Supernatural send-off: Robert Singer revisits the black-and-white 'Monster Movie'
Supernatural has never been scared of an out-of-the-box idea, whether we're talking about a time loop episode, a musical, or even a Scooby-Doo crossover. But only once did the show ever deliver an episode entirely in black-and-white.
"We were always looking for off-the-wall ideas," says co-showrunner Robert Singer. "Doing an homage to the old horror movies sounded like a good idea, but how do we put the Supernatural spin on that?"
The answer was to introduce a very lonely, movie-obsessed shapeshifter (played by Todd Stashwick) in the season 4 episode "Monster Movie," an hour that found humor in all of the old horror movie tropes, such as vampires hating garlic ... on their pizza? "I'm pretty well steeped in those movies and [show creator] Eric [Kripke] is a fan, so we knew these movies by heart," says Singer, who directed the episode. "I was a very big fan of James Whale, who did the original Frankenstein, and I just had a real fun time doing [this episode]."
There are two cuts in particular that Singer remembers fondly. "Todd Stashwick leaps over this fence, it was very sort of heroic and vampire-ish, and then escapes on a motor scooter," Singer says with a laugh, before continuing, "Then there was another one where he's down in his lair. We didn't know exactly where it was but it looked like an old castle, and a doorbell rings and you come up and you realize he's just in the basement of this suburban home. There were things like that that were just great."
A fan-favorite moment came when Dean (Jensen Ackles) found himself unwilling playing a role in the shapeshifter's own movie, complete with Ackles wearing Lederhosen. "Jensen felt kind of silly. He was like, 'Really I gotta do this?' To help him out, I put on a pair of Lederhosen when we did that scene just so he would feel a little better," Singer remembers.
At the end of the day, the hour worked not only because it was creative, not only because it was hilarious, but because the monster story had depth. "Eric and I used to talk about that if you give the villains or the monsters of the piece a personality and have their own story, that those always made for the best episodes," says Singer. "And when Todd did his monologue at the end, you really felt for the guy."
Eleven seasons later, "Monster Movie" remains a favorite in the fandom, and Singer agrees. "Our wild swings always seem to work out well one way or another," says Singer. "That one just clicked. It was a good script, it was wonderful casting with Todd, and I had a ball trying to recreate some old horror movie tripes. That's always one of my favorite episodes, not only of the ones that I did, but just of the entire series."
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.