Thursday, June 24, 2010
THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON
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.