It Came from the ’50s: Return of the Fly

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 readingIt Came from the ’50s: Return of the Fly”

It Came from the ’50s: Plan 9 from Outer Space

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 readingIt Came from the ’50s: Plan 9 from Outer Space”

It Came from the ’50s: The Manster

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 readingIt Came from the ’50s: The Manster”

Giant Monstershow: Attack of the Giant Leeches

What a ridiculous movie. I loved just about every shitty minute of it.

Released in 1959, Attack of the Giant Leeches comes to viewers from the Roger Corman stable. He didn’t direct, but he was the executive producer. The movie was helmed by Bernard L. Kowalski from a screenplay by Leo Gordon (who had a prolific career as a television actor). Continue readingGiant Monstershow: Attack of the Giant Leeches”

Giant Monstershow: The Killer Shrews

Ray Kellogg returns! Just a day after the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow featured Kellogg’s magnum opus, an ode to Bert I. Gordon entitled The Giant Gila Monster, we feature The Killer Shrews, also directed by Kellogg. In fact, it was filmed either immediately before, or immediately after The Giant Gila Monster (the internet is unclear on which, and I won’t be digging deeper to find out), and was released on the same day in 1959. This film is sibling to The Giant Gila Monster, but that doesn’t mean the two are identical. Well, they’re almost identical. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: The Killer Shrews”

Giant Monstershow: The Giant Gila Monster

Of all the shitty monster movies that I’ve watched so far for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow, The Giant Gila Monster might be my favorite, just for how bumbling the whole thing is. It wallows in everything clichéd and bad about the giant monster subgenre of horror flicks from the 1950s. It does away with the expository scientist, sure, but replaces that tired trope with a hip teenager and his girl, following the lead of The Blob. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: The Giant Gila Monster”

Giant Monstershow: The Giant Behemoth

Filmmaker Eugène Lourié must have thought that his 1953 film, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, was just practice — a full dress rehearsal, of sorts. How else to explain Lourié directing what is, essentially, a remake of that film?

The Giant Behemoth, released in 1959, comes to viewers from Hollywood Poverty Row stalwart Allied Artists, the studio behind such classics as Attack of the Crab Monsters and House on Haunted Hill. There are conflicting stories floating around on the internet about today’s film. Either Allied demanded script changes that resulted in a film that aped 20,000 Fathoms, or Lourié had enough creative control to take the film in that direction. He is listed as one of the screenwriters, after all. Without digging into the documentary history of a long-dead movie studio, there really can’t be an answer. But considering Lourié shared directing credits for this film with Douglas Hickox, that points to the moneymen having control over this film, despite Lourié getting a screenwriting credit. Who knows? Continue readingGiant Monstershow: The Giant Behemoth”

October Hammershow: The Man Who Could Cheat Death

Terence Fisher directing, Jimmy Sangster writing, and Christopher Lee in a supporting role. The Man Who Could Cheat Death, one of Hammer’s efforts from 1959, should have been among the best films in this month of reviews. But it’s not, and that’s because while three of Hammer’s top names appear in the credits, a fourth, Peter Cushing, does not. He had been set to star in this film, but the lead role instead went to Anton Diffring, who was not equal to the task. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Man Who Could Cheat Death”

October Hammershow: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

Hammer Film Productions may have found its greatest success with its gothic horror films, but they still kept up work on other productions. The Hound of the Baskervilles is, of course, an adaptation of the famous Sherlock Holmes novel by Arthur Conan Doyle. But calling it a departure from Hammer’s horror catalogue is not entirely accurate. For one thing, the people involved in the production are among the most recognizable names from the studio. Terence Fisher directed, Anthony Hinds produced, and Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee starred. In addition, while Hound is a mystery, there are loads of gothic horror elements present in the source material, making it the most adaptable of the Sherlock Holmes stories to Hammer’s style of horror. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)”

October Hammershow: The Mummy (1959)

Autumn is a time of cooler weather and football games, of trees transitioning into their winter hibernation, and rivers of blood flowing on screens all over the country. For this is October, a time when horror fans the world over celebrate the coming of Halloween. It is also time for the October Horrorshow. I’ve been doing this since 2009, making this the ninth year in a row the site has been dedicated to a month of horror film reviews. But in all that time, having reviewed over 200 horror flicks, I’ve never reviewed a movie from Hammer Film Productions. How in the world did that happen? In fact, I haven’t seen all that many Hammer films at all, much less for the Horrorshow. This month I’m going to fill in this unconscionable void in my horror film experience. I’m expecting it to be a worthwhile adventure. So, this year, welcome to the October Hammershow. Every day will feature a review of a Hammer film, plus some random horror flicks from other production companies scattered throughout. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Mummy (1959)”