Bert I. Gordon, an American filmmaker and sci-fi director known for his low-budget monster movies in the 1950s and ’60s, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday. He was 100.
His daughter, Patricia Gordon, confirmed the news of his death.
Shortly after WWII, when Americans feared the impacts of nuclear testing and radiation, Gordon created mutated monster movies that wreaked havoc on the world. Despite his many low-budget films, Gordon’s movies featured stars like Ida Lupino and Orson Welles.
Nevertheless, the apocalyptic titles and jarring movie posters weren’t enough to keep them from flopping and receiving negative reviews, according to the New York Times.
Gordon’s career spans over six decades, as he produced, directed, and wrote 25 films. He’s most known for “The Cyclops” (1957), “Village of the Giants” (1965), “Necromancy” (1972), “The Food of the Gods” (1976), “Empire of the Ants” (1977) and “The Amazing Colossal Man” (1957), the last of which was brought to greater attention in the 1990s as the focus of an episode of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
“King Dinosaur” (1955) was Gordon’s first film. As the New York Times states, “he shot the movie in one week with a budget of $15,000 (approximately $168,073.03 in 2023 dollars), and only had four actors.” That film’s plot was about four astronauts landing on a new planet searching for human life. However, they fought dinosaurs and giant insects before blowing up the creatures with an atomic bomb.
Though Gordon’s movies received negative reviews, his films were well suited for drive-in theaters during the 1950s and early ’60s, the New York Times noted in its obituary. He also gained a cult following for his wild storylines, larger-than-life villains, and homemade effects.
In addition to his daughter Patricia, Gordon is survived by his wife, their daughter, Christina Gordon; another daughter, Carol Gordon; six grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. After collapsing at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., he died in a hospital, his daughter told the New York Times.