What a pair of movies this turned out to be. Day the World Ended is an early Roger Corman flick from 1955, while In the Year 2889 is a made-for-TV remake from 1969 that used an almost identical script. Only the names were changed to protect the innocent.
Written by Lou Rusoff, that script tells the story of a small group that survives a nuclear apocalypse. World War Three has ravaged the world, silencing the cities of Earth and bathing the planet in radioactive fallout. But not in an isolated patch of rugged Southwestern landscape. Former Navy officer Jim Maddison (Paul Birch) has spent the last decade preparing for nuclear war. He has built his house nestled in between hills containing lead ore, which helps block radiation. Winds sweep through nearby canyons, creating a cushion of air that fallout can’t penetrate. I don’t know if any of this holds up to scientific scrutiny, but considering this is a 1950s sci-fi b-movie, I doubt it. It doesn’t matter, anyway. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Day the World Ended & In the Year 2889″
This one is a classic. From 1954 comes Creature from the Black Lagoon. It’s the story of a newly-discovered species of humanoid fish and man’s efforts to hunt it down and kill it.
Directed by Jack Arnold from a screenplay by Harry Essex and Arthur A. Ross, Creature follows a small scientific expedition that sets off up the Amazon River in search of fossils.
The exhibition began at the behest of Dr. Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno), a geologist who discovered the fossilized remains of a hybrid fish/humanlike appendage. It’s a revolutionary scientific discovery. Maia needs support, however, to search for any further remains. He finds that support in Dr. Mark Williams (Richard Denning) and Dr. David Reed (Richard Carlson), a pair of ichthyologists. Joining them on the expedition are another scientist, Dr. Edwin Thompson (Whit Bissell); Reeds’ assistant/fiancé Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams); boat skipper Captain Lucas (Nestor Paiva); and a gaggle of fodder for the monster. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Creature from the Black Lagoon”
The poor performers in films like this. They come to a production, ready to put in enough work to make some mortgage payments, maybe dig a pool in the backyard, and they do a decent enough job. But then they go to the premiere of the film, with not the highest of expectations (after all, it ain’t John Ford or Howard Hawks they were working with), and they find the audience howling with laughter at the monster effects. Take a moment to appreciate the plight of the bad movie actor.
The Black Scorpion, the 1957 film from director Edward Ludwig and screenwriters David Duncan and Robert Blees, opens, as so many of these monster films from the ’50s do, with stock footage. But, for once, it’s not footage of Air Force jets or Arctic wastes. This time it’s footage of volcanoes oozing lava over the land. The expository voiceover informs the viewer that a new volcano is rising out of the ground in Mexico. In little over a month it has grown to gigantic size, threatening the surrounding ranches. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Black Scorpion”