Thursday, 20 April 2017

Giant from the Unknown (1958)


A rather cheap and pedestrian sci fi film with an absurd premise, lots of “stuff” happening, rather unconvincing acting, somewhat dull dialogue and a largely unimpressive “monster’ character. Perfect viewing fare for a rainy afternoon!


Directed by Richard E. Cunha
Produced by Marc Frederic, Arthur A. Jacobs
Written by Ralph Brooke, Frank Hart Taussig
Music by Albert Glasser
Cinematography: Richard E. Cunha
Distributed by Astor Pictures
Running time: 77 minutes



Cast


Ed Kemmer: Wayne Brooks
Sally Fraser: Janet Cleveland
Bob Steele: Sheriff Parker
Morris Ankrum: Dr. Frederick Cleveland
Buddy Baer: Vargas the Giant
Oliver Blake: Cafe Proprietor
Jolene Brand: Ann Brown (as Joline Brand)
Billy Dix: Indian Joe
Gary Crutcher: Charlie Brown
Ned Davenport & Ewing Miles Brown: Townsmen


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Trailer



In your endless wanderings throughout the 1950s classic sci-fi universe, you manage to trudge into yet another film world, this time with your coat collar turned up high around your neck and your coat buttoned up tightly against the onslaught of wind and rain from a thunderstorm. As you make your way through a mountain forest, you fail to notice a warning sign in the form of a 16th century axe embedded in a log of wood.

Read on for more…..

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Fiend Without a Face (1958)


More than just another atomic cautionary tale that is saved by a rip-roaring climax with a pretty nifty use of stop motion animation.



Directed by Arthur Crabtree
Produced by John Croydon & Richard Gordon
Written by Herbert J. Leder
Music by Buxton Orr
Cinematography: Lionel Banes
Edited by R.Q. McNaughton
Production company: Amalgamated Productions
Distributed by MGM (USA), Eros Films (UK)
Running time: 77 min.
Budget: £50,000 (estimated)
Box office $650,000 (on double bill)

Cast


Marshall Thompson: Maj. Cummings
Kynaston Reeves: Prof. R.E. Walgate
Kim Parker: Barbara Griselle
Stanley Maxted: Col. Butler
Terry Kilburn: Capt. Al Chester
James Dyrenforth: Mayor
Robert MacKenzie: Const. Gibbons
Peter Madden: Dr. Bradley
Gil Winfield: Dr. Warren
Michael Balfour: Sgt. Kasper
Launce Maraschal: Melville
Meadows White: Ben Adams
E. Kerrigan Prescott: Atomic Engineer
Lala Lloyd: Amelia Adams
Shane Cordell: Nurse


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Trailer




U. S. Air Force Interceptor Command Experimental Station No. 6 is a long-range radar installation located in Winthrop, Manitoba, Canada. Its function is indicated by the periodic overhead slicing of the sky by supersonic jets and the demented electronically choreographed nodding and swivelling tracking motions of the radar antennae.

As darkness slowly and silently slides over Air Force experimental station 6, a sentry stops to light up a smoke when suddenly he hears strange sounds emanating from the nearby woods. A scream from the woods brings the sentry running to investigate where he soon finds the body of a man with a hideously distorted face.


Read on for more......

Friday, 3 March 2017

Earth vs. the Spider (1958)


A cheap, brisk, enjoyable and cheesy fun film



Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Produced by Bert I. Gordon
Written by László Görög, George Worthing Yates
Music by Albert Glasser
Cinematography: Jack A. Marta
Edited by Walter E. Keller
Distributed by American International Pictures
Running time: 73 minutes
Budget: $100,000


Cast


Ed Kemmer as Mr. Kingman
June Kenney as Carol Flynn
Eugene Persson as Mike Simpson
Gene Roth as Sheriff Cagle
Hal Torey as Mr. Simpson
June Jocelyn as Mrs. Flynn
Mickey Finn as Sam Haskel
Sally Fraser as Mrs. Helen Kingman
Troy Patterson as Joe
Skip Young as Sam (the bass player)
Howard Wright as Jake
Bill Giorgio as Deputy Sheriff Sanders
Hank Patterson as Hugo (high school janitor)
Jack Kosslyn as Mr. Fraser (camera club teacher)
Bob Garnet as Springdale pest control man
Shirley Falls as switchboard operator
Bob Tetrick as Deputy Sheriff Dave
Nancy Kilgas as a dancer
George Stanley as one of the men in the cavern
David Tomack as the power line foreman
Merritt Stone as Jack Flynn (Carol's dad)
Dick D'Agostin as the pianist




