Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Fun Kind of Scared

Folks, let me introduce you to Sivad, your Monster of Ceremonies.  He commanded my attention Saturday afternoons at six o'clock on a show called Fantastic Features on WHBQ Channel 13 out of Memphis a long time ago.  The show ran in this time slot from 1962 through 1966 and planted the seeds for most of the nightmares I've ever had.

Fantastic Features primarily showed old black and white B horror and science fiction movies.  They threw in some classics from time to time, like Dracula and Frankenstein, but most were on the level of Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, Donavan's Brain, and The Crawling Eye.

And oh, were they fun.

I didn't get to watch every Saturday, though.  My parents hauled me and my sister to Dallas in 1963, but four or five times every year we made it back to my grandparent's house outside Joiner Arkansas (about forty-five miles from Memphis) and on Saturday afternoons I would be glued to the television set.

I can't say that Sivad scared me.  To be honest, his character was more like Southern Dracula meets The Three Stooges, and he fascinated me to no end. 

I liked Sivad.

Some of the images in the movies frightened me though, two in particular.  The Cyclops and War of the Colossal Beast.

Each featured a giant mutant man with one eye that stomped around and roared a lot.  I think it was the empty eye socket and the melted face, combined with the sheer size of the thing that did it.  I had nightmares about those creatures for years.

Funny, I quite literally just discovered that the same actor played both monsters, Duncan Parkin.

Watson Davis played Sivad.  When he created the character, he wanted a single name like Dracula, so he played around with some options finally spelling his own last name backwards.  Davis to Sivad.

Damn I loved that show!

And I learned to love stories that go bump in the night, like those of Edgar Allan Poe and later on Stephen King.  Just as long as Duncan Parkin didn't play it.

Check out this clip of the opening of Fantastic Features and meet Sivad, your Monster of Ceremonies (after six seconds).

And if you're a little more adventurous, meet Watson Davis (after 18 seconds).

Gotta love it!