Category Archives: Drive-In Movies

Drive-In Movies

FRIDAY NIGHT DRIVE-IN MOVIE
The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)


The_Amazing_Colossal_ManTHE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN (1957) During a plutonium bomb test, an Army Lieutenant Colonel receives the full force of the blast, but instead of dying from having all his skin burned off, he grows into an amazing colossal man, just like the poster predicted he would. A classic American Pictures International cheapie – competently made and acted, and with the appropriate degree of gravitas – but as hokey as the day is long. The scene with the colossal guy sitting with his tiny fiancé getting all philosophical is a hoot, but it’s not to be outdone by the guy in the helicopter who brings a giant hypodermic needle to the party. You see, the big guy was set to get married in Vegas the night of the blast, and in his growing delusional madness he finds his way there anyway… but can’t get into The Sands, so he rips the joint up – just like Sinatra would have. Pushed into production to capitalize on the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man, the great Roger Corman was originally attached as director, but ended up finding something better to do. This is hosted at VEOH, so it may not be available in all locations. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE (USING A QUESTION MARK): When Will It Stop? DIALOG ALERT: “Perhaps it isn’t I who’s growing, but it’s everyone who’s shrinking!” Amazingly, I couldn’t find The Amazing Colossal Man on DVD at Amazon, only VHS, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

ARCH HALL Drive-In Movies

ARCH HALL, JR. & THE ARCHERS Wild Guitar! (2005) + Watch The 1962 Movie “Wild Guitar”

frontWild Guitar! (2005)
Can You Resist? Should You Resist?

The great Arch Hall, Jr. Where to start? Bad B-movie aficionados know Arch from his largely awful oeuvre of early 60s films produced and/or written and/or directed by his dad, Arch, Sr. – including such much-maligned corkers as The Choppers, EEGAH!, Wild Guitar & The Sadist. Most featuring Arch in teen idol mode, often performing original songs, whether the plot involves juvenile delinquency, inadequate monsters or even homicidal maniacs. To be fair to Arch, he wasn’t much worse than many other z-grade acting talents of the time, even though the budget-free, thread-bare productions of his films were among the worst ever made (Dad used two aliases in Wild Guitar alone). Musically, the same sort of definitions apply. Arch’s rockin’ teen combo fare may not have any lasting appeal, but as time capsule exhumations, Arch is a fun escape to a past era of mindless innocence masquerading as rebellion. Enter this 48 track compilation of material featuring music, dialog and trailers from Arch’s early 60s career. You get his sole released 45, “Monkey In My Hat Band” b/w  “Konga Joe” (from 1959), along with tunes featured in his movies, many from Wild Guitar. The cream of this comp’s crop, however, are 12 tracks recorded live at a Pensacola drive-in movie concert in 1962, where you can hear Arch and his Archers performing a handful of originals and period winners like “Hello Mary Lou,” “Susie Q” and “Good Golly Miss Molly,” among others. This set alone will make you actively pine for a time machine, as the band sounds like the wild and horny 19 year-olds they are, let loose on the town. If you wanted to actually critique Arch’s chops and performance, I guess you could, but what would be the point? The fact is, this stuff is thoroughly enjoyable, perhaps as camp fare, maybe as serviceable amateur RnR, or maybe even as a cautionary fable of what happens when your dad bankrolls your quest for fame. But… does it even really matter if you’re having fun? And Arch Hall, Jr. & The Archers are fun. Amazon has it HERE.

The Sadist (0:38)
Dune Buggy (2:02)
Buzzola (0:12)
Konga Joe (2:24)
Theme From Wild Guitar (1:48)
Termites (0:05)
Steak’s Theme (2:06)
Monkey In My Hatband (1:51)
Back In Business (0:11)
Run Vickie Run (1:19)
Mike Calls The Shots (0:13)
Guitar Twist (1:16)
A Date With Eegah (0:27)
Theme From Eegah (3:26)
I’m Growin’ Taller (2:18)
Wild Guitar Trailer (1:27)
Stairfall (0:36)
Twist Fever (2:35)
Publicity (0:08)
Money And Records (0:52)
Steak (1:50)
Eegah Crashes The Party (0:48)
Brownsville Road (1:57)
Vickie (2:38)
Girl Bait (0:06)
Daisy Dance (1:03)
The Kidnappers (1:20)
Judy Poody (2:41)
Organ Twist (1:17)
Bud Smells A Rat (0:22)
Bud And Steak Square Off (1:42)
Pep Talk (0:14)
*LIVE AT TWIN DRIVE-IN, Pensacola, FL – December 7, 1962
*Archer’s Theme (0:56)
*If A Man Answers (3:20)
*Further On Up The Road (4:03)
*Stop Sneakin’ Round (3:04)
*Nancy Czar Interview (2:30)
*Teenage Idol (2:59)
*Good Golly Miss Molly (2:36)
*Wild Guitar (3:01)
*Hello Mary Lou (2:22)
*Susie Q (1:36)
*Yes I Will (2:19)
*Archer’s Theme Outro (0:42)
You Little Punk (0:06)
Watch Your Step (3:56)
Big Boy Pete (2:35)
The Choppers (0:35)