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Film Excerpt


In our own age of gross hyperbole, overstatement and exaggeration, the title, “Earth vs. the Spider” makes perfect sense as a means to achieving a particular end. After all, who would want to go and see a film titled, “Small town of River Falls takes on big spider?” Strip away the bullshit and what are we really left with? As far as Earth vs the Spider is concerned, read on to find out…..

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Curse of the Faceless Man (1958)


An undemanding low budget sci-fi / horror genre film that has just enough tension to keep fans interested.



Directed by Edward L. Cahn
Produced by Robert E. Kent, Edward Small
Written by Jerome Bixby
Music by Gerald Fried
Cinematography: Kenneth Peach
Edited by Grant Whytock
Distributed by United Artists
Running time: 67 minutes



Cast


Richard Anderson as Dr. Paul Mallon: a doctor who specializes in tissue culture.


Elaine Edwards as Tina Enright: Paul’s fiancée, who is a painter and the object of the Faceless Man’s attention.

Luis Van Rooten as Dr. Carlo Fiorillo: works at the Museo di Pompeii and who examines the strange body removed from the ruins of Pompeii.

Adele Mara as Maria Fiorillo: Carlo’s daughter, who once had a relationship with Paul. She has finished her training as a doctor and now works with her father in the museum.

Gar Moore as Dr. Enricco Ricci: a rather undeveloped character who has feelings for Maria but the jealousy angle and resentment of Paul didn’t really feature.

Felix Locher as Dr. Emanual: works at the museum and translates the inscriptions contained on a medallion from a box found with the Faceless Man. He tries to convince the others about the truth of the curses and strange forces surrounding the Etruscans and the Faceless Man from Pompeii.

Jan Arvan as Police Inspector Renaldi: Investigates the first murder but unlike Dr. Emanual, believes that a human killer was responsible.

Bob Bryant as Quintillus Aurelius: a Roman slave/gladiator in love with his master’s daughter. Due to their respective stations in life, Quintillus was denied marriage to this daughter of a senator. After Pompeii’s destruction, he had been preserved in a state that was not quite life, nor was it death. He has now risen from the ruins of the past to be reunited with his lost love who he believes is his beloved Tina.





What if you lived in a “future time” where our current notions of time as being a linear progression starting from the past, moving to the present and then proceeding on into the future were replaced by something different?

What if you saw time as being flexible in which the past, present and future all exist simultaneously in an infinite series of combinations and possibilities? If you couldn’t prove this by physically moving to some era in the “past” or by flinging yourself forward into the distant “future,” perhaps a way will eventually be found in which you could peer across into, for instance, a period in the “past.”

Time itself might be seen as being like a giant circular vinyl LP record (for those who can remember!) consisting of grooves grouped into tracks representing different time-periods. The album might be infinite in size and there may even be an infinite number of such albums. The question is; how might one move out of a particular groove, escape from the track it is a part of and cross over into another track?

What if we all had a latent or dormant ability to witness events occurring in the past and that such an ability could be stimulated by micro or Nano bio-technical enhancements, chemical stimulation and intense meditation practices?

What if such procedures could enable you to produce behind your closed eye-lids a kind of small time-lens or bubble through which you could see events in the past unfold before you like in a movie?

Of course, what would unfold before you would be from a random era and would consist only of visual images devoid of the auditory and olfactory elements of life in a given time period and location. Ah, but the colours! Who would’ve thought such colours would’ve been possible at that period of time?

