There are three things I’m certain of in this world:
1) Helluva Good French Onion Dip is by far the best french onion dip on the market (and nothing else even comes close–if you even mention Dean’s french onion dip, I will ban you from the Internet!).
2) George Lucas could not have screwed up The Phantom Menace any more than he did. It is literally impossible to make that movie any worse.
3) You just finished reading my “Display Your Movies” post and, while you thoroughly enjoyed it, you’re longing for bonus entry about how to display your massive collection of monster movies.
Well, all I can do is “enjoy” for #1 and “plot” for #2, but I’m happy to help you out with the third one.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love love love classic monster movies, and have many more than I would like to admit. In my office, I actually have a collection of vhs (!) monster movies that I meticulously saved up for and bought as a kid growing up in Ohio. Why do I keep them? Well, it’s always fun to have my students try and figure out just what the hell a vhs is, after all the time I spent looking forward to purchasing them from Saturday Movie Matinee in the Richland Mall I can’t bear to get rid of them, and if I kept them at home I’m pretty sure Claire would make me throw them away (because honestly I can’t think of a reason to keep them–I already have practically all of them on dvd).
Don’t believe me? Check it:
If you squint, you can just make out a few impressive finds, including a colorized version of the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (more on that movie later) and a copy of Peter Cushing’s Island of Terror, which is not available stateside on dvd. Yes, you should be jealous.
Now, obviously I can’t display all of my monster movies in the living room. To be honest, you should only display about half the number of your other dvds in the living room. However, they’re important to me and I consider them part of my identity. So, I wanted to place a few choice movies in a cluster on one of the shelves in the living room. Just like my other movie display entry, I have some advice if you’re a bit nervous about the process.
And in case you’re wondering, here is my selection of monster movies currently on display in the Grimm/Odenweller house.
Just like with your regular movie collection, this is going to say a lot about you. If some monster movie expert comes to your house, you want to be able to impress them with your selection. Fortunately, I already had King Kong in with my other movie display, so I didn’t have to worry about it here. However, my all-time favorite movie is the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers featuring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynters. It’s absolutely wonderful, and I can’t wait for it to come out on blu-ray (currently, when I want to treat myself, I rent it in HD off of Amazon, like I’m some kind of animal!). However, I also included Forbidden Planet, It! The Terror from Beyond Space, and Mysterious Island as must-haves.
The monster movie fan club is an exclusive membership, and we can be a bit snobbish. Plus, if the casual observer glances at the collection, it would be great if they could recognize a few titles (then comes the nostalgia, and then they’re trapped!). For me, I threw in the The Blob, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and One Million Years B.C. I think it’s a great way of connecting with people who have only a passing familiarity with this genre.
One of my favorite things about monster movies is that the names are so crazy and wild. You definitely want to showcase this, which is why I included some movies with really appealing titles: Attack of the Giant Leeches, The Crawling Eye, From Hell It Came, I Married a Monster from Outer Space. Tell me you wouldn’t at least pick up I Married A Monster from Outer Space, just to look at it. Then, while we’ll sharing a laugh, I can casually drop in that, if you watch this movie closely, it’s basically about women dealing with marrying a closeted gay man in the 1950s (the husbands look normal to everyone else, but are incapable of emotions, particularly when it comes to showing affection and having sex). Then BAM! You’re hooked.
This can also apply to cool dvd covers, which is why I’m considering putting Attack of the Crab Monsters out as well:
This is mostly for you. It’s great to have the classics and reliable ones out there (again, I don’t know what it is about Planet of Dinosaurs, but I do enjoy that movie), but it’s easy to forget about your more recent purchases. That’s why I have The Abominable Snowman (underrated and, at times, genuinely unsettling) and Caltiki: The Immortal Monster on display–it’s convenient (just throw it in the dvd player) and a nice reminder so that when you’re admiring your collection you can say, “Hey, I forgot I owned From Hell It Came.”
And just like that, you’re ready to have a monster movie display that will be the envy of your friends and won’t annoy your wife at all!
Even though flatscreen TVs have made entertainment centers all but irrelevant, many of us still want items around the TV. Maybe it’s because we want to advertise who we are, maybe it’s so the TV just doesn’t sit alone in some sort of living room limbo. Hell, maybe we just don’t want to walk to the other room every time we want to grab a dvd.
For Claire and me, it’s a minimalist approach with a low TV stand and wall shelves surrounding it (thank you IKEA!). We engaged in a lively debate about what would go on the shelves, which mostly went like this:
ME: How about we put some of my dinosaurs on the shelf!?
