RotVI’m not one of those turn-back-the-clock advocates... I don’t think progress is bad or technology evil.  I like that women can vote and smoke and cuss in public, I think "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" deserved its Academy Award® and for the record I think Ebonics got a bad rap.  But I say this… some standards need to be upheld.  So let’s bring back monsters in pants.  " /> RotVI’m not one of those turn-back-the-clock advocates... I don’t think progress is bad or technology evil.  I like that women can vote and smoke and cuss in public, I think "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" deserved its Academy Award® and for the record I think Ebonics got a bad rap.  But I say this… some standards need to be upheld.  So let’s bring back monsters in pants.  " /> RotVI’m not one of those turn-back-the-clock advocates... I don’t think progress is bad or technology evil.  I like that women can vote and smoke and cuss in public, I think "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" deserved its Academy Award® and for the record I think Ebonics got a bad rap.  But I say this… some standards need to be upheld.  So let’s bring back monsters in pants.  " />

Monsters in pants

HSDAs a freelance writer and a stay-at-home dad, I can’t say I’ve done my share for fashion lately, not by a long shot.  As a resident of North Hollywood, which (like all of the San Fernando Valley) seems 10-15 degrees hotter than sunny Los Angeles at its warmest, you’ll find me most days in cargo shorts and an untucked shirt spotted with pureed carrots and last ironed back when gas was under $2 a gallon.  Still, I came of age during the Brylcreamed Camelot era and was bounced on the knees of straight-arrow men with pressed trousers, narrow lapels and razor ties.  I look at those old snapshots a lot and one thing that never fails to impress me is that no one seemed to take a bad picture forty years ago.  Why?  They knew how to dress.  They had style.

Things changed, of course; things always do, and I’m not knocking change.  But the relaxation of standards has had a disastrous effect in at least one regard—the monster movie.  From The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on, monsters and madmen have just gotten sloppier and sloppier, as if the horror is directly proportional to the villain’s disregard of personal hygiene.  Hannibal Lector notwithstanding, the threads of movie monsters these days are pretty sad, when the beasts even bother to wear clothes. It has a lot to do with the pants, I think.

ROTFBack when monsters wore pants, the scares were better.  Lon Chaney, Jr. in The Wolf Man, Robert Clarke in The Hideous Sun Demon, Brett Halsey in The Return of the Fly, Bruce Bennett in The Alligator People… The juxtaposition of cuffed and pleated gabardine slacks with a glistening, fang-filled maw created a creepy cocktail not soon forgotten.  Monsters in pants reminded us of our Dads, who could be alternately awesome or awful, funny or fearsome.  Maybe Dracula and Frankenstein never lost their archetypal edge because they both wore suits and seemed like authority figures gone horribly wrong.  When monsters stopped dressing up, we lost something.  Look at The Werewolf of London– the first time he went lupine, Henry Hull was wearing a dressing gown and a celluloid collar.  Well… they had designers then.

Dad and meI’m not one of those turn-back-the-clock guys, I don’t live in the past.  I don’t think progress is bad or technology evil.  I like that women can vote and smoke and cuss in public, I think “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” deserved its Academy Award® and for the record I think Ebonics got a bad rap.  But I say this… some standards need to be upheld.  So let’s bring back monsters in pants.  Nightmares were just plain better when they were around.  And didn’t everybody look great?

16 Responses Monsters in pants
Posted By mindelynn : November 21, 2006 9:39 am

Monsters in pants – could be a movie in itself.I think besides the fact that the monster were well-dressed, the movies were just plain scarier than they are today. The movies now are not made for level of scare, but level of gross-out. Give me a good ol'-fashioned creature feature anyday – with pants, please.

Posted By mindelynn : November 21, 2006 9:39 am

Monsters in pants – could be a movie in itself.I think besides the fact that the monster were well-dressed, the movies were just plain scarier than they are today. The movies now are not made for level of scare, but level of gross-out. Give me a good ol'-fashioned creature feature anyday – with pants, please.

Posted By Klondike : November 21, 2006 10:36 am

Dear RHS; Thank you so much for this Comment! Talk about Monsters in Pants: I laughed so hard in wheezing, raucous sympatico, I nearly had to check my britches for need of changing!I, too, grew up in the Era of Ike where we had to choose bi-weekly between the Flat Top or the Crew Cut, and Yes, Monsters definitely had their own cock-eyed dress code then, sometimes pumped into near-slapstick, as with Buddy Baer in full Conquistador armor, as the arroyo-lurking Giant from the Unknown, or minimalized, like Debbie the diapared Alien Chimp from Lost In Space.Heck, even Jim Arness sported some work-a-day arctic coveralls as the murderous walking carrot in "The Thing from Another World". And Jacques Tourneur's zombies? Shirtless perhaps, put they all had their trousers (or facsimiles thereof) cinched-up right & proper.Small wonder our own Dads in the decade following peered through the windshields of their Oldsmobiles at their most horrifying nightmare:  those damn HIPPIES!

