Showing posts with label b-movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label b-movies. Show all posts

Friday, 26 May 2017

B-Movie Madness: The Thing From Another World 1951

Today's b-movie is 1951's The Thing From Another World.
It stars Kenneth Tobey, seen previously in It Came From Beneath The Sea



Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a blood-thirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.


 Close-ups of "The Thing" were removed. It was felt that the make-up could not hold up to close scrutiny. However, the lack of close-ups gave the creature a more mysterious quality.


 The scene in which The Thing is doused with kerosene and set ablaze is believed to be the first full body burn accomplished by a stunt man.


  James Arness plays The Thing ...


... but he is difficult to recognize in costume and makeup due to both low lighting and other effects used to obscure his features. He reportedly regarded his role as so embarrassing that he didn't attend the premiere. He also complained that his "Thing" costume made him look like a giant carrot.

Rawr! Beware the carrot!


When producer Howard Hawks attempted to get insurance for the creature, five insurance companies turned him down because "The Thing" was to be frozen in a block of ice, hacked by axes, attacked by dogs, lit on fire, and electrocuted.


*

Did I like this?
No. No I didn't.
I was bored, distracted and only watched the whole thing so I could see The Thing.
I also didn't like any of the characters and I think you need to at least like the characters in a film (or book) to give you the incentive to continue.

And that brings us to the end of another of Melanie's stellar b-movie reviews 😉

Friday, 12 May 2017

B-Movie Madness: It Came From Outer Space 1953



"Then at a deadly pace
It came from outer space ..."



A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert, and only an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strangely.
Originally shown in 3D.



Author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and schoolteacher Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) watch a large meteorite crash near the small town of Sand Rock, Arizona. They awaken a neighbor, who has a helicopter, and all three fly to the crash site.

Putnam climbs down into the crater and notices a partially buried round object in the crater's pit. He comes to the realization, after he sees a six-sided hatchway close, that this isn't a meteorite but a large alien spaceship. The hatchway's noise starts a landslide that completely buries the craft. Putnam's story is later scoffed at by Sand Rock's sheriff (Charles Drake) and the local news media.






Even Ellen Fields is unsure about what to believe but still agrees to assist Putnam in his investigation. Over the next several days, local people disappear; a few return, but they act distant or appear somewhat dazed.

Convinced by these and other odd events, Sheriff Warren comes to believe Putnam's story that the meteorite is actually a crashed spaceship with alien inhabitants; he then organizes a posse to hunt down the invaders at their crash site. Putnam, however, hopes to reach a peaceful solution to the looming crisis.

Alone, he enters a nearby abandoned mine, which he hopes will eventually connect to the now buried spaceship and its alien occupants.


Putnam finally discovers the spaceship and learns from its crew that they crashed on Earth by accident; the aliens appear benign and only plan to stay on Earth just long enough to repair their damaged craft and then continue on their voyage.

The aliens' real appearance, when finally revealed to Putnam, is entirely non-human: they are large, single-eyed, jelly fish-like beings that seem to glide across the ground, leaving a glistening trail that soon vanishes. They are also able to shape shift into human form using a telepathy screen in order to appear human and move around, unobserved, in order to collect their much needed repair materials.


To do this, they copy the human forms of the local townspeople they've secretly kidnapped to help them repair their crippled spacecraft. In doing so, however, they fail to reproduce the townspeople's exact personalities, leading to suspicion and eventually to the deaths of two of the aliens ...



Did you know ... This was one of the few American films from the 1950s to place its credits at the end rather than at the beginning.

***

This has been my favourite by far to date (that didn't feature Grant Williams *cough*).
I really enjoyed this one, so if you see it on, give it a go!

Friday, 21 April 2017

B-Movie Madness: Fire Maidens From Outer Space 1956

Have I got a treat for you today! 1956's Fire Maidens of Outer Space!
Oh this is a CLASSIC!
And it's British!
And Jupiter looks suspiciously like Surrey!


A team of astronauts lands on a moon of Jupiter to find it populated with beautiful young women looking for mates. An old man explains to the explorers the group's story, as well as the moon's dangers.


The discovery of signs of life on the 13th moon of Jupiter leads to the sending of a crew of five chain-smoking male astronauts, armed with handguns, to investigate.