Good times! But Claire knows of my love for movies, and so I was put in charge of figuring out what movies to display. I don’t want to exaggerate, but this might be literally the most important task I’ve ever done in my life.
I don’t know the exact number of dvds I have, but I have two large dvd racks (one for monster movies, the other for the rest) that still can’t hold all of my movies. You might be in the same situation. Obviously, you can’t put them all on display in the living room (believe me, I asked), so how do you decide what to display? How did I come up with this incredible display?
Follow these tips, and you’ll have people staring at your dvd collection throughout the fancy dinner party/murder mystery/first date.
Your movie collection says more about you than anything else (at least to other movie lovers). Therefore, you must include some movies that absolutely need to be included. For me, I knew I couldn’t have my movies on display without including King Kong (the extended edition which includes the swamp scene) and The Descent (which I write about from time to time).
No one wants to saunter up to your movie collection to be greeted by a single genre (at least not for your main display). It kills the conversation, eliminates intrigue, and pegs you as a one-trick pony, someone who has a sophisticated action-adventure palette but is lost when it comes to drama. I have everything from sci-fi (Dark City, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek) to westerns (The Magnificent Seven, Unforgiven) to drama (The Usual Suspects, Heat, No Country for Old Men) to comedy (Hot Fuzz). Throw some variety in your grouping. And, as a bonus piece of advice, make sure you mix up the actors/actresses as well. Brad Pitt is fantastic, but we don’t need to celebrate the man’s entire collection.
We get it, you like Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones (not including the fourth one), and Star Wars (not including the prequels or the Ewoks). So does most everyone else. So why are you wasting our time? Most of the movie series you would want to buy are widely acknowledged as popular, great films, so there’s no need to state the obvious. Plus, space is at a premium, and the bulky packaging of these movie sets (with their booklets and extra dvds) isn’t helping you. If the original theatrical release of the original Star Wars trilogy is ever released in high def, I might make an exception.
You might want to try and hint at a series, but only if the film can stand alone. As you can see, I include Casino Royale because it shows that I am an avid James Bond fan, but also because you don’t have to watch every film before it to understand what is happening. It transcends the series, whereas other films (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Godfather trilogies) are pretty reliant on the others.
Yes, you’re very refined and cultured. But part of the reason you’re displaying movies is to connect with visitors, and if all you have is obscure Czechoslovakian films, then the conversation stops cold (and the eye-rolling probably gets revved up). Limit yourself to one or two (maybe even three or four, though that’s pushing it) to sprinkle into your collection. For me, it’s Battle Royale and TimeCrimes (Princess Mononoke is also on there, but it’s voiced by American actors, so it could go either way). The more appealing, the better. Royale is a fantastic movie (as evidenced by this clip), but not as mainstream, and so it’s something to talk about. If you’ve put your collection together correctly, when people see a movie title they don’t recognize, they’ll ask you about it (because they’ve agreed with your other films–otherwise why are they inside your house?).
This is your living room, not the Disney vault (no Song of the South release date Walt?). Like the foreign films, throw in one or two, and then move on. Along with Princess Mononoke, I also threw in WALL-E (I defy you to find a children’s film with imagery as powerful as the first 10 minutes of that movie…and no, the heartbreaking montage from Up doesn’t count). For me, if I put Aladdin up there, I’d have to put The Little Mermaid up there, along with Beauty and the Beast, Lion King…
You can’t find someone who is going to agree with every movie you love. Hell, even my buddy Jared (pictured here) and I only had 99% agreement when Netflix still allowed friends (granted, that was with 3000+ movies, but it still was not 100%). So you need to take some risks. No one’s going to get to upset with The Shawshank Redemption or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but Brick, The Thing, and Lost Horizon probably turned a few heads.
Hopefully your movie collection is evolving, maybe you even have a few movies that didn’t make the cut that you feel sorry for, or it might just be that you want to change things up. Get a rotation going and just trade out a few movies every once in a while. Next up on my roster is Iron Giant, The Lookout, Oldboy, and probably Mackenna’s Gold. For me, it keeps me interested and makes sure the movie selection doesn’t become stale. Plus, if you have frequent guests, they might even notice that you replaced a few movies! You know, it’s never happened to me, but there’s still hope for you!
At the end of the day, it’s your movie collection, and you’re allowed to include some left field picks. For instance, I included Commando. Is it because it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen? No, of course not. But it is the best worst movie I’ve ever seen, and I felt that it deserved to be on display. Just make sure it’s a bold pick that you can defend, and you’ll be the talk of the town.
Now, go re-organize your movie collection!