Monster Baby Tales

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There are few things in life that I love more than old books and I’ve tried to hang onto just about every book that I’ve ever bought or been given as a gift. Since I’m currently in the process of moving and trying to sort out a lifetime’s worth of stuff that I’ve managed to amass over the years, I’ve been unearthing some of my old childhood books. Some of these books are old horror film books such as the aptly named Monster Movie Game book.

Monster Movie Game was written by Bay Area horror film host John Stanley along with Mal Whyte. It was originally published in 1974 and I’m not exactly sure how I ended up with a copy of it, but I think it might have been sold to kids at my school a year or two after it’s initial release (’75 or ’76) through the Scholastic Book Club. Whatever the case may be, I’ve managed to keep my copy of the Monster Movie Game book for many years and it’s undoubtedly one of the first film related books that I owned. Monster Movie Game is a very slim paperback with only 64 pages, but it’s jam-packed with lots of questions and answers about various monster movies and illustrated with great black and white photos.

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The She Creature (1956) and Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
from the Monster Movie Game book

The cover of the Monster Movie Game book terrified me when I was a kid. It features a large photo from King Kong (1933) of the giant ape holding a frightened Fay Wray while he fights off a large pterodactyl dinosaur. Some of my earliest nightmares involved giant monsters like King Kong as well as ferocious dinosaurs so I suspect that the book’s cover is to blame for many of my bad dreams. Thankfully I didn’t let my fear of King Kong on the book’s cover deter me from savoring every one of its 64 pages. I spent countless hours staring at the photos it contained and ruminating over the questions it asked of its readers. The book introduced me to many movie monsters that I was unfamiliar with at the time such as the frightening She Creature from the 1956 film of the same name and it also featured many of favorite monsters like the Wolfman as portrayed by Oliver Reed in Hammer’s Curse of the Werewolf (1961).

After coming across my old copy of the Monster Movie Game book recently I thought it would be fun to share a few pages from it complete with my wrong answers and misspelled words. Occasionally I did manage to correctly identify a photo or film title, but for the most part my answers were always wrong. But you can’t blame an eight nine year old kid for trying! My spelling hasn’t improved much, but I definitely know more about monster movies now and I’m sure I have the Monster Movie Game book to partly thank for that.

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Wrong answers! I was obviously trying to spell out Transylvania here but gave up early and just went with Tran. but Lugosi’s native country is actually Hungary. I have no idea why I thought “Call me the Count” was the first thing Dracula said to Renfield, but it does have a nice ring to it. The correct answer was of course “I am… Dracula. I bid you welcome.”

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Semi right answer, but bad spelling. As I mentioned previously, my spelling hasn’t improved all that much since I was a kid, but I think my answer deserves an A for Effort. “Modusa” should have been spelled “Medusa” and the photo is actually a picture from the 1964 Hammer film The Gorgon. Gorgons were mythical Greek monsters and the most well-known Gorgon was called Medusa so my answer wasn’t too off-base.

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Best response! This has to be my most creative answer. According to the Monster Movie Game book the correct answer was “He uncontrollably grew at the rate of ten feet a day. Mentally broken, he went on a rampage of murder and destruction before finally being destroyed.” There was no way I could have answered that question correctly when I was a kid, but I think my own answer of “He grew and was ugly” is just as effective. Maybe even more so since it cuts right to the truth. The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) did grow and his appearance and behavior definitely turned ugly!

While I was hunting around online for information about the Monster Movie Game book I was surprised to come across this great clip of the book’s author John Stanley along with fellow horror host Bob Wilkins, film critic George Tashman (I love you, Clark Gable: Male sex symbols of the silver screen), Cinema Shop owner and future writer Daniel Faris (Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema) and public relations man Alvin Gunthertz on a special episode of Creature Features called “The Bob Wilkins Super Horror Show” from 1974. Longtime Cinebeats’ readers know that I have very fond memories of watching Bob Wilkins on Creature Features when I was a kid as well as John Stanley so I was thrilled to discover this short clip on Youtube. I wish this clip was a little longer, but it looks like Dan Faris was going to easily win the Monster Movie Game quiz.

4 thoughts on “Monster Baby Tales

  1. Tim Hutton says:

    Thanks for sharing images from this book! I owned it myself and I had forgotten all about it until now. I’ve got great memories of seeing lots of old monster movies on TV thanks to John Stanley and the Creature Features show.

  2. Kimberly Lindbergs says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Tim. It was fun rediscovering this old book and the video clip on youtube. I sort of miss the pre-computer days when we had to get all of our information from books. It’s amazing how lucky we all are now to have the www at our fingertips.

  3. Kimberly Lindbergs says:

    Thanks for your comment Pink F! I like knowing that others got just as much enjoyment out of the book as I did when I was a kid.

    In retrospect, this book encouraged me to write about movies for the first time and think about them as something a bit more rich and complex than just mere entertainment.

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