Monsters, Villains, & Spooks Dancing in TV and Movies

It’s time to take a look at some stylish performances by dancing monsters, villains, and spooks from tv and movies.

The Addams Family was a little spooky.

Based on a comic strip from the 1930s, The Addams Family ran on ABC from 1964-1966. Written by Charles Addams for New Yorker magazine, it was about the lives of the mysterious Addams family. Gomez and Morticia were the parents of Wednesday and Pugsley. Uncle Fester, Grandmama, Thing, and the manservant, Lurch completed the “family”.

Gomez and Morticia were famously romantic and wildly passionate about each other. Here’s a short clip of them dancing.

The Addams Family qualify as monsters.
Portrait of the Addams Family

Not surprisingly, The Munsters tv show had 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 the lovely niece, Marilyn. Incidentally, even though Marilyn was attractive (by conventional standards), she was considered the family ‘ugly duckling’.

Monsters, villains, and spooks were popular tv shows in the 1960s.  This photo is a portrait of the Munsters family.
Portrait of the Munster Family

Like most of us, monsters want to be good dancers, too. 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 stands out.

In 1931, Boris Karloff was a busy actor, performing in 9 movies that year. There was one movie in particular that caught the attention of the audience. It was Frankenstein and it made him a superstar overnight.

Although he made scores of movies, some of the spookiest 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. Scared yet?

Frankenstein and his bride are monsters.
Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester cutting a rug between scenes of 1935’s The Bride of Frankenstein.

Peter Lorre is perfection as a horror movie villain.

Peter Lorre’s facial expressions in suspenseful horror films were meant to be chilling. Accordingly, he used his large, bulging eyes to send a sinister message to his victims. Therefore, he didn’t need to actually say much.

His Big Break came quickly.

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.” Interested? The movie is available to watch on YouTube.

the spook shows his versatility.

In the 1957 movie Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, Peter Lorre played his first musical part. As to 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.”

Peter Lorre has played many spooks, however, here he's dancing.
Peter Lorre as he appeared in the film Silk Stockings.

Vincent Price couldn’t be creepier as a dancing monster.

Just take a look at how he drinks his cocktail. Ewww!!!

Born to a wealthy 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. Soon after, he traveled to London to study for his Master of Fine Arts degree. That’s when his plans changed. Instead, he found himself fascinated by the theatre and became an actor. Nevertheless, his love for fine art remained throughout his lifetime.

Price enjoyed some success as a character actor. But, it wasn’t until he began acting in horror movies that he became famous. At one point in his career he acted in six adaptations of works by Edgar Allan Poe. One of them, The Raven, costarred Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff.

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 voiceover on Michael Jackson’s song, “Thriller.”

Check out the speech Vincent Price gives at the gathering of the Monster Club. Afterwards there’s a performance of the Monster Mash.

Jim Carrey was The Mask.

Jim Carrey becomes a monster in this movie, The Mask.

Fresh off the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Jim Carrey was chosen to play the title role in the film adaptation of the comic book series, The Mask. 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 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 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’ll never forget the dance scene at the dinner party. Surely, Harry Belafonte’s Shake Senora (Jump in da Line) will have you dancing in your seat, too.

This final entry deserves it’s own category.

These guys are not quite dancing monsters or villains, but they are a little spooky.

Ladies and gents, may I present Dancing Skeletons. I came across them a few years back when I was writing the Dance Safari post, “Fun Easy Dance to Learn – Merengue.” They’ve got some good moves!

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for stopping by.

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