REGARDING ARCH’S MOVIES: Tonight’s Friday night drive-in movie will be EEGAH! (HERE), a truly awful movie featuring Arch in all his glory, and below you can view Wild Guitar, the story of a young teenager making his way into the music business in early 60s LA. But fans of the intense and bizarre need to visit our drive-in archives and watch The Sadist (HERE), a grim, twisted pre-grindhouse grindhouse movie that will surely appeal to Quentin Tarantino fans for its unapologetic homicidal nature. It’s a true classic and not necessarily “bad,” though it is in so many ways. Wiki has more Arch info, with links to most of his movies if you’re the detail oriented type.

Drive-In Movies

Zontar, The Thing From Venus (1966)


1966zontarthethingfromvenus3ZONTAR, THE THING FROM VENUS (1966) For those of us who thought Roger Corman’s It Conquered The World (HERE) wasn’t quite cheap enough, here’s an even cheaper remake… Zontar, The Thing From Venus, starring B-movie mainstay, John Agar (Attack Of The Puppet People HERE, Journey To The Seventh Planet HERE, The Mole People HERE, The Brain From Planet Arous HERE). A megalomaniac scientist is communicating with space static to help what he believes is an earth-saving alien who, in reality, is out to conquer the world. Zontar holes up in a cave (which is supposed to simulate his environment on Venus, but is actually just a money-saving production option), and messes with the operation of cars, running water and electrical power, putting all the puny humans on notice about who their daddy is. You’d think that Zontar’s death couldn’t be achieved any easier than “It’s” death in Corman’s previous 1956 version of this story… but you’d be wrong. Directed by the great (not actually) Larry Buchanan (Mars Needs Women, HERE). EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE: It’s Coming For YOU! DIALOG ALERT: “I don’t know exactly HOW I understand, but it’s a form of hyperspace hypnotism. I DO know that I DO understand.” Find Zontar, The Thing From Venus at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Teenagers From Outer Space (1959)

TeenagersouterspaceTEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE (1950) Some disagreeably rude aliens land on earth to prep it as a breeding ground for their monstrous food supply, a.k.a. Gargons. One of the dreamier aliens, Derek, whose brain was polluted by a book suggesting there’s a better life to be had by spreading peace, love and understanding (instead of hatred and weaponry), escapes into the populace – befriending a girl, attending pool parties and dressing like a teddy boy, as he works to save the world from the ever-growing, lobster-like Gargons. Two parts stupid and one part awful, Teenagers From Outer Space is everything ‘bad cinema’ lovers look for in cheap sci-fi – lousy acting, absurd dialog, dumb plot… all this despite writer, director, editor, cinematographer, Tom Graeff’s admirably logical story outline and sensible direction (Graeff also plays Joe, the reporter). The production’s reported $14,000 budget is impossible to even fathom – practically putting Graeff in a league with Orson Welles for his creative ingenuity under such budgetary restraints. Even more alien than the aliens, however, is seeing a friendly gas station attendant with a bow tie washing customers’ windows. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE: Thrill-Crazed Space Kids Blasting The Flesh Off Humans! DIALOG ALERT: “You know, I don’t get this guy. Animals or humans. He just seems to like killing.” Find Teenagers From Outer Space on DVD at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

