Shock Treatment

The Universal monsters are not only ingrained in pop culture; they have become an indisputable staple of the Halloween season. A large part of their legacy was assured a little over half a century ago, with the advent of Shock Theater (a package of classic horror films brought to television syndication by Screen Gems). The following poem (from my collection Autumn Lauds) was written to commemorate this wondrous moment in the history of monster-movie viewing.

 

Shock Treatment

Home invasions welcomed each weekend

Screen Gems gleaming in black and white

Legendary wretches on late-night display

Heralded scenes seen for yourself at last

Frankenstein’s Monster getting a stormy inception

Old Imhotep set lumbering by the Scroll of Thoth

Lawrence Talbot turning darksome when the autumn moon is bright

Bandaged Jack Griffin proving indiscernible in dishabille

Dracula descending the massive castle staircase, candle in hand

All framed by the ghoul humor of Roland

Seminal influence of the syndicated

A Universal renaissance in October ’57

An entire generation of monsterkids born

 

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