Return of the Son of Terrible Movies Promo Blowout! [Pt. 1]

In the beginning there was The World's Most Terrible Movies...

If you lived in Anchorage, Alaska and its environs in the 1970s and liked to stay up super late on Saturday nights, then you might remember the above clip. You also may well remember The World's Most Terrible Movies (and its spinoff, Son of Terrible Movies) which ran late nights on weekends on Anchorage, Alaska's ABC affiliate, KIMO-TV (Channel 13) in the 1970s.

The clip above is one of the opening segments used for the show, which ran older horror and sci-fi films, including many Hammer horror classics and Ray Harryhausen adventures, when I was a teenager. While I had many influences in my youth, The World's Most Terrible Movies is probably the #1 reason I became a fan of fantastic films of all types. [To learn more about the show and how I obtained these clips, click here.]

My interest in fantastic films was already apparent when I was relatively young, but seeing those Hammer and Harryhausen flicks on Saturday evenings blew it up huge for me. The World's Most Terrible Movies is where I met Christopher Lee's Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and Fu Manchu, where I first watch cowboys attempt to snare Gwangi in their lassoes, where I saw Sinbad and Jason fight animated skeletons, and where I learned who Peter Cushing, Barbara Steele, and Paul Naschy were. Most importantly, it's also where I fell head over heels for Raquel Welch in a fur bikini.

I guess we all have those moments in our youth where the mind expands after we have discovered something that perhaps we probably shouldn't have. For some people, that might be drugs, alcohol, or adolescent sexual stirrings that get taken farther than they should at the time. And for some of us, we find the cinema of the bizarre, of cult directors, under-appreciated actors, and twisted genres. I think we are the smarter and luckier group.

Vampires, giant monsters, wolfmen, robots, go-go girls, mad scientists... they act interchangeably as our priests and our demons. Movies move far beyond a mere entertainment for our kind. We recognize early on that, when the rest of the world denies us, the movie theatre is where we can go to submerse ourselves in other worlds for comfort. (But not guidance... no, that is probably not the wisest thing.) And once we have walked through those doors, we can't go back. The mind changes immeasurably. Things cannot be unseen. Or as Pauline Kael put it, "I lost it at the movies."

More than anything, movie showcases like The World's Most Terrible Movies held open those doors for me. And I have never gone back, nor have I tried. And through horrid jobs, a bad first marriage, moves across the country, and frustration at nearly every turn in my life (like all of us have), I know that I can make the pain go away by the simple push of a button or the purchase of a ticket. And when I hear the sounds of the opening fanfare that announce the film is starting, I might just as well be back in my living room in the pitch darkness at age 12, covering every inch of my body with a giant blanket except a small slit in front of my eyes through which I can watch the television screen, waiting for The World's Most Terrible Movies to begin.

To be continued later this month...


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