The Brain From Planet Arous (1957)


arousTHE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS (1957) Resoundingly stupid, and all the greater for it, with a concocted plot about the radioactivity discovered at “Mystery Mountain.” Start a drinking game tied to that phrase to get this movie’s full effect. The producers filmed this one in the deserts behind the studios – a classic no-funds shortcut. The best scene is the opening credits, boasting a rousing score and a spooky, approaching light in the background. The “brain” itself is cheap, Outer Limits quality, and some of the music sounds like it came from 30s serials, but the director (whose resume includes Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman and The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad) does his b-movie best by adding some atmospheric shots to a script that is little more than another body-snatcher type story, with a few twists. You gotta love the horny aliens, though, from from “aroused” planet Arous. You can just imagine their carnal lust providing the cues for all the jocks at the drive-ins to feel-up their dates. B-movie great, John Agar stars. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE: “Science Fiction’s Most Astounding Story!” DIALOG ALERT: “After I’m gone, your Earth will be free to live out its miserable span of existence, as one of my satellites, and that’s how it’s going to be!” Find this one at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

The Invisible Man Returns (1940)


dsdbjuma54opumliol6rTHE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940) Watch it while you can. You’ll be hooked from the first seconds of the glass globe, spinning Universal logo and musical fanfare for this 1940 sequel to the original The Invisible Man. This one stars Vincent Price, in his first horror movie role, mostly in ghostly voice form, as the Invisible Man himself – making a brief, scenery chewing (visible) appearance near the end. Lots of 30s melodrama, great character actors (primarily Cecil Kellaway as Inspector Sampson of Scotland Yard) and a stunning, modern-looking blonde dish (Nan Grey) help to round out this dated but warm near-original production. The effects are cheap but effective, and the uncomfortable dinner scene (48:45) with Helen, Dr. Griffin and The Man – as invisibility begins to takes its psychic toll – is a hoot! EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: A New Fantastic Creation Suggested By H.G.Wells! DIALOG ALERT: “You’re not mistaking my good spirits for madness, I hope.” Find The Invisible Man Returns packaged in the incredible The Invisible Man: Complete Legacy Collection box set at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

The Last Woman On Earth (1960)


Last_Woman_on_Earth_(1960)THE LAST WOMAN ON EARTH (1960) Following up on last week’s The Last Man On Earth (HERE), comes this Roger Corman cheapie, The Last Woman On Earth. The plot is actually kinda cool, as a trio of somewhat shady characters scuba diving in Puerto Rico surface to find that the rest of the world has been asphyxiated. As with many Corman productions, this one is cheap… and is considered part of his “Puerto Rico Trilogy,” since he made it back-to-back with two other productions in the same locale, Creature From The Haunted Sea and Battle Of Blood Island. It’s a character study with budgetary drawbacks, and the sleazy jazz vibe and overt sexual interplay all make for a seamy, sordid affair. One of the three main characters is played (very badly) by Robert Towne (using an alias, Edward Wain, and seen above) – the famed future screenwriter of Chinatown, The Last Detail and a couple of Mission Impossible flicks. He reportedly got the acting gig because, with an unfinished script in hand, Corman couldn’t afford a scripter and another actor on the location shoot. After the plot set-up, the story disintegrates into a sexual power struggle, with an anti-climatic resolution. Scored by Corman favorite, Ronald Stein (It Conquered The World HERE, Attack Of The Crab Monsters HERE, Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman and The Premature Burial HERE, among others). EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: They Fought For The Ultimate Prize! DIALOG ALERT: “I did not come down here to watch you watch cock fights and play craps.” Find Last Woman On Earth at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

The Last Man On Earth (1964)


LastMan1THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) Excellent widescreen print starring one of horrordom’s greatest, Vincent Price, in a thankless, dour role that examines the hopeless plight of a lonely man during the post-civilization zombie apocalypse. Tame by today’s standards, and more talky than frightening, it was still a grim, heartless portrait in its day. Penned by Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone) in 1954, he also wrote the screenplay but, dissatisfied with the end result, used an alias in the credits. Of course, many know this classic as a forerunner to 1968’s Night Of The Living Dead, and a precursor to virtually every zombie flick ever made – but under other titles, like I Am Legend (Matheson’s original book title) and The Omega Man. Despite some of the cast names, and the glut of foreign cars, most never knew the movie was actually filmed in Italy, while the black & white austerity is essential to the film’s mood (one of the reasons I’ve rarely warmed to the remakes, despite their superior technique). I have no clue why the poster features a dark, spooky old mansion… though, the image is so synonymous with Price’s face, it’s easy to overlook that it’s not actually in the movie. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: How Much Horror Can You Face! DIALOG ALERT: “Your new society sounds charming.” Lots of DVD options for The Last Man On Earth are at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964) – MST3000


