Friday, October 29, 2010

The Amazing World of Mr B.I.G - An Autobiographical Journey by Bert I. Gordon

I can honestly say that together with Inoshiro Honda and Roger Corman, Bert I. Gordon is one of my favorite directors ever. My first taste of his work was with Food of the Gods, which I bought on an old x-rental when I was a teenager. The insane monster-mash that was delivered in front of my innocent eyes still affects me. From giant hens and that disgusting worm/larva to mosquitos and the nasty rats – this was one awesome movie.

No no, I just lied! My FIRST taste of Bert I. Gordon’s work was Empire of the Ants. I was 7-8 years old and my english in Sigtuna pal, Neil, showed me some scary movies – and one of them was the ant-movie. THAT one scared the hell out of me and I didn’t watch horror movies for a long time after that. It might no be scary today, but it’s still a great fun monster-movie.

Bert I. Gordon gives us entertainment. I’m not sure theres any deeper messages in his movies, but who needs that when monsters roam and animals attack? At the tender age of 88 he finally gives us his memoairs, which is a film-by-film recollection from his first wild days in Hollywood to his last, for now, movie: Satan’s Princess. What strikes me is how determined he was to be a filmmaker in Hollywood. Friends and collegues laughed at him, but somehow he just ignored them, started to knock on doors and finally got a chance to make his first movie, King Dinosaur.

Gordon is a one-man army of filmmaking and churned out everything, including commercials and sex-comedies for 35 years. He was a pioneer in visual effects (who knew he shot all the ant-scenes in a hotel room in a couple of days?!) with cheap and effectiv – and sometimes corny – effects. And it’s not surprising the book mostly deals with his first year in Hollywood and then the techincal aspects of the rest of the movies. It’s an easy to read book, filled with facts and anecdotes. What I miss is more about the shooting of the movies, working with actors, dealing with scripts and selling the production to distributors. The last part of the book is filled with photos – including the one where the cool Joan Collins is making out with an ant!

I also realize that I haven’t seen any of his occult-themed movies, which is three: Necromancy, Burned at the Stake and Satan’s Princess. I also decided, after reading the story behind The Mad Bomber, to find the uncut version and give that one a new try.

You can easily buy the book from his homepage, and maybe like me, also choose the version with a dedication and autograph.

1 comment:

Patrick B said...

That was a good read, Fred. Thanks.