it turns out, I for one would pay good money to see Revenge of the Astro Squirrels, but then I probably represent a baised focus sample.

Number 2 covers Track of the Moon Beast, Night of the Blood Monster, and too many more to mention. It's worth noting that in a Noun of the Noun Noun title, the actual order of the nouns is largely irrelevant. Night of the Blood Monster was not going to attract an appreciably larger audience than Blood of the Night Monster, Monster of the Blood Night or Night of the Monster Blood. The nouns themselves, however, are important. Go into the cinema and swap Track of the Moon Beast with Adventures of the Cupcake Elves or Land of the Rainbow Puppies and you'd be likely to have a riot on your hands.

Number 3 covers Creature from the Black Lagoon, Terror from Green Hell, Teenagers from Outer Space and Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The first noun is always something scary and evil (Beasts, Terrors, Teenagers, Donatella Versace, etc). The third noun provides a distant, dangerous location (a lagoon, Hell, space, an Ikea store on a Saturday morning, etc). The second noun is the most subtle, as it adds that extra frisson of fear. It's not just any lagoon; it's the BLACK lagoon! The teenagers aren't just from space; they're from OUTER space! Donatella Versace isn't just at an Ikea store; she's at YOUR Ikea store! RIGHT NOW! AND SHE'S BROUGHT A FRIEND!

;oaib mjipjbftbhip dlf

Sorry, I momentarily passed out with fear onto the keyboard. Some things are just too terrifying to contemplate.


Blogger LindyK said...

You know, I'd never broken down vintage horror movie titles, but your patented formulas are right on -- no wonder the titles all start to kind of meld together...

Oh, and thanks for the nightmares that picture will inevitably bring me... the horror, the horror!

1:30 PM  

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