Let's have a look today at the now-vintage movies that once gave us our first taste of the para realm and our love for the unknown. I'm breaking it down by decade.
The 1950s led us into the SciFi Era big time. It also introduced us to expeditions (the vogue at the time) that came across amazing "creatures" (yeti, Bigfoot) and haunting/gothic movies were in vogue.
Creature From the Black Lagoon
A strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study. This film got us wondering about what might be hidden in the ground, archaeological digs, and the implications of a cryptid in the marshes.
The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas
A kindly English botanist and a gruff American scientist lead an expedition to the Himalayas in search of the legendary Yeti. This got all of us in the adventuring age of the 50s, the concept of an ice man that could attack Everest climbers and the like.
The Thing From Another World
Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a blood-thirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost. This SciFi fav brought across the concept that aliens might not arrive as we imagined or be what we thought they would be. Once again, they promoted the concept of adventuring/remote areas and strange creatures.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates. This movie affected viewers with the concept that people may not be what we think, that aliens may take over our bodies and minds and even our identities.
Hold That Ghost!
Two bumbling service station attendants (Abbott and Costello) are left as the sole beneficiaries in a gangster's will. Their trip to claim their fortune is sidetracked when they are stranded in a haunted house along with several other strangers. This was part of a series of great Abbott and Costello spooky movies that were bumbling and let us see something scary without being terrified.
House on Haunted Hill
A millionaire offers ten thousand dollars to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with he and his wife. This movie made us fall in love with the concept of staying the night in a spooky house.
The 1960s provided us with a bigger jump into the occult, witches, past lives, zombies, ghosts, and more. We were starting to shift from SciFi into paranormal as our focus.
UFOs: The Truth About Flying Saucers
Interviews and documentary footage combine with the fictional story of an air-force pilot who encounters aliens. This documentary opened us up to talk more readily about these crazy new-fangled saucers showing up.
A scientist doing research on the paranormal invites two women to a haunted mansion. One of the participants soon starts losing her mind. This was perhaps the big entry for most future ghost investigators to want to the enter this line of study. It was a really good example of a first movie concept of people investigating a haunted building.
Night of the Living Dead
A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse. This movie brought to the forefront two concepts; end of world chaos and zombies. We were never the same after that.
The dark decade of the 70s seriously catapulted us into ghosts, Ouija, haunted houses, Bigfoot, possession, and you name it! Children of the 70s were indoctrinated into the para realm as part of the natural world.
The Legend of Hell House
A team consisting of a physicist, his wife, a young female psychic and the only survivor of the previous visit are sent to the notorious Hell House to prove/disprove survival after death. Previous visitors have either been killed or gone mad, and it is up to the team to survive a full week in isolation, and solve the mystery of the Hell House. This para investigation movie also introduced us viewers to the concept that hauntings could be grounded in science and that we really don't know who we are talking to on the other side.
The Amityville Horror
Newlyweds move into a house where a murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away. This haunted house movie was perhaps the most pivotal one. It brought out the concept of pseudo-based on real life to sell a legend/movie and a real day to day living in a super haunted house theme that had us hooked and terrified.
When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter. Another based-on-a-real case scenario that was change for the movie, but the message was most horrifying; an innocent child could be possessed by the devil.
A young, abused and timid 17-year-old girl discovers she has telekinesis and gets pushed to the limit on the night of the school prom by a humiliating prank. Telekinesis was just becoming a really popular subject to discuss in the para realm and movies came out right and left like "Scanners" and "Firestarter" that made us shiver at the concept of someone's mind commanding actions.
The Legend of Boggy Creek
A documentary-style drama which questions the existence of a monster in an Arkansas swamp. It is really more of a glimpse at lower-class swamp culture from the seventies, though, than a monster flick. This campy but a-dorkable pseudo-documentary about a swamp-living Bigfoot was terrifying at the time. We had no considered Bigfoot was in our own backyards and in the Deep South. We had to wonder what we would do if we ran into one.
Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot
Scientists mount an expedition to find a Bigfoot-type creature. This slow-moving documentary was also a favorite to learn more about these supposed "apes" in the woods.
The Mysterious Monsters
One of the many notorious 70's "unknown" documentaries, The Mysterious Monsters covers topics such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Pictures, sounds, and videos of these two monsters are examined by Peter Graves, the host. Psychics, hypnotism, and the history of Bigfoot in many ancient cultures is also scrutinized. This crypto-themed documentary was well done and had lots of evidence and witnesses and was very inventive for its time. It certainly convinced us we must know more about these hidden creatures.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen. This movie had the public for the first time really considering what it might be like to have a close encounter and how we may communicate without shared language. It left us with much wonder.
Note: I don't usually think of Bigfoot as para, but given that we have yet to prove their existe
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