santa-claus-conquers-the-martians-posterSANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (1964) Santa Claus Conquers The Martians is a truly stupid and incomprehensible movie. Despite my own love for “bad cinema,” I’ve never been able to sit through the whole thing myself. Though, in its defense, it is totally geared towards kids. So, since the Friday Night Drive-In Movie falls on Christmas this year, and a seasonal offering seems to be in order, and Santa Claus Conquers The Martians does fit within our stated bad sci-fi cinema perimeters, it only seems right to host it. But… since few are actually able to sit through it all, we’ve opted for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, so we can all get the gist of it, while getting some genuine laughs at the incompetency and the MST3000 barbs. I won’t bore you with a plot summary (Martians kidnapping Santa), since it doesn’t matter. But, for those who saw this as a child and have a soft spot for this turkey, and feel they must experience it in all its original glory, it’s hosted over at YouTube, HERE. Those looking to bypass the MST3000 introductions, can rocket to 6:35 on the player and get straight to the stupidity. Personally, I enjoyed the MST guys taking this opportunity to rag on Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse, for no discernible reason. A tiny Pia Zadora is one of the kids. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Science-Fun-Fiction At Its Height! DIALOG ALERT: “Oh, no, I’m not tired. But my finger is.” Find a remastered Blu-ray version of Santa Claus Conquers The Martians at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

13 Ghosts (1960)


13-ghosts-1960-poster13 GHOSTS (1960) Watch this one while you can, because it probably won’t be up for long. 13 Ghosts is a long-time fave of fans of a certain age, as it was a Creature Feature TV staple of the 60s, and it boasted some of the legendarily hokey gimmickry of film producer, William Castle, who introduces this film. The plot is simple… a family inherits a haunted house and must stay in it, despite its ghostly inhabitants. The plot twists are predictable (other evil forces want them out, too), but the generally familiar proceedings are goosed by Castle’s “ghost-viewers” (dubbed “Illusion-O”), that allow us to “see” the ghosts when they appear on screen. If you’ve got a standard pair of 50s-styled 3-D glasses (and what self-respecting horror/sci-fi fan doesn’t?), you can approximate the experience… even though, without them, you can still kinda see what’s going on. The movie itself is well-directed and well-constructed, with decent dialog and even some inside humor (housekeeper Margaret Hamilton – Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West – is mischievously dubbed a “witch” by the family child). Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the leads in this one… Donald Woods is a poor man’s Hugh Marlowe (HERE), and Rosemary De Camp is unintentionally grating as the mom. In fact, it’s Martin Milner (of TV’s Adam-12) that’s the most convincing here. But, those are personal (and minor) complaints that most viewers probably won’t even consider. The pacing of 13 Ghosts is solid, the 60s ambience is rich and the spooky moans and cries are often effective. Von Dexter scores. Many know the big budget remake from 2001, starring Tony Shalhoub. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: A Ghost For Each Member Of Your Family! Pick Your Favorite Spook! DIALOG ALERT: “This place gives me the creeps.” Find 13 Ghosts at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Horrors Of The Black Museum (1959)


HBMHORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1959) Colorful British export that traffics in bloody, deliciously designed murders, “each more horrible than the last,” as one character says. Horrors Of The Black Museum is often grouped with two other Brit films (Peeping Tom and Circus Of Horrors, HERE) as part of a loose thematic trilogy, all of which glorified increasingly gruesome forms of cinematic gore (with 60s limitations, of course). The action starts almost immediately, with a fiendish murder that might remind some of The Abominable Dr. Phibes (HERE). But, like most of the sci-fi/horror films coming out of Britain during this period, the outrageousness is played straight, with first-rate acting, serious craftsmanship and none of the glaring plot holes that typically plagued the cheaply made American drive-in counterparts. The dialog zings with quick wit, especially from the film’s star, Michael Gough (They Came From Beyond Space, HERE – though he’s better known these days as Bruce Wayne’s butler in Tim Burton’s Batman), who plays a cynically self-important author of sensationalistic thrill-seeking articles and books. Some excellent charter actors appear throughout, like a crazed confessor of crimes, and the mouthy, platinum blond strumpet who’s practically begging for a creative demise. American International Pictures added a 13-minute prologue featuring a hypnotist to the American release of Horrors Of The Black Museum (sadly missing here), along with the entire “Hypno-Vista” angle, to help goose the box office sales for gimmick-hungry US viewers. Directed by Arthur Crabtree (Fiend Without A Face, HERE). EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: HYPNO-VISTA! You Can’t Resist It! It Actually Puts You In The Picture! DIALOG ALERT: “I can’t pamper myself with tranquilizers and sedatives… not while these murders are unsolved.” Find Horrors Of The Black Museum at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Monster A Go-Go! (1965)


