Bert Ira Gordon (born September 24, 1922) is a former movie director best known for his crudely-made science fiction and fantasy films, eight of which have been featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
A one-time maker of television commercials, Gordon specialized in "gimmick" movies, usually involving giants or gigantic animals. In 1954, he co-directed Serpent Island with Tom Gries. Gordon then began directing movies on his own. His first two films, King Dinosaur and Beginning of the End, involved giant lizards and locusts, respectively. The Cyclops showed a man transformed into a one-eyed monster by atomic radiation, and The Amazing Colossal Man, made for American International, explored similar themes and was a major hit. Gordon followed this with Attack of the Puppet People, about a scientist who shrinks people to doll size, while The Spider (aka Earth vs the Spider) was about a giant spider that attacks a small town. In 1958 he directed War of the Colossal Beast, which was the only time he made a direct sequel to one of his films.
Gordon tried other forms of fantasy film during the 1960s, including fantasy (The Magic Sword) and the supernatural (Tormented). He returned to a giantism story for Village of the Giants, which showed juvenile delinquents who grow to huge proportions and featured rock & roll music and other elements of the youth culture of the time. During the 1970s, he made Food of the Gods and Empire of the Ants (both loosely based on works by H.G. Wells), which dealt with giantism and featured typical Bert I. Gordon special effects. His output diminished during the 1980s, and he has directed only one film since 1990: 2014's Secrets of a Psychopath, for which he also wrote the screenplay.
Gordon often did the special effects for his films in collaboration with his wife, Flora M. Gordon. Gordon's "special effects" usually consisted of rear-projection enlargements and not much else.
- Father of actress Susan Gordon, who played Sandy in Tormented.
- Nicknamed "Mister Big" by Forrest J Ackerman, both for his initials and for his many '50s giant creature movies.
- Educated at the University of Wisconsin.
- Holds the distinction of having directed more movies shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000 than any other person (though Roger Corman produced more films used on MST3K, he only directed six to Gordon's eight).
- Began making home movies in 16mm at the age of nine.
- Appeared in a retrospective on the MST3K DVD release of Tormented, along with his daughter Susan and actor Joe Turkel.
- A career retrospective and interview is featured in issue #153 of the magazine Rue Morgue.
- King Dinosaur (Experiment #210) - director, producer
- The Amazing Colossal Man (Experiment #309) - director, producer, writer
- Earth vs the Spider (Experiment #313) - director, producer
- War of the Colossal Beast (Experiment #319) - director, producer
- The Magic Sword (Experiment #411) - director, producer
- Tormented (Experiment #414) - director, producer
- Beginning of the End (Experiment #517) - director, producer
- Village of the Giants (Experiment #523) - director, producer
- Attack of the Puppet People (RiffTrax) - director, producer
- Satan's Princess 1990 (Director/Producer)
- The Big Bet 1985 (Director/Producer/Screenwriter)
- Let's Do It 1982 (Director)
- Burned at the Stake 1981 (Director)
- The One and Only 1978 (Screenwriter)
- Empire of the Ants 1977 (Director/Producer/Special Effects/Screenwriter)
- The Food of the Gods 1976 (Director/Producer/Screenwriter)
- The Mad Bomber 1972 (Director/Cinematographer/Producer/Screenwriter)
- The Witching 1972 (Producer/Screenwriter/Director)
- How to Succeed With Sex 1970 (Screenwriter/Director)
- Picture Mommy Dead 1966 (Director/Producer)
- Village of the Giants 1965 (Director/Producer/Special Effects)
- The Magic Sword 1962 (Producer/Director)
- Tormented 1960 (Producer/Special Effects/Director)
- The Boy and the Pirates 1960 (Director/Producer)
- Earth vs the Spider 1958 (Director/Producer)
- War of the Colossal Beast 1958 (Director/Producer/Special Effects/Screenwriter)
- Attack of the Puppet People 1958 (Director/Producer/Screenwriter)
- The Cyclops 1957 (Director/Producer/Special Effects/Screenwriter)
- The Amazing Colossal Man 1957 (Director/Producer/Special Effects/Screenwriter)
- Beginning of the End 1957 (Director/Producer/Special Effects)
- King Dinosaur 1955 (Director/Producer)
- Serpent Island 1954 (Director/Producer/Screenwriter)