I’ve always wondered where this strange meme of one-eyed cephalopods came from — here’s a poster from the heyday of B movies that suggests it has been around for at least 50 years.
That’s from a site with a collection of old movie posters, that brings up old memories. I used to pedal my bike over by the old Vale movie theater in Kent right after school to browse the coming attractions. Most were pretty forgettable, but when it was always exciting to discover one of these cheesy posters (and the cheesier the better) heralding a monster movie for the Saturday matinee. A lot of these look very familiar.
Oh, and if the theater didn’t offer us any tacky thrills, there was a Saturday afternoon movie series on the TV that would fill in for us, giving us an education in quality film from the 40s and 50s that featured cheap makeup and clumsy costumes.
Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM says
People of Earth! We come to you in the spirit of hostility and menace!
A scantily clad woman and a one-eyed monster. Not all that scary, really.
Reminds me of some of my first dates…
Nerd of Redhead says
An obviously fine movie. You have to look at the small print to see who starred in it.
They so wanted to suggest tentacle pr0n…
Why are monsters always after pretty girls?
Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.
Now there is a movie title that just grabs you and pulls you into the theater. How could it possibly have not won an Oscar that year?
Hopefully, they’ll have nurses standing by in the lobby.
There used to be a running gag film night here called “Sinister Cinema” on late night TV. The host dressed up as Dracula and hunted down the WORST monster movies ever made. While it was a groaner, everyone loved it. Spanish vampires win the cheesy ribbon hands down.
Scott Hamilton says
The general pose and subject matter of that poster is pretty obviously inspired by the “cuttlefish fantasy” (to put it nicely) woodcuts of Japan.
Kang and Kodos were inspired by the one-eyed (but no-mouthed) alien in The Atomic Submarine. Not particularly cephalopod-ish, but the voice still cracks me up.
Die Anyway says
@2 “A scantily clad woman and a one-eyed monster.”
Ah yes, the dreaded one-eyed trouser snake.
Prof. Jerry Lettvin at MIT had a theory that the story of the Medusa was a metaphor for the octopus; a mnemonic for a pre-literate society. One of his arguments was the common depiction of the Medusa with one eye closed and the tongue hanging out of the mouth. He said if you take that image and turn it upside down, the serpent hair becomes tentacles, the tongue becomes the jet siphon, and the eye is the eye. So, at least Lettvin believed that the depiction of octopodes as one-eyed goes back to ancient Greece.
“The host dressed up as Dracula and hunted down the WORST monster movies ever made”
Brings to mind good old Mystery Science Theater 3000, ah, I used to love that show.
How do you know it only has one eye? You can’t see the other side.
You might or might not like this. It’s not been updated in a while though. But Something Positive is a great chuckle too. I just won’t recommending trying to understand the most recent storyline right off the bat.
Salvatore Patrone says
I grew up with “Shock Theater” and “Creature Double Feature”
The former featured Dr. Shock, a ghoulish character similar to Roland.
I watched religiously!
Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM says
The famous Elvira did the same thing.
It looks like a vermicious knid to me.
Sili – Thanks! That is right in line with Sinister Cinema humor.
I remember Elvira too. I admired her souped up modern reflection of Mae West.
Sven DiMilo says
In my Pittsburgh yout’ it was Chiller Theater with Chilly Billy Cardille.
Is is a lovely example of a “BEM”..(Bug-eyed monster)
“Grotesque creatures with huge, oversized or compound eyes and a lust for women, blood and general destruction.”
A.C. Clarke sugested a momevent to protect BEM,s and let them do what they wanted… so we could answer that great question.!!!
But what they could do with a woman?
The Japanese always have the answer!
Ya ya, good ol’ Dr. Tongue’s Island of the Insane Secretaries (in 3D!)
That, or anything with Tor Johnson.
My 2c. :)
Nanahuatzin – well, obviously all the girl monsters are ugly. The male monsters are smitten by the first beautiful female they’ve ever seen. In my occasional childhood (usually accidental) forays into other genre, I noticed that Arabs, Africans, and tropical Indians always seemed to find blondes irresistible. Mars Needs Women, after all.
It turns out that we get conditioned to find our tribe’s average as the norm for beauty, or something like that. Which probably explains why I find alien mutants so attractive.
Thanks for the link, but I believe I will stick with a simple Raquel Welch in a fur bikini.
Will E. says
well, obviously all the girl monsters are ugly
What? I beg to differ!
A monocular cephalopod? Preposterous! But we all know how they love a broad; am I right, ladies?
And I think I can safely state that the ladies love an octo-villain in an eyepatch. At least, I know I’ve had a good half dozen women leave me for a dashing ‘pod with a ‘patch.
Rey Fox says
“The famous Elvira did the same thing.”
And before her, Vampira.
the pro from dover says
I may actually have seen this movie although the title seems off to me. I thought it was “it came from beneath the sea”. It was a Ray Harryhausen stop-action movie featuring an octopus that attacked the Golden Gate Bridge. The apochryphal story was that they could only afford 5 tentacles so you never saw them all. There was also a monster movie that featured an octopus like creature with one eye killed when the hero rammed it in its orbit with a submarine. This maybe that movie or both. It was a solid 50 years ago. Many neurons have been lost since then.
Silly earthling that is my sister Kang.
Forbidden Planet is probably the only GOOD movie in the lot. I’ve seen several of those but am not certain which are which.
I’ve often wondered why monsters and space aliens found human women attractive… I don’t find one-eyed octopus females attractive
Prof. Jerry Lettvin at MIT had a theory that the story of the Medusa was a metaphor for the octopus; a mnemonic for a pre-literate society.
He’s thinking too deeply. Medusa is parody of the ultimate ‘bad date’ (you know, the kind with a ‘nice personality’) with a look that will turn you to stone. Really could it be any more slapstick than that?
Damn! I used to live in Kent and I have no idea where the Vale is. It can be sad when things change so fast. More often than not, change is good. The changes in Kent since I lived there are not great, though. Now, it’s just another Seattle suburb. Might as well live in Renton. Yuck!
PZ Myers says
Unless you lived there in the 60s, you wouldn’t know the Vale. It was torn down to build a bank. It was on 4th Ave, down across the street from the Big Bear, which was also torn down to make who knows what.
“A scantily clad woman and a one-eyed monster. Not all that scary, really.”–And they say Anime is influencing Us. Seems the reverse, har har. One eyed monsterd+ tentacles+ scantily clad wemon= tentacle porn.
Whoops, Scott beat me to it:
“The general pose and subject matter of that poster is pretty obviously inspired by the “cuttlefish fantasy” (to put it nicely) woodcuts of Japan.”–A double culture reversal, what a twist! If only Frued were still alive and crackin’ (oh yes, i’m aware of the pun)
I have a full size Vampiros Lesbos poster and a great collection of drive-in daybills.
They’re tucked away somewhere waiting for wall space.
PZ, have you seen the following yet?
DAY OF THE DEAD (Romero)
I bet ten thousand quatloos you’ll love all of them.
Crudely Wrott says
Oh Boy! Friday night Creature Feature! Can’t wait!
My brother and I used to wait for the shock scene and then make a big show of putting our hands over our eyes; with fingers spread.
Except for a couple of times . . .
Oh dear, our many armed, cyclopean friends do seem menaced by our subs, atomic or otherwise.
“Why do they always go after the beautiful woman?”
Well, Duh! if you’d ever seen any female Horrible Tentacle Monsters you wouldn’t ask!
Of course, “Monster from the Ocean Floor” (a lovelorn amoeba) was the first film Roger Corman produced.
Have you seen this one PZ?