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The Subversive Queer: Creature Feature, Vincent Price and Ultraman

k2-_c9b9879e-7872-4f28-9c8e-d978b00d43a7.v2I recall curling up on a faded velvet sofa with my brother on a Saturday afternoon while a storm raged outside. Alone at home, we would watch Creature Feature; the weekly instalment of Japanese monster flicks or ‘b’ movies featuring Vincent Price or Bela Lugosi. I was only five or six at the time, but there was something about those films that spoke to the growing flame of queerness inside me. My brother watched them because there was nothing else to do, but I watched them for something else. There was something in the character of those monsters and aliens with which I identified. Yes, I can see that maybe it was just the angst; the natural affinity with the misfit. But it was more than that. Maybe it’s just me, but Price and Lugosi seemed to imbue their characters with a sensibility which , as a mature homosexual male, I can only describe as queer. There was always that sense of the forbidden desire, the blood-lust , that for whatever reason always translated for me as desire for another of the same sex.

Similarly – and perhaps more significant from my youthful queer perspective – the Japanese monster movies ubiquitous to the TV line-up of the late 60’s and early 70’s seemed to project a gay/lesbian subtext. The male human protagonists were ostensibly heterosexual but always seemed to give off a ‘gay’ vibe. The ‘creatures’ – such as Godzila and Mothra came across to me as gay or lesbian, respectively.

OK. I know you’re thinking: what the &*ck is he talking about? But consider it. Recall those old films. Remember those lisping vampires and werewolves. Think about Ultraman in his skin-tight suit; jumping and posing. Maybe it was just me – probably – but wasn’t there some subliminal message in there just for us queer kids?

Color me crazy.

Or not.

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