Peculiarium, Portland, OR, 2018

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Growing up in California’s Bay Area, I would spend Saturday nights watching the now famous Creature Features on television. Creature Features was a show hosted by Bob Wilkins (and later John Stanley) that showed some of the best, and worst, horror shows available. Wilkins, with his gigantic cigar in hand, is reputed to have quipped during the break of one, particularly lousy show that he was going to sell the film at a garage sale in Vallejo the next morning.

Although I remember being disappointed at times, it’s not the bad movies that I recall, but the good ones. Two, in particular, stand out. One was of a hobby horse that under the right circumstances would come to life and terrorize people. I can remember the whinnying of the horse, and shots of it taken from ground level as it reared up, hoofs at the ready, to attack. Another was of space aliens who crashed in a forest and made their homes in the trees. From there they let their tails hang down, electrocuting unsuspecting passers-by, and presumably feeding on them. The fog in the forest and the sound the aliens made are both sensations that stay with me. I don’t recall the names of the films, and I haven’t made an effort to locate them, mostly I suppose, out of fear that the adult eye will ruin the child’s experience of wonder. I want those aliens and that horse to remain safely in my mind, scaring me as they have most of my life.

Although it’s not scary, each time I pass by the Peculiarium in Portland, with its oddities and homages to the horror genre, I’m reminded of Creature Features. This image was taken during a cloudy day when the light wasn’t too harsh, which reduces shadows and reflections and allows you to view into the globe and onto the creature’s face. At the same time, I love how parts of the environment reflect in the top of the sphere. But mostly it’s the chills that get me, the creepiness of the statue, the same sensation I felt with Creature Features.