One such time mind-traveller might be witnessing a street scene in which some young men sporting straw boater hats with coloured ribbons around the crown boisterously striding past a couple of young ladies attired in long pastel coloured afternoon dresses. Suddenly, on a rather uneven and rutted road, a metallic mechanical monstrosity shakes and vibrates into view. The cacophonous sounds it makes and the stench that emanates from its exhaust can only be guessed at from the terror-stricken reaction from a nearby horse pulling its load of produce, as well as from the fumes that seem to lash out in all directions from the metal monster’s posterior.






Another time mind-traveller, however, might be witnessing the destruction of the city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. with the eruption of Vesuvius. Just imagine what events our mind-traveller would be witnessing only "79 years after the birth of Christ, (when) the city of Pompeii ceased to exist! Destroyed by a mountain of seething hell known as Vesuvius. (Imagine!) On a quiet August afternoon, almost 2000 years ago, the volcano erupted, the Earth shook, day became night, birds fell dead from the sky, fish died as the oceans boiled, and the people of Pompeii perished under an avalanche of volcanic ash and stone, burned, suffocated, crushed……"

From the above temporal flight of fancy, it is this view of a slice of the past that leads us to the first of the films from the year 1958 that is offered up for your enjoyment and consideration: Curse of the Faceless Man. It is a tale in which past and present seem to merge in a most terrifying way….


Read on for more.....

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sci-Fi On Film and the Year 1958




The year 1958 was part of a pivotal decade without which we would not have the kind of modern world in which we live today. In all facets of our lives including music; science and technology; mass communication; international and global politics and civil and social movements & change, we owe a significant debt to the 1950s.

Far from being a quaint far off era that has little bearing on our supposedly more “sophisticated” way of life, the shadow of the 1950s still looms large.

Let’s take a look at the year 1958 and see what it had to offer…..

Read on for more…..

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Unearthly (1957)


A rather predictable, low-budget but strangely watchable film



Directed by Boris Petroff
Produced by Boris Petroff, Robert A. Terry
Screenplay by John D.F. Black, Jane Mann
Story by Jane Mann
Music by Henry Vars
Cinematography: W. Merie Connell
Production company: AB-PT Pictures
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Running time: 73 minutes


Cast


John Carradine: Dr. Charles Conway
Myron Healey: Mark Houston
Allison Hayes: Grace Thomas
Marilyn Buferd: Dr. Sharon Gilchrist
Arthur Batanides: Danny Green
Sally Todd: Natalie Andries
Tor Johnson: Lobo
Roy Gordon: Dr. Loren Wright
Guy Prescott: Police Captain George Reagan
Raymond Guth: Police Officer Miller
Harry Fleer: Harry Jedrow
Gloria Petroff: Screaming Woman
Paul McWilliams: Police Officer Ed


With the start of a new year (2017) we now complete our look at science fiction films from the year 1957 with the 60 year-old sci-fi / horror gem, The Unearthly.


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Trailer


Read on for more……

Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)



A somewhat predictable and formulaic sci-fi film which has enough action to hold audience interest for much of the 83 minutes viewing time.


Directed by Arnold Laven
Produced by Arthur Gardner, Jules V. Levy
Screenplay by Pat Fielder
Story by David Duncan
Music by Heinz Eric Roemheld
Cinematography: John D. Faure
Edited by Lester White
Production company: Gramercy Pictures, Inc.
Distributed by United Artists
Running time: 83 minutes
Budget: $200,000


Cast


Tim Holt as Lt. Cmdr. John "Twill" Twillinger
Audrey Dalton as Gail MacKenzie
Hans Conried as Dr. Jess Rogers
Harlan Warde as Lt. Robert "Clem" Clemens
Max Showalter as Dr. Tad Johns
Mimi Gibson as Sandy MacKenzie
Gordon Jones as Sheriff Josh Peters
Marjorie Stapp as Connie Blake
Dennis McCarthy as George Blake
Barbara Darrow as Jody Simms
Robert Beneveds as Seaman Morty Beatty
Charles Herbert as Boy with Morty's Cap
Jody McCrea as Seaman Fred Johnson
Wallace Earl as Sally as Eileen Harvey



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Classic Sci-Fi Film Stew

Also known as The Monster That Challenged the World and in some quarters as The Jagged Edge and The Kraken. (“Release the Kraken!” Sorry, I had to say it!)

Read on for more.....