The horror world let out a collective cry in mourning this past week when we learned of the death of sci-fi creature feature stalwart Bert I. Gordon.
Gordon worked amongst contemporaries including William Castle and Roger Corman to become a corner stone in a new wave of fun creature-feature drive-in cinema. Beginning in 1955, Bert assumed the director’s chair for the first in a series of sci-fi cult classics with King Dinosaur.
Not just a director, it would become Gordon’s trademark to not only write and produce his projects, but also serve as the special effects make-up designer. Unknown to Gordon at the time, his multi-tasking ways would help carve a path for several legendary low-budget filmmakers to proceed him.
Throughout the 1950s and into the 60s Gordon produced a steady stream of science fiction romps as well as some straight-forward horror tales. His most well-known pieces are undoubtedly 1958’s Earth Vs. The Spider and the 1966 hag horror tale Picture Mommy Dead starring Zsa Zsa Gabor and Martha Hyer.
Keeping with the zeitgeist, Gordon branched out into sex comedies in the late 60s and early 70s. Crafting the memorable nature-strikes-back tales Food For the Gods and Empire of the Ants perfectly encapsulated what was selling tickets in the mid to late 70s, even if they haven’t aged so well.
Gordon would continue to work sporadically through the 80s and 90s, but found his widest audience during that time through interviews, documentaries, and retrospectives. His last project was released in 2014 after a decade’s long hiatus.
Affectionately known as B.I.G., Gordon’s legacy will live on through releases from wonderful companies such as Shout! Factory introducing his catalogue to a whole new generation.
Bert Gordon is survived by his second wife Eva and his daughters Christina, Carol, and Patricia. He was 100 years old at the time of his passing, rest easy, Bert.