Where Monsters Dwell

By Tom Soter

It is probably the jauntiest tune ever heard on something described in the opening credits as a "new terror show." But it came out of necessity. When Tom ("Siny") Sinclair and I recorded WHERE MONSTERS DWELL in 1970, we needed the sound effect of falling rain, and this Paul Mauriat record I had, THE MANY MOODS OF PAUL MAURIAT, included a thunderstorm as part of its many moods, and the storm led into the jaunty theme, so history was made through happenstance.

The dichotomy between terror and jauntiness was appropriate, however, since WHERE MONSTERS DWELL could not be taken seriously. It was one of our adaptations of Marvel comic books ("adapting" as in reading them pretty much straight off the page). We had done the same with JOE AGENT OF V.A.T., which utilized some 1950s anti-Communist Captain America stories that were so bad they were camp. That was also the case with WHERE MONSTERS DWELL, which took its title and stories from a comic book of that name that reprinted terror/fantasy stories from Marvel Comics's early 1960s editions of TALES OF SUSPENSE, TALES TO ASTONISH, and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY.

In any event, WHERE MONSTERS DWELL's first (and perhaps only) episode is a minor classic of inanity. Featuring Siny as Hans Grubnick (using his shiftless low-life "Ron Neilsen" voice, though, curiously, the credited actor has the name of the character he plays), the tale involves a water demon that attacks a small town. Like a bad TWILIGHT ZONE episode, the story has a twist ending full of heavy-handed irony, but the performances – arch and over-the-top – are what make this WMD a classic. Enjoy it – and also the bizarre collection of commercials that ran with it when we "broadcast" it on a BEC day.

Listen to:
I Alone Know the Dread Secret of Gor-Kill, the Lurking Demon
Taped: 1970
In the first of what is billed as a "new terror show," European villager Hans Grubnick discovers a deadly secret about a rampaging monster – but no one will believe him. Based on a story by Stan Lee. Grubnick: Ron Neilsen.