magogoMONSTER A GO-GO! (1965) The phrase “worst movie ever” gets tossed around a lot in 50s/60s horror/sci-fi circles, and Monster A Go-Go! is a leading contender. The plot, such as it is, is a tired re-tread from the get-go, best summarized by the lame movie poster, “An Astronaut Went Up – A ‘Guess What’ Came Down.” What makes it all so Ed Wood-ian is the mix of one-take “acting,” poor production values and piecemeal editing that defies logic. The general shoddiness is a result of the film’s original producer running out of money in 1961. Another producer, looking for a cheap second feature for his own upcoming release, bought the rights and finished it… 4 years later. Which is why many of the actors go missing half-way through the movie. One returning character looked so different he was “re-cast” as his own brother to explain the discrepancy. If you’re a veteran connoisseur of these types of movies, you’ll have already guessed that the “A Go-Go” aspect of all this was nothing but a drive-in marketing angle. Voice-overs explain more than could have possibly been filmed with a zero budget, so most of the “action” is merely described, and left to your imagination. Still… if you’re a fan of this sort of rubbish, it’s all quite fascinating to watch it unfold, seeing grown adults dealing with a real-time train wreck – as it happens – has its own perverse entertainment value. Listen for the telephone ringing that is obviously made vocally by someone off-camera. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: The Picture That Comes Complete With A 10-Foot-Tall Monster, To Give You The Wim-Wams! DIALOG ALERT: “The line between science fiction and science fact is microscopically thin.” Unbelievably, Monster A Go-Go! is actually available at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Black Friday (1940)


BLACK-FRIDAY-1940-5BLACK FRIDAY (1940) For over 70 years, until modern post-Thanksgiving marketing took over, the words “Black Friday” conjured up a different kind of horror for consumers. Black Friday is a classic Universal offering, featuring two greats, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, though they don’t appear in a single scene together. A kindly old professor and a hard-nosed gangster are both involved in an auto accident, and doctor Karloff performs a brain transplant to keep his old friend alive. As you can easily guess, the meek professor (Stanley Ridges, in a freakishly believable dual-performance that dignifies the term “character actor”) begins to adopt the gangster’s tough guy persona, eventually becoming him, as Karloff selfishly – despite his good intentions – tries to ascertain the whereabouts of his hidden loot. Beautiful noir-ish mystery with a hint of sci-fi, whose concept was later used for dozens of future brain-transplant variations (both directly and indirectly), including Donovan’s Brain (HERE), The Brain (HERE) & The Colossus Of New York (HERE). Great performances by Ridges, Karloff and Lugosi (in a small role), a typically rousing (if familiar) Universal score and a crisp, commercial-free print combine to make this Black Friday a joy to experience. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: A Man-Made Monster Is On The Loose! DIALOG ALERT: “Doc, you’re a genius, but you could’ve given me a better chassis.” Find Black Friday at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

The Space Children (1958)


space_childrenTHE SPACE CHILDREN (1958) If you’re like me, you don’t need to see any children in 50s sci-fi. They’re the worst actors ever and, typically, films with kids are often films made for kids. The Space Children is a welcomed variation, as aliens (actually a big, glowing, pulsating brain) telepathically use the children of scientists to sabotage a military rocket launch. Personally, I think it’s the kids’ way of getting away from their depressive, worrisome, overly dramatic mother, but… that’s just a theory, especially since these kid actors aren’t all bad (star Michel Ray would later show up in Lawrence Of Arabia). The Space Children has some top-notch participants involved, even if the movie itself is ever so so-so. B-movie director Jack Arnold is best known for Creature From The Black Lagoon, It Came From Outer Space (HERE), The Incredible Shrinking Man and Tarantula (HERE), among others. The music score is by the great Van Cleve, who lends the proceedings a Twilight Zone vibe. Also on call are Jackie Coogan (himself a child actor once) and Russell Johnson (aka The Professor), as an evil stepfather that gets his due. One of the girls might be recognizable as the scared-stiff catatonic in Them!. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Their Children Were The Slaves Of THE THING From Outer Space! DIALOG ALERT: “You see… a man of science is like a deep-sea diver. He mustn’t be afraid to walk down where it’s dark and frightening, in the hopes of scooping up a handful of truth.” Find The Space Children at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

