It’s about time to take a look at the stylish performances of an assortment of dancing monsters, villians, & spooks from tv and movies.
During the 1960s, unusual television families were popular.
The Addams Family Was a Little Spooky
Based on a comic strip from the 1930s, The Addams Family ran on ABC from 1964-1966. Initially written by Charles (Chas) Addams for the New Yorker magazine, the comic strip chronicaled the lives of the mysterious Addams family. Gomez and Morticia were the parents of Wednesday and Pugsley. The household also included Uncle Fester, Grandmama, Thing, and manservant Lurch.
Gomez and Morticia were famously romantic and wildly passionate about each other. Here’s a short clip of them dancing.
The Munsters Were Based on Monsters
Herman and Lily Munster are part of a Transylvanian-American family in this satire of “normal” households. Produced by the creators of Leave It to Beaver, it riffed on the family sitcoms of the time as well as classic monster movies. For example, Herman was Frankenstein, Grandpa was a vampire, son Eddie resembled a werewolf, and then there was niece Marilyn. Incidentally, even though Marilyn was attractive (by conventional standards), she was considered the family ‘ugly duckling’.
Here we see Herman at the Happyland Ballroom learning to dance.
Horror movies featuring monsters, villains, and spooks were extremely popular from the 1930s on.
To be sure, when it comes to horror, Boris Karloff certainly stood out.
In 1931, Boris Karloff was a busy actor, performing in 9 movies that year. There was one in particular that caught theater-goers attention. It was Frankenstein and it was the part that made him a superstar overnight.
Although he made scores of movies, some of the spooky ones that come to mind include The Frankenstein franchise, The Mummy, The Body Snatcher, The Raven, The Man They Could Not Hang, and The Boogie Man Will Get You.
Peter Lorre is a prime example of a horror movie villain & spook.
Peter Lorre’s facial expressions in countless suspenseful horror films were meant to be chilling. For this reason, he used his large, bulging eyes to send a sinister message to his victims. Consequently, he usually didn’t need to say much.
Peter Lorre’s Big Break
According to Wikipedia, “M is a 1931 German thriller film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre in his breakthrough role as Hans Beckert, a serial killer of children. An early example of a procedural drama, the film centers on the manhunt for Lorre’s character, conducted by both the police and the criminal underworld.”
It goes on to state, “Now considered a timeless classic, the film was deemed by Lang to be his magnum opus. It is widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, and an indispensable influence on modern crime and thriller fiction.” The movie is available to watch on YouTube.
This dancing monster shows his versatility.
In the 1957 movie Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, Peter Lorre played his first musical part. Regarding his dancing, a post from the blog Old Hollywood Films reads, “…it’s hard to look anywhere but at Lorre, whose awkward dance moves are oddly mesmerizing.”
Vincent Price Couldn’t Be Creepier as a Dancing Monster
Just take a look at how he drinks his cocktail. Ewww!!!
A little background on an American classic.
Having been born to a privileged family in St. Louis, MO, Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. attended private schools in Missouri and Connecticut. He graduated from Yale with a degree in English and a minor in Art History. He traveled to London to study for his Master in Fine Arts degree. That’s when his plans changed. Indeed, he found himself fascinated by the theatre and became an actor. Regardless, his love for fine art remained throughout his life.
Price enjoyed some success as a character actor. But, it wasn’t until he began dabbling in horror movies that he had more accomplishments and, of course, fame.
At one point in his career he acted in six adaptations of works by Edgar Allan Poe. One of them, The Raven, was with fellow frightful stars Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff. As if the storyline isn’t scary enough, imagine seeing the performances of these three heavyweights.
Known for his highly recognizable voice, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album. In addition, let’s not forget his spine-tingling monologue on Michael Jackson’s song, “Thriller”?
Check out this speech Vincent Price gives at the gathering of the Monster Club. He’s amazing. Afterwards there’s a performance of the Monster Mash.
Jim Carrey as The Mask
Fresh off his good fortune in the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Jim Carrey was destined to play the title role in the film adaptation of the comic book series, The Mask. In it he plays Stanley Ipkiss, a timid man who finds a green mask with magical powers. When he puts the mask on, he’s transformed into a bold, green-headed monster with extraordinary capabilities. (Snazzy dresser, too.)
Technically, The Mask isn’t a horror film. As a matter of fact, some call it a super-hero movie. I don’t know about that, but in my opinion, Jim Carrey’s other-worldly contortions and maniacal demeanor seem closer to the horror genre.
Watch this segment as The Mask sings and dances to Cuban Pete. (You’re welcome!)
Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice
The Beetlejuice movie is epically macabre. This post is getting kinda long, so I’m not going to get into the plot, but I will recommend you read this Wikipedia article. It explains every twist and turn of this excellently written movie.
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen it, but one thing is for sure, I can’t forget the dance scene at the dinner party. Surely, Harry Belafonte’s Shake Senora (Jump in da Line) will have you dancing in your seats.
This final entry deserves it’s own category.
These guys are not quite dancing monsters or villains, but they are a little spooky.
Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for stopping by.