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


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

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


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


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.



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


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



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.....

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Monolith Monsters (1957)

A low-budget well-paced sci-fi film with an interesting concept but doesn’t quite meet expectations

Directed by John Sherwood
Produced by Howard Christie
Screenplay by Norman Jolley, Robert M. Fresco
Story by Jack Arnold, Robert M. Fresco
Music by Henry Mancini, Irving Getz, Herman Stein
Cinematography: Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Patrick McCormack
Production company: Universal-International
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Running time: 77 minutes


Grant Williams: Dave Miller
Lola Albright: Cathy Barrett
Les Tremayne: Martin Cochrane
Trevor Bardette: Professor Arthur Flanders
Phil Harvey as Ben Gilbert
William Flaherty: Police Chief Dan Corey
Harry Jackson: Dr. Steve Hendricks
Richard H. Cutting: Dr. E. J. Reynolds
Linda Scheley : Ginny Simpson
Claudia Bryar: Mrs. Simpson
Dean Cromer: Lead Highway Patrolman
Steve Darrell: Rancher Joe Higgins
William Schallert: Meteorologist
Troy Donahue! : Hank Jackson the Dynamite Expert
Paul Petersen: Bobby the Newsboy

Opening narration: Paul Frees



             10 cents                                                               November 10, 1957

This feature report is reproduced here with kind permission from Martin Cochrane, reporter and publisher of the San Angelo Sentinel. [Photos used are a combination of later reconstructions of events and pictures taken at the time of the incident in question.]

Martin Cochrane tells the story of how a strange meteorite crashed into the Southern California desert in July of this year and exploded into a multitude of black fragments. 

The strange part of this story is how those fragments when exposed to water, grew to gigantic proportions. Not only that, but the fragments caused some of the inhabitants of a small town to gradually petrify and die.

The story that you are about to read will show just how close humanity came to having its very existence threatened by a seemingly unstoppable malevolent monstrous monolithic force visited upon our planet from the mysterious limitless reaches of outer space……

Read on for more….

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Man Who Turned to Stone (1957)

An interesting and well-paced film hampered by low-budget constraints

Directed by László Kardos
Produced by Sam Katzman
Written by Bernard Gordon
Music by Ross DiMaggio, George Duning
Cinematography: Benjamin H. Kline
Edited by Charles Nelson
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Running time: 71 minutes


Victor Jory: Dr. Murdock
William Hudson: Dr. Jess Rogers
Charlotte Austin: Carol Adams
Jean Willes: Tracy
Ann Doran: Mrs. Ford
Paul Cavanagh: Cooper
George Lynn: Dr. Freneau
Victor Varconi: Dr. Myer
Friedrich von Ledebur: Eric
Tina Carver: Big Marge Collins
Barbara Wilson: Anna Sherman


Read on for more....