A Psychotronic Childhood: Learning from B-movies

Whitehead, Colson. “A Psychotronic Childhood: Learning from B-movies.” New Yorker. 4 June 2012.

I dwelled in a backward age, full of darkness, before the VCR boom, before streaming and on-demand, before DVRs roamed the cable channels at night, scavenging content. Either a movie was on or it wasn’t. If I was lucky, I’d come home from elementary school to find WABC’s “The 4:30 Movie” in the middle of Monster Week, wherein vengeful amphibians chased Ray Milland like death-come-a-hopping (“Frogs”), or George Hamilton emoted fiercely in what one assumes was the world’s first telekinesis whodunnit (“The Power”). Weekends, “Chiller Theatre,” on WPIX, played horror classics that provided an education on the subjects of sapphic vampires and ill-considered head transplants. I snacked on Oscar Mayer baloney, which I rolled into cigarette-size payloads of processed meat, and although I didn’t know it at the time, started taking notes about artists and monsters.

For me, it was public domain horror tapes bought from flea-markets and VHS cassettes from a video store liquidator. Otherwise I can relate.

Read the rest here.

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