Aug 13, 2021

Top 10 Beefcake Horror Movies: the 1950s

My brother and I spent many Saturday nights in the 1970s in our attic room, watching old horror and sci-fi movies on Chuck Acri's Creature Feature on our portable black & white tv set (it was past our bedtime, so we kept the sound low, so our parents wouldn't hear).

Although nearly all of them had a heterosexist "fade-out kiss" ending, there were plenty of buddy-bonding scenes as two guys compete over a girl, and then work together when the monster kidnaps her.

And everyone knew that you didn't watch a monster movie just for the plot.  The guys took their clothes off.  A lot.

Here are the most beefcake-heavy horror movies of the 1950s.  Most of them have been parodied on MST3K, but try to get the originals, so Joel and the Bots don't interfere with your view of the biceps.

1. Robot Monster (1952).  An alien that looks like a gorilla in a space helmet destroys the world, then terrorizes the survivors, including gay actor George Nader, who forgot to pack a shirt.

2. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). Richard Carlson displaying his beefy, hirsute chest in a swimsuit, chasing the monster and buddy-bonding with fellow ichythologist Richard Denning.  (See also Richard Carlson;s chest in Tormented.)

3. Revenge of the Creature (1955).  In the sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon, John Bromfield, right (who was apparently gay) provides the revealing swimsuit and boyfriend John Agar, left, provides the muscles.

4. The Creature Walks Among Us (1956). Yet another sequel, with Western hunk Boomer Morrow, left providing the muscles and boyfriend Rex Reason, right, the revealing swimsuit.  How did that get past the censors?

5. I was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957).  Body of a boy! Mind of a monster! Soul of an unearthly thing!  Under the monster mask (left) was bisexual bodybuilder Gary Conway, the object of Dr. Frankenstein's unabashed homoerotic fantasy. Not to worry, he eventually gets a new face.

6. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). Grant Williams shrinks right out of his clothes.  Unfortunately, he quickly finds something to cover his impressive physique.

7. The Amazing Colossal Man (1957). Glenn Langdon has the opposite problem, growing right out of his clothes (except for his underwear).  He immediately goes on a rampage.

 8. She-Gods of Shark Reef (1958). Don Durant and Bill Cord are shipwrecked on an island full of flirtatious women, and immediately lose their clothes.

9. Teenage Cave Man (1958).  A young Robert Vaughn, the future Man from U.N.C.L.E., as the nameless Cave Boy, who displays his chest while discovering the Big Secret.

10. War of the Colossal Beast (1958).  Glenn Langdon refused to do this sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man, so muscular Dean Parker was cast, and given a small eye problem so audiences wouldn't know the difference.

Dean Parker appeared in only one other movie: The Cyclops (1957), where he also flexed his muscles in a monster mask. Apparently that was enough.

11. Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959). Bodybuilder Ken Clark strips down to fight them.  He also displayed his body and bulge in South Pacific and several modern-day dramas.


  1. Generally speaking, bulges and even blink and you'll miss it dick slips could be permissible. The theory was that you would see bulges IRL on the street, and nobody would notice the dick slip because that would require having the technology to go frame by frame, the technology to spread this information more efficiently, and places or mailing lists for interested parties.

    Finally remember this is not the 00s. Shorts really are short. B movies exist, and at least three genres call for a loincloth at least some of the time. People are in that sweet spot on the sliding scale of sexual repression that they can't see gay subtext.

    1. Maybe but some actors like John Bromfield seems to be wearing the tiniest swim suit the censors could allow

    2. Wweissmuller's loincloth, and loincloths in some Westerns and caveman movies, are cut higher.

    3. In pre-code films you could get away with a lot- even silent movies had male nudity look at the 1925 "Ben Hur" with gay actor Ramon Novarro

    4. I was just surprised only Jane got naked in the swimming scene.

      A lot depends on era as well. The 70s with Extremism even had Sweet Sweetback's opening scene; today, any director who filmed his 14-year-old son in an unsimulated sex scene would be sent to prison, and promptly shivved.

      At the same time, I was surprised the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon had a penis monster. But at the time, the emphasis was on protecting kids from the gay.

  2. I would add "The Monster of Piedras Blancas" (1959) scary monster and good looking hero- you can see on good print on You Tube

  3. "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein" is so gay it goes beyond subtext


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