Louis Zieja: Three Ekphrastic Monster Movie Noises for Haunted Passages

Haunted Passages: Louis Zieja

Them Ants (’54)
The sounds the giant ants emit in the film were the calls of bird-voiced tree frogs mixed in with the calls of a wood thrush, hooded warbler, and red-bellied woodpecker.” —Them! (1954 Film) Wikipedia

It’s a sound reminiscent of rot, of decay, of hunger,
the realization that we are just calories
for an unknowable colony.

This drone oscillates across the desert
past paramedic and police officer
so startled that they don’t notice
that the catatonic child
in back of the ambulance
has arisen.

In concept it is not emitting past mandibles
but manufactured by appendages scraping abdomens.
In actuality it is the sound of amphibians trying to get laid,
chopped up and spliced with razor blade and clear tape
by some sound design sorcerers;
toss some of that bird song that picnickers adore
into the cauldron and the spell is complete.

Behold! The vibration that pervades your skull when you stare into the abyss’ compound eye,
the sound of what once seemed so tiny but now dominates your vision,
the sound of death across an indeterminate distance.

Predator Creature (’87)

High Priest Optimus Prime sacrifices a horseshoe crab on a sound booth altar
boom mic probing carapace capturing
pedipals thrashing,
gnathobases interlocking
scrapping against each other
in upside down
pain and panic

but then Optimus Prime mockingly imitates these death throes,
reduces it all down to
clicks    of    his    tongue                     rumbles   of   his    throat.
It’s a cruel parody,
taunting, sarcastic
for the main ingredient in this spell isn’t the energy released upon the crab’s death
but the simmering rage
of its ancient
ten-eyed god.

The Blob Blob (’58)

The blob makes no noise, surprising since its amorphous shape and movement suggests stomach churning bubbles and glugs, slurps and gurgles.
The inexperienced Pennsylvania crew arranged a satanic orgy to source these sounds. Glyphs and sigils were painted and state of the art hyperbolic microphones were discretely placed in the centerpiece lube dispensers and amphetamine spreads.
Unfortunately, due to improper preparatory incantations, all that remains on the recordings are screams suddenly cut short and then the opening notes of “Beware of the Blob,” the novelty theme later attributed to Burt Bacharach.
The blob creature itself remains silent.

Louis Zieja (he/him) is a cinematographer, collage artist, and writer originally from Philadelphia. His poetry has been recently published in the Ghost City Review, Rogue Agent, Neologism Poetry Journal, and Rat’s Ass Review, and is upcoming in Bowery Gothic, Gone Lawn, and Triggerfish Critical Review. His comic book series The Subliminals, a collaboration with artist Anton Blake, will be published in 2021. Twitter/Instagram: @IDriveACampfire.

Image: merrimackriver.com

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