Bert I. Gordon, who was given the nickname “Mr. B.I.G.” by Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J. Ackerman not just because it matched his initials but also because it matched the director’s favorite big-screen subject — giant monsters — died today. He was 100. His daughter Patricia Gordon confirmed the filmmaker’s death to the New York Times.
Gordon often produced, directed, wrote and created the special effects for his movies, which were shot on ultra-low budgets over the course of a couple weeks. According to the Times his first film, 1955’s King Dinosaur, was shot with four actors over seven days for about $15,000.
In addition to monsters, Gordon’s films featured screen legends picking up a few days’ work. They included Orson Welles, Basil Rathbone, Ida Lupino, Lon Chaney, Don Amiche, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Peter Graves.
But the monsters were the real stars. His two dozen of so films include a cyclops, dinosaurs, massive mealworms, oversized rats, huge spiders and grasshoppers, dragons and — possibly most frightening — giant teenagers.
Among Gordon’s best-known works are The Cyclops (1957), Village of the Giants (1965), Necromancy (1972), The Food of the Gods (1976) and Empire of the Ants (1977).
Many of his films were distributed by American International Pictures, which often paired Gordon’s movies with another scary project for a double feature.