Young Gods and Monsters

Young Gods and Monsters

“I shall use only the youth!
If I can create—out of
different parts—a youth
whom I shall instruct
and control, I’ll prove
that only in youth is
there any hope for the
salvation of mankind”
—Whit Bissell, I Was
A Teenage Frankenstein

The subversive shift—
That “I Was a…” movies
Suggested—showed already
In the Fifties—that audience
Identification—was shifting
(or had already shifted)
away from straights—
toward teenage monsters.

I Was a Teenage Werewolf—
And many of its teenage
Sexploitation ilk—glamorized
The teenage subversive
Pleasures of youthful sex
And monstrous rebellion—
Just like Elvis the Pelvis
Provoked radio panic…

Wilt Bissell even more—
Than Colin Clive, Basil
Rathbone, James Whale,
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
Andy Warhol, Peter Cushing,
And The Rocky Horror Picture
Show’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter—
Tinged with gothic gayness

Mad scientist Wilt Bissell—
Even more elitist and fey
Than Herr Doktor Pretorius
With his chicken hawk dreams
Of breeding young teen gods
And adolescent monsters to
Take over the polluted gene-
Pool of Planet Frankenstein

No wonder TPTB feared—
Baby Boomers smooching
At the Snake Pit Drive In
Every weekend—with adults
Portrayed as pro-hetero-
Capitalist Mad Scientist
Villainous Authority Figures
Obsessed with Control

What to do with them—
All those young promiscuous
Teenage Monsters drugged
With passion, brightness &
Intelligence—the Cold War
Progeny of the American
Eisenhower Fifties—spoiled
Self-absorbed narcissists?

What about postwar angst—
US leisure culture, fears of
Technology/Holocaust, rising
Power of youth, the hint of
Forbidden sexuality—as well
As the shocking Negro hips
Of Elvis the Pelvis—King of
New Rock & Roll culture?

“Tonight I’m going to lead
you out of this darkness—
we’ll go among people
discretely of course—and
you’ll be able to pick the
face that pleases you—
amongst all the youngmen
out there on Lover’s Lane!!!

Thus Walt Bissell—
Playing Mephistopheles
Seduces his teen creation—
All pumped up and ready
To go—divulging to audiences
The exquisite schlocky
Future of their Jail Bait
Horror Flick Future!!!

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