Day 10 of 31 Days of Spooky Stuff and this time, we look at three films from the 1950s. And as I cover today’s items, it strikes me that all three of these films were riffed by MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. These are of course the non-riffed versions, no offense to one of my favorite all-time shows.
The Best – Reserved for the absolute cream of the crop.
Highly Recommended – Very good. Far better than your typical film and one that I will remember for some time.
Recommended – Just what it says. This is a good film and earns a recommendation. Don’t think that because it’s not one of the top two categories that these films aren’t worth your time. The “recommended” tag is a winner and nothing to sneer at.
Barely Recommended – The middle of the road. Those films where I didn’t feel it was a complete waste of time, but it didn’t set my world on fire either. Not bad, but leaves me feeling bored and/or apathetic.
Disappointing – Close but no cigar. Does a few things right but is ultimately a whole lot of wasted potential. Not recommended.
Awful – A bad movie. Pure and simple. Not worth your time.
The Worst – The Britta Perry of ratings, though not as entertaining. The bottom of the barrel.
What was the film trying to accomplish and how well did it meet those goals?
In addition to (or sometimes despite) that, how does the film hold up on sheer entertainment value?
FILM GEEK JOURNAL – ENTRY 73
(31 DAYS OF SPOOKY STUFF – DAY 10 – OCT. 10, 2013)
REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955) – The Gill Man makes another appearance. He’s quickly captured by a group of scientists, winding up in a Florida aquarium. So, it’s sort of like DOLPHIN TALE, except it’s a Gill Man held against his will and Winter the dolphin doesn’t have any attraction to blonde girls. At least not that I can recall.
This sequel to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON was released barely a year after its predecessor. Universal even got Jack Arnold to return to the director’s chair and spring for 3-D a second time around. And while there are several great moments, particularly when the Creature breaks free, it isn’t quite up to the standards of the first entry. Some nice nighttime scenes in the latter part of the film, but it feels like ground we’ve already covered before.
This film contains Clint Eastwood’s screen debut, where he cameos as an absent-minded professor. Barely Recommended.
THE UNDEAD (1957) – A prostitute finds herself the guinea pig of a group of off-kilter psychologists, who claim to have revolutionized past life regression therapy. She is hypnotized and finds herself in the middle ages, in the body of one of her descendants, a woman accused of witchcraft. She changes history as intrigue erupts all around her. Eventually, the more zealous of the two doctors goes back in time to find out what’s going on.
The science in this Roger Corman film is wonky as all get out. But much like his ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, it’s that same anything goes approach that gives the film a surreal quality. THE UNDEAD turns out to be quite entertaining and strange. Not one of Corman’s best, though it does contain several moments which will stay with you for some time to come.
This was during Corman’s most prolific time as a director. It was one of nine Corman films released in 1957 alone. Recommended.
EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (a.k.a. THE SPIDER) (1958) – Two teenagers discover a giant spider living in a cave just outside of town. After giving them quite a bit of trouble, authorities believe they have killed the monster, only to see it awaken within the city limits and kill dozens of people.
Bert I. Gordon was often called “Mr. B.I.G.,” and it wasn’t just because of his initials A lot of his films involved big people or big monsters, including BEGINNING OF THE END, THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN, VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS, FOOD OF THE GODS and EMPIRE OF THE ANTS, just to name a few (I guess this would make Charles Band the reverse Bert I. Gordon). This is one of his most successful films, since it combined a the giant monster menace with the youth picture in a spirit similar to THE BLOB, which was released the same year. The scenes in the cave are also creepy enough to give it more of a fantasy effect than your standard giant bug movie. A few issues with the running time and mood-killing shots of spider carnage keep this from being a classic. But it is very noteworthy. Recommended.
Number of films covered in the Journal so far: 310
Miss any of tShe previous Journal entries? Check them out here!
And tune into my new web series, Moviocrity! New episode now available!!!