I would bet that the first monster movie I ever saw was actually Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. My family and I used to watch all their comedies on Sunday mornings when I was a child growing up in New York in the 1970's. That movie started a bit of a revival for the great comedy duo whose career turned a bit stagnant after they had conquered vaudeville, radio, and then the big screen. (They ended their run on TV, of all places. Their hilarious and innovative sitcom proved highly influential on Seinfeld, by the way.) Abbott and Costello eventually battled the Mummy, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, and monster legend Boris Karloff, billed simply as "The Killer." I watched all those movies religiously. As a child, their motion pictures were my church and theatre. Their chemistry and timing remain unmatched, in my humble opinion. Or at least set the standard for all comedy teams that followed.
A long line of favorite monster movies followed, including the original Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, and Mummy films, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Blob, Godzilla (the Shōwa series), Night of the Living Dead (and Dawn of the Dead), Jaws, Alien (the entire series), The Thing (John Carpenter's version), The Fly (with Jeff Goldblum), Hellraiser, Jurassic Park, King Kong (the Peter Jackson film), The Mist, Super 8, and if I were to include slasher films (and we all know that people are always the worst kind of monsters), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th (from Part 2 on), and A Nightmare on Elm Street. (If I've forgotten any, please shoot me an email - and I'm talking to my little brother here.)
Except for possibly Super 8, none of them prepared me for how much fun I would have this weekend watching the brand new Godzilla film at the theatre with my family. This movie, directed by novice Gareth Edwards, gives true fans of the monster movie everything you expect and remains completely loyal to the Godzilla franchise, much more so than that 1998 piece of shit directed by Roland Emmerich and starring, of all assholes, Matthew Broderick. Why the hell put Ferris Bueller, one of the biggest heroes of my teenage years, in a Creature Feature? Is there any logic in that at all? So fucking stupid.
When Godzilla roared for the first time, I felt a chill run through my bones. Then, my little girl snapped me out of that brief moment of terror by joyfully declaring, "He's so cute!" Exactly what you want to hear when Godzilla wreaks havoc. Who doesn't love a good monster, after all? Probably why I always root for the heels in professional wrestling. The faces always get away with cheating. The greatest moment of Godzilla for me (SPOILER ALERT) was when Godzilla's spine electrified and he shot his atomic breath at the M.U.T.O. I jumped from my chair and pumped my fist. You'd think I was watching the Jets finally win the Super Bowl again. (And maybe this is as close as I'll ever get!)
The next day, I spent most of the afternoon researching the Godzilla franchise. I was pleased to know that the monster traces his roots to a little known short story by Ray Bradbury. It's called "The Foghorn," and they turned that into the 1953 film, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The element of science fiction is what really sets apart the best of the monster movies, in my opinion. I also rediscovered the son of Godzilla and introduced him to my daughter. She loves him. He's even more adorable than his dad, apparently. If you're looking for some parenting tips, this clip might help you: "Godzilla as Father Figure." Otherwise, just find the old film on Netflix.