A Different Type of Haunting [A Prologue to The Monster's on the Loose!!! #2]

Before we move on to the second installment of The Monster's on the Loose!!!, a bit of a prologue is slightly necessary.

When I started The Cinema 4 Pylon eleven years ago, it was meant, as it is now, as a collected notebook of my ongoing writing adventures. Whatever topic upon which I chose to discourse, no matter how wide a net I cast, whether fiction or non-fiction, the resulting articles or stories would be found here. Naturally, given my inclination towards monster, science fiction, and horror films, the bulk of materials found on this site relate to those subjects. And that was pretty much decided straight from the outset, when my very first extended postings (beyond the simple introduction in 2005 that still serves as the inaugural activity on the Pylon) were a five-part rant about the "Film that Changed My Life".

The five-part rant, in fact, was just that, simply a rambling rant, set off by what I perceived at the time as a never-ending (and completely unconnected) series of celebrity interviews where the hallowed set talk about a particular film or director that "changed their life". I cast suspicion upon such statements as perverse cinematic armchair quarterbacking, thrown in my face by people so carelessly content with their careers and fattened backends that they can so specifically to pinpoint a specific moment when it "all came together for them". Or maybe I was just unflinchingly jealous of their success. It was most likely the latter, because I am, at heart, a most jealous asshole. 

The other main detail I found in these celebrity profundities was based around the further notion that the film they invariably chose would be a bona fide classic like The Wizard of Oz or The Godfather or All About Eve. There is, of course, nothing wrong with such a notion -- favorite films of mine, all three -- but the influence was always seen as a happy moment that served to inspire the celeb into action on their parts or to solidify their internal feelings (always positive) towards the movies, and thereby using that moment of inspiration to project themselves towards their eventual careers in the industry. 

My sideways response was to choose a film which pissed me off in my youth, which left me feeling that my time and attention had been ripped off by an inferior product, and which taught me a lesson regarding cheapened expectations from a generally uncaring industry. I decided to serve up my own particular brand of cheekiness by subverting such pretentious mumblings from these privileged ones by choosing my own lowbrow, horrid choice for such an inspiring film, if only to solidify my notion that my life has been essentially, in the words of Woody Allen, "a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." That film, seen when I was but a lad of twelve years old, was a 1956 Universal Studios jungle/"monster" potboiler titled Curucu, Beast of the Amazon.

And the results were... middling, at best. 

Though I left the five-part article up on the site for a decade, I never liked it. I was never content with the finished product. The article did serve to set up my general intentions of focus for The Cinema 4 Pylon, but my point was muddled and the basic premise was not thought through as fully as I would have wished. For years, the article tormented me, and I reminded myself time and again over a full decade that someday I was going to do a rewrite of the entire debacle.

It is only recently, in doing a full edit and cleanup of the entire site in preparation for recommitment to my original focus, that I pulled down all five parts of the article. There is much that I have published on The Cinema 4 Pylon where I wish that I had given the piece an extra edit, or taken a few more minutes (or even days) with the words before foisting them upon an unsuspecting public, however small that may be. (I prefer the term, "hand-picked".) But nothing on my site has haunted me as much as that initial foray into online genre film analysis and celebrity satire.

So, with the original piece (all five portions) tucked away for good, and with a new feature started on the Pylon recently titled The Monster's on the Loose!!! (named after a song that I wrote, and that my brothers and I used to sing when we were but wee lads), the time has come to write anew about Curucu, Beast of the Amazon. A monster picture that really isn't, that continues to disappointment me even into middle age -- now mostly because it is hard to find a decent copy, let alone finding a station that will air it -- but did indeed have undue influence upon me at a most impressionable time. Whether it comes out any better than my initial attempt will be up to me to decide.

RTJ

[To be continued in The Monster's on the Loose!!! #2: Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956)...]

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