When is a shitty movie not a shitty movie? When it’s super cheap, but also good. Such is the case with It! The Terror from Beyond Space, released in 1958.
We wrap up It Came from the ’50s with the movie that was the supposed inspiration for Alien. The story is similar. A spaceship from Earth sets down on another planet and picks up a stowaway alien with a thirst for blood. How the human spacefarers rid themselves of the alien is also similar. How the two films differ is in the small details. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: It! The Terror from Beyond Space”
I’ve seen some embarrassing cash grab sequels in my many decades as an avid shitty movie fan, and this one is among the more shameful.
From writer/director Edward Bernds comes Return of the Fly, the sequel to The Fly, released in 1959. The first thing viewers of The Fly will notice is that, unlike its predecessor, Return was not shot in color. I cannot recall another sequel in film history that has gone from color in the original to black and white photography in the sequel. There are a couple examples the other way, notably The Hustler and The Color of Money.Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Return of the Fly”
This flick has quite the reputation. Search the internet for lists of the worst movies of all time, and this film will most likely be on it, and could very well be at the top. Its writer, director, and producer, Ed Wood, is a legend among shitty film fans. Not many people get a biopic made where the focus is on their ineptitude, but it happened to Ed Wood. And he earned it. But, I have disappointing news for any Ed Wood fan that happens upon this site. Plan 9 from Outer Space is not the worst movie I have ever seen. It doesn’t even crack the bottom 10.
From 1959, Plan 9 tells the story of an alien invasion of Earth. That’s the broad view, and the only part of the plot that makes sense. The details of the story are a nonsensical jumble of graveyard scenes and whatever footage Ed Wood managed to shoot of Bela Lugosi before the latter’s death in 1956. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Plan 9 from Outer Space”
With a name like The Manster, it has to be shit, right?
From 1959 (but kept on a shelf until 1962), The Manster is a shitty American monster flick that looks like a joint American/Japanese production. But, it’s not. The Manster is a 100% American production that just happened to be shot in Japan, with many Japanese actors and crew. I made a point while watching this flick to go into the tubes and find out if there was a Japanese-language version of this flick shot side-by-side with the American release, à la Dracula, but there was not. That feels like something of a missed opportunity, as Japanese shitty movie fans would enjoy this piece of trash, I’m sure. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: The Manster”
Gimmicks present unique problems when it comes to film, or art, or anything. Gimmicks may be useful for an initial draw, but people tire of them. Gimmicks are also used to disguise, or make up for, a lack of funds or competence. That is why William Castle, despite throwing some interesting gimmicks into his films, is remembered for being a shitty movie director as much as an innovator.
Beware a promising title, especially when it comes to shitty movies. There’s a good chance that a shitty movie won’t live up to its title, and could even be a bait-and-switch. Monster from Green Hell, from 1957, isn’t that most egregious of shitty filmmaking sins, but it is not nearly as good as the title.
The Green Hell of the title is a stretch of African jungle surrounding a volcano. The Monster which emerges from the Green Hell is a gigantic wasp, mutated by space radiation. It all began back in the states, in an isolated rocket science lab in the west. Dr. Quent Brady (Jim Davis, of Dallas fame), and Dan Morgan (Robert Griffin) are conducting experiments to determine the effects that exposure to space will have on future human space travelers. They do this by sending just about every animal they can find into space aboard rockets, then studying the animals after the rocket returns to Earth. There is a concern that all that radiation shooting around up in space will mutate those who are exposed to it. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Monster from Green Hell, or, Deus Ex Mons Igneus”
Most of the films featured in the October Horrorshow: It Came from the ’50s reviews haven’t been all that good. Some have been downright cheap and awful. Such is the life of the shitty movie fan. But then there is something like today’s film, The Fly. I wouldn’t characterize it as a classic, other than in the sense that it’s old. Rather, it’s just a decent film from the time.
Released in the summer of 1958, The Fly was produced and directed by Kurt Neumann from a screenplay by James Clavell, who would go on to write some of the lengthiest novels known to man. There’s a plodding nature to this film that I think can be blamed partly on Clavell. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: The Fly (1958)”
Once upon a time, I would have been impressed by seeing the Janus Films and Criterion Collection logos before the start of a film. But that has been dashed by the reaction I had to The Blob. Could Fiend Without a Face be another classic film with an inflated reputation? In short, yes. But, this film doesn’t have near the same disparity between reputation and actual quality as does The Blob. It’s just a b-movie, through and through. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Fiend Without a Face”
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 reading “It Came from the ’50s: Attack of the Puppet People”
What a boring, plodding, nonfrightening, trope-filled mess we have with The Screaming Skull, from 1958. There was a promising film in here, somewhere. After all, an uncountable mass of pulp fiction and comic books (especially EC Comics in their heyday) used the exact same plot, with the exact same ending. If they couldn’t be competent, then the least director Alex Nicol and company could have done was be enjoyably shitty, but they couldn’t even manage that.
At the beginning of this film, viewers are treated to an announcement from the film’s producers promising a free coffin should anyone die of fright while watching the movie. It’s not the worst marketing ploy of the time, and the producers could sleep easy about ever paying it out. This is amongst the least-frightening horror movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: The Screaming Skull”