It Came from the ’50s: Attack of the Puppet People

I am shocked by this movie. Shocked, I tell you. Bewildered. Astonished. Flabbergasted. Not because Attack of the Puppet People is a great film. Oh, no. My surprise comes from the fact that despite this being a film from Samuel Z. Arkoff’s gristmill, American International Pictures, and despite it being produced and directed by shitty movie auteur Bert I. Gordon, this film does not suck. It’s low-rent, to be sure, and there are more than a few amateurish moments scattered throughout, but this flick is at least as good as contemporary television sci-fi. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: Attack of the Puppet People”

It Came from the ’50s: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers

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 readingIt Came from the ’50s: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”

Giant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on! Today’s film is the sixth this month featuring b-cinema auteur extraordinaire Bert I. Gordon. The man made giant monster flicks his own cottage industry. That’s not too far off of the mark, considering Gordon would shoot effects in his own garage.

Today’s film is Earth vs. The Spider, also released as just The Spider. Released just a few months after War of the Colossal Beast, Earth vs. The Spider switches up the formula for giant monster flicks. Most of the films featured this past month have featured scientists and doctors as the main protagonists, or maybe a military man or two. This film does have those characters, but they’ve been relegated to supporting roles. In this flick, the heroes are teenagers. That’s right. By 1958, shitty filmmakers recognized that it was teenagers that were pumping large amounts of dollars into their coffers, and someone came up with the bright idea to make movies featuring teenagers in the leads. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider”

Giant Monstershow: War of the Colossal Beast

This is the fifth review this Horrorshow featuring a film from giant monster auteur Bert I. Gordon. It’s only fitting, then, that Missile Test makes it official. Bert I. Gordon, I declare thee the unofficial official filmmaker of this year’s October Horrorshow. Keep an eye out for a certificate in the mail.

War of the Colossal Beast, released in June of 1958, is the sequel to Gordon’s The Amazing Colossal Man. Gordon not only directed this film, he produced and shared a screenwriting credit with George Worthing Yates (who penned an amazing six b-movies in 1958 alone). Continue readingGiant Monstershow: War of the Colossal Beast”

Giant Monstershow: The Amazing Colossal Man

No sea beasts, dinosaurs, giant arachnids, or skyscraper-sized gorillas in today’s flick. The monster in today’s entry in the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow is a gigantic man.

The Amazing Colossal Man is the fourth film of this year’s Horrorshow, and the third released in 1957, from ’50s b-monster auteur Bert I. Gordon. The man found a niche, and stayed there until the box office returns started to dry up. From a screenplay by Gordon and Mark Hanna (who would pen Attack of the 50 Foot Woman the following year), The Amazing Colossal Man tells the tale of the unfortunate Glenn Manning (Glenn Langan), an army officer who is exposed to a nuclear blast during a test in the Nevada desert. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: The Amazing Colossal Man”

Giant Monstershow: It Came from Beneath the Sea

Ray Harryhausen is a Hollywood legend. In a time of painstaking manual effects work, his skill as a stop-motion animator was in high demand for those films requiring the fantastical. But, what happened when such a talented worker was called on for a flick with only $150k in its budget?

It Came from Beneath the Sea exemplifies just about everything common in 1950’s b-monster fare. There’s a gigantic monster that was created by American nuclear testing (of course); a square-jawed hero in the form of Commander Pete Mathews of the United States Navy (Kenneth Tobey, making his second appearance in this year’s Horrorshow); a scientist-in-residence who provides useful exposition in Dr. John Carter (Donald Curtis); and a plucky love interest who challenges, but still resides in, 1950s Hollywood sexual mores in Professor Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue). Add all these ingredients, stir in some scenes of wanton destruction and much fretting in a laboratory, and one has a monster flick. It’s as easy as that. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: It Came from Beneath the Sea”

Giant Monstershow: Them!

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms may have established the formula by which 1950s American giant monster flicks operated (nuclear test + ordinary creature = giant monster), but it was 1954’s Them! that first did it well.

Directed by Gordon Douglas from a screenplay by Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes and a story by George Worthing Yates, Them! tells a tale of nature run amok. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: Them!”