Here I shall point out the lack of space suits, the fact that they were walking around the 'ship' and they smoked the whole way. Oh and they can be contacted with the use of a standard telephone and they all have rather super hair! Splendid! We know how to travel through space in the UK!
Oh and this line is uttered while they watch a meteor storm: "Reminds me of my wife when she's mad!"



In Surrey, oops sorry, the moon with an atmosphere similar to Earth (funny that), they discover New Atlantis, a dying civilization which is a colony of the original Atlantis.



There are only seventeen people left, all women save for a single middle-aged man, Prasus, the girls' "father".

Prasus hopes the spacemen will stay and help him destroy the monster, "the man with the head of a beast".



Introducing Prasus's daughters:  nubile young ladies one and all in their mini skirted dresses. Could this be any more of a male fantasy?





Duessa, the leader of the women, determines to hold them captive to use as mates.
See, see! Male fantasy!

The monster lurks outside the city's walls, but breaks into the city and kills Prasus along with several of the women, including Duessa. It is killed by the earthmen, and the remaining women decide to let them return to earth. One of them, Hestia returns with them, and the astronauts promise to send spaceships back with husbands for the rest.
Yes, really.



This is a splendid bite of 1950's British sci-fi. I have a real soft spot for the utter bizarreness of it. 


Did you know ... This 1956 release take place on the 13th moon of Jupiter. The 13th moon of Jupiter was not discovered until almost two decades later, in 1974.

Friday, 24 March 2017

B-Movie Madness: Tarantula 1955



"I knew Leo G. Carroll
Was over a barrel
When Tarantula took to the hills ..."





A spider escapes from an isolated desert laboratory experimenting in gigantism and grows to tremendous size as it wreaks havoc on the local inhabitants.


A severely deformed man stumbles through the Arizona desert, falls and dies. Dr. Matt Hastings, a doctor in a nearby small town is called in by the Sheriff to examine the body at the local mortuary.

Asked to define the cause of death, he finds himself perplexed as the deceased was someone he knew and had just seen recently whose deformity appears to be acromegaly, a distortion which takes years to reach its apparent present state.

Dr. Hastings asks to be allowed to perform an autopsy to clarify the diagnosis but the sheriff refuses, judging an autopsy unnecessary because there is no indication of foul play.

Hastings then approaches Jacobs' colleague, Dr. Gerald Deemer (Carroll), who more bluntly refuses permission, then signs Jacobs' death certificate in lieu of Hastings, with heart disease listed as the cause of death.


Bothered still by the anomaly, and also by Deemer's abruptness, Hastings later drives to Deemer's combined home and research lab in the desert far from town.

Deemer apologizes for his hostility, blaming it on his grief, then insists that Jacobs had developed acromegaly incredibly rapidly, over just four days. He cannot offer an explanation but attempts to convince Hastings this was only an anomaly, not a result of anything sinister. Hastings appears to accept this apology.


After Hasting leaves, Deemer goes to his closed lab, where huge cages contain white rabbits and mice, some of enormous size. Deemer examines each of the oversized specimens, noting when each last received an "injection", and how many each has had altogether.

Then he turns to observe a glass-fronted inset in the back wall, as a different sort of specimen slides into view inside - a tarantula bodily the size of a large dog, plus legs.


As Deemer finishes his observations of this creature, a second deformed man appears, attacks Deemer and begins destroying the lab.

During this rampage the lab catches fire and the glass covering the tarantula's cage is shattered. The man grabs a hypodermic that Deemer was preparing, knocks him out and injects him with the contents.

As flames and electrical sparking rage over the lab, the arachnid escapes outdoors ...


Interestingly, Prof Deemer predicts that by the year 2000 the human population will be 3.6 billion. In fact it was almost double that at that time.


Clint Eastwood appears as the (uncredited) leader of the jet squadron that attacks the tarantula in the film's climax.



The starring spider also 'acted' in a previous film featured here on The Folly Bird: The Incredible Shrinking Man.


🎞📽🎞


Did I enjoy this?
I did actually, animals in laboratories aside, obviously.
It even made me jump in one place which I have never done before when watching one of these b-movies.


Friday, 17 March 2017

B-movie Madness: The Blob 1958

Today's b-movie is 1958's The Blob, maybe one of the most famous of the 1950's b features.


An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.



Over one night in a small Pennsylvania town in July '57, teenager Steve (Steve McQueen) and his girlfriend, Jane (Aneta Corsaut), are kissing on lovers' lane when they see a meteor crash beyond the next hill.

