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Home > Movies > 31 Monsters #6: The Evil Spawn (aka Me!)

31 Monsters #6: The Evil Spawn (aka Me!)

October 6th, 2009

During my year in Hollywood, I briefly fell in with filmmaker Fred Olen Ray. Still active today, he made a lengthy career out of made-for-home-video exploitation flicks. Thanks to Ray I spent a week in legendary Bronson Canyon alongside Robert Quarry, Robby the Robot and the “Re-Animator” himself, Jeffrey Combs, making the subterranean epic The Phantom Empire. And, in one of the greatest moments of my life, I was kissed on the cheek by Sybil Danning after I drove her home from the set in my clunker. (That’s right, Saint Exmin was in my car. Suck it, beyotches.)

All of which is beside the point, except that I like talking about it. (Especially the kiss.) Plus, it helps to explain how it was I found myself wearing the top only half of a giant insect suit.

Evil Spawn (aka Alien Within, Alive by Night and Deadly Sting) was a rip-off loving tribute to The Wasp Woman. Both were about aging beauties who used experimental formulas to regain their looks, only to turn into ravenous insects by night. (In other words, they were biopics of Megan Fox in the year 2029.)

The uncredited remake was headlined by Bobbie Bresee, who was for a few short years a horror movie “scream queen.” She was also the Playboy Bunny/trophy wife of radio historian Frank Bresee, whose primary contribution to our culture was the drinking board game Pass Out. I saw Bobbie’s big screen debut in Mausoleum while on a drive-in movie date, and first met her at a sci-fi convention in Los Angeles. She personalized her photo “Maybe some day we’ll work together! If you stay in film production.” Little did she know that about six months later I’d be in her bedroom holding a film clapboard in front of her face.

Fortunately, I didn't wind up in Forry Ackerman's bedroom.

After my stellar work on The Phantom Empire–which involved driving a motor home full of feces*–I was invited back to help out for a couple of days on Evil Spawn. Filming took place at Frank and Bobbie’s own house. And so it was that I found myself hovering over Bobbie’s bed, slating the film like no film had ever been slated before.

I found it tremendously off-putting. I was alongside an entire film crew, plus husband Frank. And we were in her actual bedroom, watching her perform actual simulated sex with some other dude. For modesty’s sake, Bobbie undressed under the bedclothes, except for that time when the sheets flipped up and Clapper Boy got a full view. Did I mention that Frank was there?

Later on, I learned that they needed to film a couple of pick-up shots of the titular fiend, and the guy who was normally in the suit wasn’t available. They said, “Hey, you’re the right size!” And so came my first and final appearance as a movie monster.

First we shot a scene in which Bobbie’s screen lover, standing near a sliding glass door, was speared through the chest with an insect claw. My friends, I was that claw. I crouched below the phony chest wearing the hand of the rubber suit and gesticulating madly as the fake blood rained down.

Then it was time for me to enter the belly of the beast. Since the Evil Spawn would never be seen from the waist down–this was the sort of film in which plenty of expenses were spared–there was only an upper half. It did at least have articulated antennae, and Bobbie herself ran the controls for those.

evilspawn02

According to the script, I was supposed to smash through the glass door, but in fact they simply slid it open and let me stumble through the drape. Internally, I thought of every monster I’d ever seen and tried to be my most menacing and horrific. We did several takes. Those drapes were thoroughly menaced, let me tell you.

It was the middle of the night by the time we wrapped, and even Southern California could get pretty chilly around New Year’s. A couple of days later, I caught a horrible cold.

It was at least another half year–after I’d moved back to the Midwest–that I finally got a chance to see my movie debut. It was then that I learned I’d been so good that they’d cut my breakthrough, drapery-shredding role down to about six frames of video. As Evil Spawn taught me, Hollywood fame can be a fickle mistress.

Here’s the entire sequence. Keep in mind that I’m not only the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it monster, I’m also the claw. I’m even the guy holding the “bug vision” lens in front of the camera!

*That’s a story for another day.

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