Posted By Klondike : November 21, 2006 10:36 am

Dear RHS; Thank you so much for this Comment! Talk about Monsters in Pants: I laughed so hard in wheezing, raucous sympatico, I nearly had to check my britches for need of changing!I, too, grew up in the Era of Ike where we had to choose bi-weekly between the Flat Top or the Crew Cut, and Yes, Monsters definitely had their own cock-eyed dress code then, sometimes pumped into near-slapstick, as with Buddy Baer in full Conquistador armor, as the arroyo-lurking Giant from the Unknown, or minimalized, like Debbie the diapared Alien Chimp from Lost In Space.Heck, even Jim Arness sported some work-a-day arctic coveralls as the murderous walking carrot in "The Thing from Another World". And Jacques Tourneur's zombies? Shirtless perhaps, put they all had their trousers (or facsimiles thereof) cinched-up right & proper.Small wonder our own Dads in the decade following peered through the windshields of their Oldsmobiles at their most horrifying nightmare:  those damn HIPPIES!

Posted By KLF : November 21, 2006 11:31 am

Cool observation.  I really enjoyed this article.  I definitely think you're on to something…two of the scariest films I've seen recently involved well-dressed (or at least, dressed) villains:  American Psycho (c'mon the guy worked on Wall Street during the height of yuppiness) and Jeepers Creepers (he wore a hat and coat).  Some may not consider these classics, but I grew up on horror films…they are one of the few things my dad and I have in common, so I know a good scare when I see one.  These had me peeking around every corner for days.BTW, I almost fell out of my chair when I read your comment about "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp!" 

Posted By KLF : November 21, 2006 11:31 am

Cool observation.  I really enjoyed this article.  I definitely think you're on to something…two of the scariest films I've seen recently involved well-dressed (or at least, dressed) villains:  American Psycho (c'mon the guy worked on Wall Street during the height of yuppiness) and Jeepers Creepers (he wore a hat and coat).  Some may not consider these classics, but I grew up on horror films…they are one of the few things my dad and I have in common, so I know a good scare when I see one.  These had me peeking around every corner for days.BTW, I almost fell out of my chair when I read your comment about "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp!" 

Posted By Tim Lucas : November 21, 2006 4:26 pm

Kudos to RHS, whose clever remarks zipped up yet another blog topic nice and proper.  I'm reminded of perhaps the most dapper monsters of all — the lycanthrope Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney) as he appeared in ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN with his tweed trousers, black shirts and white ties. It's one thing for Dracula to wear a tux — he was probably buried that way — but these other monsters made an effort it's good to see applauded.

Posted By Tim Lucas : November 21, 2006 4:26 pm

Kudos to RHS, whose clever remarks zipped up yet another blog topic nice and proper.  I'm reminded of perhaps the most dapper monsters of all — the lycanthrope Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney) as he appeared in ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN with his tweed trousers, black shirts and white ties. It's one thing for Dracula to wear a tux — he was probably buried that way — but these other monsters made an effort it's good to see applauded.

Posted By John Charles : November 23, 2006 11:00 pm

Hey RHS –When I said you had that "increasingly high forehead" look, I was only kidding!

Posted By John Charles : November 23, 2006 11:00 pm

Hey RHS –When I said you had that "increasingly high forehead" look, I was only kidding!

Posted By Robert Richardson : November 24, 2006 2:36 am

In kindergarten nobody could build an Interociter like Richard could.

Posted By Robert Richardson : November 24, 2006 2:36 am

In kindergarten nobody could build an Interociter like Richard could.

Posted By Jeffrey Witt : December 7, 2006 12:35 pm

Gentlemen: I love horror movies from the past!  I am only going to name a few horror films that i really liked ! Hereare the titles: I Was a  Teenage  Werewolf ! (AIP'1957), It  was a cult classic. The secound one was I Was A Teenage Frankenstin! (AIP' 1958), It was O,K! and another one was called The Blood of Dracula! (AIP'1959). and  the British came out with The Curse of Frankenstin! (Hammer/columbia '56) in  color, then  they came out with The Revenge of Frankenstin! (Hammer?Columbia'58) both were with Peter Cushing.Hammer Had done , The  Creeping Unknown!, The Quatermas Experament!,Enemy from space!, Quatermas & The Pit!!, X-the UNOWN!, The Four-Siddedd Triangle!, Aboinaml Snowman! (were done by Hammer Films   in the early 1950"s) HAMMER Films teamed up wth  Universal Pictures,Warner Bros. Pictures,  CBS Paramount Pictures,  & 20th Century Fox Pictures., also with  American International Pictures bacl IN the 1970"s.

Posted By Jeffrey Witt : December 7, 2006 12:35 pm

Gentlemen: I love horror movies from the past!  I am only going to name a few horror films that i really liked ! Hereare the titles: I Was a  Teenage  Werewolf ! (AIP'1957), It  was a cult classic. The secound one was I Was A Teenage Frankenstin! (AIP' 1958), It was O,K! and another one was called The Blood of Dracula! (AIP'1959). and  the British came out with The Curse of Frankenstin! (Hammer/columbia '56) in  color, then  they came out with The Revenge of Frankenstin! (Hammer?Columbia'58) both were with Peter Cushing.Hammer Had done , The  Creeping Unknown!, The Quatermas Experament!,Enemy from space!, Quatermas & The Pit!!, X-the UNOWN!, The Four-Siddedd Triangle!, Aboinaml Snowman! (were done by Hammer Films   in the early 1950"s) HAMMER Films teamed up wth  Universal Pictures,Warner Bros. Pictures,  CBS Paramount Pictures,  & 20th Century Fox Pictures., also with  American International Pictures bacl IN the 1970"s.

Posted By Kurt : September 25, 2007 1:13 pm

Night of the Creeps – Zombies in Tuxedos!

Posted By Kurt : September 25, 2007 1:13 pm

Night of the Creeps – Zombies in Tuxedos!

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