|This message was first posted on the AOL Classic Horror Film Boards in October 1995. It beautifully expresses the spirit of that generation infected by the monster craze of the '60s and '70s. It established the now-common term "Monster Kids"from which this webzine gets its name.|
The Monster Kids
These fragile remembrances of monsters past evoke a feeling that all of us here are somehow refugees from different corners of the same theater.
How many of us in the last few years have shared similar tales of discovering our first childhood chillers -- the neighborhoods or names changed, but the evocative messages of autumn and late summer nights so much the same.
We share in purest essence a collective and sweet memory of something very special. Whether it's Chiller Theater or a younger brother refusing to turn the channel to watch KING KONG, a stationery store with only one remaining copy of Famous Monsters, the sheer excitement of the MYSTERIANS ads on Channel 9 when Godzilla was still only a movie old, or the laugh of Zacherley interrupting Atwill's crazed one-armed lecture, somehow we were all in the same place at the same time, with the same ability to call it all up like THAT! As if yesterday really was the day before today, not tens and twenties of years now gone.
Baseball fans at the same game or cheering for the same hero can all recall the same home run. The smells and the colors of the 60s and 70s run through many of us still. I imagine the grim urgency of big bands and World War II hold the same power over our parents, and that MTV, the Muppets and Nintendo will rustle the same collective tugs in our children.
But the monster kids -- that's us, the monster kids, young and old -- seem somehow special. Take a walk through these boards and hear what we've all said about why we're here and why we stay and why, decades now later, the sight of John Carradine still means something incredibly special, something that makes people wonder what we're talking about when, on AMC during a showing of STAGECOACH, we point and say knowingly, "That's John Carradine."
We understand somehow because we are all parts of the same shared visual. We all hail from the same place, sitting cross-legged on the same sofa with the same Sylvania or Emerson or RCA black-and-white TV flickering with the Universal Globe or the RKO Radio tower or even the Twilight Zone signposts there up ahead. Somehow we're all from the same family, all rushing home from the same school down the same cracked sidewalks, kicking the same leaves on the same November afternoon to catch the same Shock Theater movie on the same night. And with Bela Lugosi, too!
It's always chiller night for us -- for us the monster kids. The older the films get, the more distant the players and the more obscure the sources, somehow the younger we become. Edward van Sloan is old. Not us. Not the monster kids. Lon Chaney is gone. Not us. Not the monster kids.
Even decades gone by, we're still kicking leaves in a swirl, waiting for the commercial to end, the parents to go to sleep and the castle to loom through the fog. The same fog we've been trying to see through for all these years, before digital magic made everything too easy to believe.
Because the best horror movies are the hardest to see, after all. It's what keeps the monster kids squinting through the mist, somehow in this world of death and awkward and weird, sharing together what it was like to be ... young.
When we were the monster kids.