Thursday, June 24, 2010
Pacific-International, 1959, Director: Robert Clarke
This is another monster whose image I’d been familiar with through my collection of horror books and magazines long before seeing the film. Dr. Gilbert McKenna, played by the director, is a hard drinking, lady killing, atomic research scientist who gets exposed to radioactive material, which causes him to become a scaly lizard mutant whenever he’s out in the sun, thus making him a creature of the light rather than the night. This transformation has something to do with the sun’s gamma-rays bringing about a state of backwards evolution (not sure how that works), ultimately causing poor Dr. McKenna to lose his mind and go on a killing spree. The movie is silly, at times violent, and a lot of fun, ending with the usual fate of the 1950's radiation induced monster. But I sure couldn't help feeling sorry for the poor guy. This film was later redubbed, with new footage added, and re-titled What’s up, Hideous Sun Demon (1983), as if it weren’t silly enough the way it was. Check out Image Entertainment's DVD releases of both titles.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Aka Invasion of the Hell Creatures, American-International, 1957, Director: Edward L. Cahn
When I was a boy, I had this little orange rubber figure of the film’s titular creature. At the time, I had no idea my monster toy had anything to do with a movie by which I’d eventually become intrigued, and I’m sure either my mother sold it at a garage sale, or it’s lost in a closet somewhere; but I remember my little creature having big eyes protruding out of a huge veined head. This character had come with a set of other plastic monsters, one of which I now remember as the giant reptilian Ymir from the sci-fi classic 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957).
A few years ago, I discovered a book called Sleaze Creatures: An Illustrated Guide to Obscure Hollywood Horror Movies 1956-1959 written by D. Earl Worth. The book features black and white photos with a written plot of each film featured within its pages. One of the films featured is Invasion of the Saucer-Men. I’ve never seen this movie, but I am now familiar with the story, have watched the trailer via YouTube, and have finally gotten a good look at these little green (brown?) men. I’ve also heard there is a legitimate DVD release on its way, so I’m crossing my fingers and keeping a look out. If anyone out there happens to have a VHS copy or bootleg on DVD, please feel free to send to me an early Halloween gift.
I was at my parents' house today, searching through some of the old toys my mom had kept from my childhood, and look what I came across: