Creature Features

Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies


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About the Book

This work offers a critical, colorful and informative examination of different types of monster movies, spanning the silent period to today. Chapter One focuses on dragons, dinosaurs, and other scaly giants from films like 1953’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, an impressive stop-motion production that ushered in a new era of atomic-spawned monster films. Chapter Two examines “big bug” flicks, beginning with 1954’s giant ant–infested Them! Chapter Three focuses on ordinary animals grown to improbable proportions through scientific or sinister experimentation, such as the huge octopus in 1955’s It Came from Beneath the Sea. Chapters Four, Five, and Six look at films in which nature goes berserk, and otherwise innocuous animals flock, swarm, hop or run about on a menacingly massive scale, including 1963’s The Birds and 1972’s Frogs. Finally, Chapter Seven focuses on films featuring beasts that defy easy definition, such as 1958’s The Blob and Fiend Without a Face.

About the Author(s)

William Schoell is the author of numerous books about the performing arts and pop culture, and the writer of the blog Great Old Movies. He lives in New York.

Bibliographic Details

William Schoell
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 214
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [2008]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9562-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1072-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1

1. Here There Be Dragons      5
2. Into the Ant Hole      43
3. Humongous      69
4. Nature Turned Nasty Part One—Birds, Bugs, and Bats      115
5. Nature Turned Nasty Part Two—Fish Stories      135
6. Nature Turned Nasty Part Three—Day of the Animals      149
7. The Indefinable: Blobs, Things, and Other Oddities      167

Filmography      195
Bibliography      201
Index      203

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “a critical, informative review”—ARBA
  • “an excellent resource…. If you’re in the mood for a good giant bug movie or dinosaur flick and you want to dive into the films of the 50’s and 60’s, Creature Features will help direct you to the right place while educating you about the genre players. It’s a fun book about a fun subject. What else do you need?”—Toxic Graveyard
  • “a must-read…Schoell knows his stuff…Schoell has done a superb job in offering a fresh slant on a genre we thought we knew everything about”—Monster Memories