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: 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”

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

Today’s flick, an aliens-in-the-desert sci-fi cheapie, is about as thin as one of these 1950s flicks can get. It features barely more than three locations, and one of those is a hole in the ground. But it is notable for being the first 3D picture that Universal released, if the internet is to be believed.

From 1953, It Came from Outer Space originated as a story treatment by Ray Bradbury, which was subsequently turned into a screenplay by Harry Essex. Jack Arnold was the director. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: It Came from Outer Space”

It Came from the ’50s: Phantom from Space

It is possible to make a decent movie with a miniscule budget. But it takes, at least, a decent filmmaker to do so. W. Lee Wilder, unlike his brother, Billy, was no decent filmmaker. W. Lee Wilder, if Phantom from Space is any indication, was a corpse propped up in a chair.

Released in the spring of 1953, Phantom from Space looks super cheap. There are special effects in the opening scene showing a UFO descend upon the San Fernando Valley. It’s about the least convincing effect I’ve ever seen in a movie, and this reviewer has seen a lot of bad special effects. The effects in this flick are as bad as early Bert I. Gordon flicks. The only effect that really works is a floating space helmet, but that’s getting slightly ahead of things. There is a plot that needs explaining. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: Phantom from Space”

It Came from the ’50s: Invaders from Mars (1953)

What a gloriously stupid movie. Invaders from Mars, from screenwriter Richard Blake and director William Cameron Menzies, is a rather prototypical example of the films featured in this month’s Horrorshow. It’s cheap from the first frame to the last, and lacks self-awareness. What do I mean by that? The filmmakers took a look at how the bad guys were costumed — in skin-tight green fleece onesies — and decided that was acceptable. Seriously, that is what passes for aliens in this flick. But that’s not all. They also have faces painted green to match, with gigantic prosthetic noses and snow goggles. Tall men were cast in the roles, and Menzies had them run around the set like toddlers with arms held unmoving at their sides. It’s so silly that it becomes part of what makes this film memorable. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: Invaders from Mars (1953)”

It Came from the ’50s: The Man from Planet X

It’s the autumn, again, but one wouldn’t know it here in the American Midwest. It’s October and there has only been the barest whiff of fall weather. The forecast for today is 91 degrees (that’s 32 degrees for my legion of overseas readers). Global warming used to be something that was far off — a part of the distant future. Well, we’re in the future, now, and global warming has arrived right on schedule. The implications for the future of the human race are dire. Horrorshow level, in fact. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: The Man from Planet X”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alien Warfare

I love that movies like Alien Warfare are still being made. It’s a true action bottom feeder. With the rise of streaming, I had been concerned that the ready availability of good content would leave shitty movies like this without an audience. But, I shouldn’t have underestimated capitalism. Good movies cost more for streaming services to license, and the proliferation of streaming services means that there’s a good chance the movie one wants to watch is on a service to which they do not subscribe. And on top of that, all these streaming services are desperate for content, to make them stand out from each other. All this means there is still a market for cheap schlock. The rights holders’ overprotectiveness and over-monetization of their good properties means the shitty movie lives on. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Alien Warfare”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Independence Day: Resurgence, or, Who Are the People on the Boat?

This fucking movie, I swear to God. More than once while I was watching Independence Day: Resurgence did I utter that profaneness. It’s just such a silly movie. It’s also breathtaking in scale, as evidenced by a moment when the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, which also happens to normally be in Dubai, is dropped on London. This is a movie whose aspirations for an international audience are plain to see. There’s the requisite inclusion of token Chinese characters, and even a scene where a Chinese city is sucked up into the sky. That’s how one can know the Chinese have arrived as a world power. We are now destroying their cities in apocalyptic movies. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Independence Day: Resurgence, or, Who Are the People on the Boat?”

October Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Clowns are creepy. But I didn’t realize this until I got older. Back when I was a kid, I remember my old man and his brother loading up our families in a van to head out to Richfield Coliseum to see Ringling Bros. We only went a couple of years — at most three in a row. Hardly a family tradition, but there are still parts of those outings I remember vividly, and clowns creeping me out is not one of them. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space”

October Horrorshow: Extraterrestrial

A few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by Grave Encounters, the first feature from the writing/directing team of The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minahan and Stuart Ortiz). They were working with a miniscule budget and an overdone idea, but managed to make a very good little ghost flick. Last year saw them release another film that couldn’t make it past the festival circuit, but, thanks to the internet, is reaching viewers in ways that were impossible even ten years ago. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Extraterrestrial”