Being a shitty movie fan is most rewarding when some obscure piece of cinematic ineptitude turns out to be entertaining. It’s impossible to know beforehand how one will react to a shitty movie. Every entertaining shitty movie is an unexpected surprise — the reward that makes slogging through the muck worth it. Today’s ’50s flick is part of the muck.
Roger Corman was a better director than Bert I. Gordon. That’s obvious, of course. Roger Corman is a Hollywood legend, while Gordon is known only to us poor souls who like trash cinema. Corman’s reputation has been burnished by all the successful filmmakers that came through his stable, but he could trash it up with the worst of them. I mention Corman and Gordon in the same breath because today’s It Came from the 1950s entry is almost indistinguishable from the crap Gordon used to turn out. The only major difference is that Corman knew how to end a scene before things got too boring.
It Conquered the World was released in 1956, and was directed and produced by Corman from a screenplay by Lou Rusoff, who penned the execrable Phantom from 10,000 Leagues. This flick is miles better than Phantom, and it still stinks.
It stars Peter Graves as Dr. Paul Nelson, who works on a project launching America’s first satellites into orbit. One of his friends is Dr. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef), a scientist disillusioned with the state of mankind. How fortunate for Dr. Anderson that he finds a friend in an alien being from Venus, one of the last of his race. The alien communicates with Anderson through a radio set in Anderson’s house. The alien is giving Anderson instructions to help pave the way for a Venusian takeover of Earth. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: It Conquered the World”
For today’s entry in It Came from the 1950s, we have a film that tries its best to resemble its poorer cousins, but the overall sheen of competence cannot be hidden.
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers comes to us via director Fred F. Sears and screenwriters Bernard Gordon and George Worthing Yates. Released in 1956, Saucers stars Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor as Russell and Carol Marvin. Russell is a scientist in charge of Project Skyhook, which is a series of unmanned research rockets launched into orbit. Carol is his wife and assistant. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”
Universal had a hot property in The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and they understandably wanted to cash in on it some more. That led to a lazy sequel in Revenge of the Creature, and a silly mess in today’s ’50s flick, The Creature Walks Among Us.
Coming along a year after Revenge, in 1956, The Creature Walks Among Us is the first film in the series not to be directed by Jack Arnold. He had ambitions beyond directing b-flicks, if the internet is to be believed, so bowed out of the project. Directing duties were handled by John Sherwood, from a screenplay by Arthur A. Ross. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: The Creature Walks Among Us”
Regular readers know that we here at Missile Test love us some schlock. Especially the ’50s kind, with its cheap sets, hammy actors, ridiculous monsters, and short ties. At first glance, 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers would fit right in. But, this flick ain’t schlock. Oh, no.
This is a strange movie. It spends most of its runtime as an operatic western, a tale of ranchers in Mexico and forlorn love — like a 1950s version of All the Pretty Horses — but then a frickin’ dinosaur shows up to the party.
From 1956, The Beast of Hollow Mountain was directed by Edward Nassour and Ismael Rodriguez, from a story by legendary effects man Willis O’Brien (using the bizarre pseudonym El Toro Estrella). Apparently, O’Brien was also on tap to do the effects for this film, but for one reason or another that didn’t happen, and the duties passed to inferior substitutes. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Beast of Hollow Mountain”
We viewers have been cheated! A 1950s flick with the title of Hot Rod Girl brings to mind all sorts of possibilities. Fast cars! Loose women! Police chases! Crime! Mayhem! Et cetera! What it does not bring to mind is a traffic safety film, which is about all this shitty movie amounts to.
From 1956, Hot Rod Girl comes to us via American International Pictures, that paragon of b-cinema. It was directed by Leslie H. Martinson (who would later direct the Adam West Batman movie), from a screenplay by John McGreevey. Both Martinson and Greevey spent the vast majority of their careers working in television, and that helps to explain this film’s strong resemblance to an after school special. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Hot Rod Girl”
Jimmy Sangster pens another winner. From the early days of Hammer Film Productions’ horror transition, X the Unknown is boilerplate 1950s monster fare. Like all creative endeavors, however, it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking if it’s done well. Continue reading “October Hammershow: X the Unknown”
Half dated and half legendary, Forbidden Planet is one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. Hailing from 1956, Forbidden Planet tells the story of the crew of an Earth spaceship, landed on the planet Altair 4 to investigate the fate of a scientific expedition that disappeared there twenty years before. Led by Captain Adams (Leslie Neilsen), they find two survivors, Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his nubile daughter Altaira (Anne Francis). Captain Adams learns from Morbius that the other members of the scientific expedition were wiped out not long after landing by an unknown, all-powerful force. Altair 4 holds other secrets, as well. Namely, the remains of a once-great civilization called the Krell, whose cities have turned to dust with the passage of time, but whose technology survives deep beneath the planet’s surface. Captain Adams and his crew must unravel the mystery of the unknown force and its correlation with the Krell...if they expect to survive. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Forbidden Planet”