Steve decides to look for it but a local man finds it first. Poking it with a stick, it breaks open and a jelly like blob attaches itself to his hand. In pain and unable to remove it, he heads for the road where he is almost hit by Steve's car. Steve and Jane then take him to Doctor Hallen.


Doctor Hallen who is about to leave the surgery, anesthetises the man and sends Steve and Jane back to the where they found the man to see if anyone knows what happened. Meanwhile he decides he must amputate the man's arm since it is being consumed by the ever increasing Blob.

Before he has a chance, the Blob consumes the man, then Hallen's nurse, and finally the doctor himself, all the while increasing in size.


As Steve and Jane return to the office, they are in time to witness the doctor's death. Heading to the police station, they return to the house with Lieutenant Dave and Sergeant Bert who dismiss the story as a prank when there is no evidence to back up their story.

At the Colonial cinema, which is showing a midnight screening, Steve ropes in some of his friends to warn people about the Blob.



When Steve notices that his father's grocery store is unlocked, he and Jane go inside. They are cornered in a walk in freezer by the Blob which oozes in but then retreats. The townspeople and police still refuse to believe Steve's story.

Meanwhile, the Blob enters the Colonial and consumes the projectionist before oozing into the auditorium and doing the same to a number of the audience ... ... ...

***

I really like this film and think Steve, or should I say Steven McQueen is really great in this, despite being twenty seven and playing a teen!

I saw this for the first time years ago and the bit that always stuck in my head was Jane, aka Janie Girl and her never-ending talk about The Little Dog. Though to be fair, I would have worried about it too. And I, unlike Jane, who had some wonderful outfits by the way, would have had no problem with Steve calling me Janie Girl. Except Jane's not my name, so maybe I would 😉



Did you know ... The actual Blob, a mixture of red dye and silicone, has never dried out and is still kept in the original five-gallon pail in which it was shipped to the production company in 1958 from Union Carbide.

*

Have you seen The Blob?

Saturday, 18 February 2017

B-Movie Madness: The Incredible Shrinking Man 1957

B-Movie time again!
Today I'm featuring The Incredible Shrinking Man from 1957.


When Scott Carey begins to shrink because of exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide, medical science is powerless to help him.

It took me a while to watch this one. It sat on the Sky+ box for a little while, with me umming and ahhing. I then finally took the plunge. 

Once it had started, I was alert and ready for business! Yes sir!
I was going nowhere. Maybe this was why ...
Isn't star Grant Williams just so extraordinarily handsome?
If I was a fifties teen, I would be sighing and declaring him dreamy.
I hear he had a Madonna complex.


Lying sunbathing on the deck of a boat, and trying to persuade her to get him a drink, he referred to his wife as wench.
This made me fall for his charms just a little more.
But then, I'm odd like that.


"The cellar stretched before me like some vast primeval plain, empty of life, littered with the relics of a vanished race. No desert island castaway ever faced so bleak a prospect. "




I'm not the biggest fan of cats, sorry cat furmums out there, I'm a bunny lady through and through, and this cat didn't help the cause, it was horrible! My word it had an attitude problem!

This scene struck a cord with me, and not because I have been trapped in a dolls house by a jerky ginger cat, but because as a child I often wondered what it would be like to walk through my own dolls house.


"I felt puny and absurd, a ludicrous midget. Easy enough to talk of soul and spirit and existential worth, but not when you're three feet tall. I loathed myself, our home, the caricature my life with Lou had become. I had to get out. I had to get away."


Apparently this spider is the same spider who starred in the film Tarantula!
Film star spider!




"I was continuing to shrink, to become... what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the man of the future? If there were other bursts of radiation, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other beings follow me into this vast new world? So close - the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle."



"I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends in man's conception, not nature's. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. "


"My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!"



Did you know ... the psycho cat in this film was named Orangey and also featured in Breakfast at Tiffanys, as Cat.

🎞🎞🎞

Overall I did enjoy this, though I did find myself a little deflated when it had finished.
And no, not because the film was finished and Grant Williams wasn't there in front of me anymore.
I don't like to give spoilers or endings away, so if you're interested, do watch, it's one of the better ones I believe. I sincerely cared about Williams character Scott, and do still think about the film from time to time.