I Married A Monster From Outer Space (1958)


imarriedmonsterI MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE (1958) By request: From Paramount Pictures, who’ve recently been posting high-grade versions of their sci-fi catalog online – including, Crack In The World (HERE), Conquest Of Space (HERE) and The Colossus Of New York (HERE) – all in outstanding quality (with commercials, but worth it). I Married A Monster From Outer Space is a well-acted and well-constructed drive-in fave, though the plot is obviously reminiscent of 1956’s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers… as aliens systematically take over the bodies of local townsfolk, rousing the suspicions of wives, partners and intuitive dogs. But there are some variations in this re-telling… like casting the main characters as two-fisted drinking adults, instead of demographically targeted teenagers. Also, the basic plot – and the monster – are both revealed early on, so there’s no teasing wait-and-peeks to suffer through. And, finally, despite their frightening appearance, the aliens really aren’t so “evil,” as their mission is merely to re-populate their dying species. I Married A Monster From Outer Space nails all the essentials, with a rousing music score, 50s-styled shock value and retro era-atmospherics. Though… with all the references to drinking, and the abundance of lushes and sots, you gotta wonder about writer Louis Vittes’ own preoccupations when penning this classic. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: The Bride Wore Terror! DIALOG ALERT: “The evening’s still got braces on its teeth.” Find I Married A Monster From Outer Space at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Stranger From Venus (1954)


Stranger From VenusSTRANGER FROM VENUS (1954) a.k.a. Immediate Disaster, a.k.a. The Venusian. The intrigue begins almost immediately when a stranger (from Venus, you might guess) shows up at a local inn, acting strangely and arousing suspicion. Primarily because he pays no taxes and has no pulse. Republican jokes notwithstanding, this offering is a good one, with serious performances, sensible dialog and a solid plot – all synonymous with 50s British sci-fi. Patricia Neal is here, and many have deemed this film a Brit remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still (HERE), in which she also starred. And there are plenty of similarities… the topic of nuclear proliferation, the level-headed handling of our first contact, the alien’s desire to meet with all the world’s leaders and his flirtatious connection with Neal, to pinpoint a few. Even a few specific scenes, like when the humans are discussing how small they feel in his presence, a direct rip of a similar, post-examination cigarette break in The Day The Earth Stood Still. But, there’s no “action” in this variation – no robots, spaceships or confrontations to speak of. And, hardcore B-movie fans will no doubt see the parallels to another 1954 movie, Devil Girl From Mars (HERE) – a funnier, campier version with similar circumstances and surroundings, which (given the simultaneous timing) is probably incidental. TAG LINE: Tonight First Contact Will Be Made! DIALOG ALERT: “I usually hate people that know all the answers… but I like him. He makes you feel like a moron, but I like him.” Find Stranger From Venus at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Crack In The World (1965)


Crack In The World CRACK IN THE WORLD (1965) What’s masquerading as ‘science fiction’ here is actually an early version of what would later become a mega-trend in 70s and 80s movie-making – a Hollywood disaster flick. And, it’s well conceived, too, though… on the surface it appears staid and one-dimensional. That’s because its periods of nour-ish melodrama (headed up by veteran, Dana Andrews) underscore the scientifically dull premise of scientists attempting to drill through the earth’s core to access ore-laden energy. As you might guess, it all ends up being an apocalyptic nightmare, instead. But, the well-paced emergencies, believable sets, solid props & effects, and the rousing opening score that would have fit just as snugly into almost any other genre flick of the day – from Roman gladiator to WWII – all makes for an end result more commendable than the sum of its parts. Great print that blows up nicely to full screen. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Thank God It’s Only A Motion Picture! DIALOG ALERT: “We don’t want the commissioners to think we’re all mad scientists.” Find Crack In The World at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

Frozen Alive (1964)


Frozen-Alive-posterFROZEN ALIVE (1964) Two science babes – one, a wholesome, hard-working type, the other, a drink-swilling shrew married to her boss – cat fight it out over the topic of freezing humans into suspended animation. Despite the jazzy opening score music, this stiff upper Brit offering from 1964 is as lumbering as a seminar on the subject… which the director kindly included. This “science fiction” tale (as “timely as today’s headlines,” which means it may be science, but it’s not necessarily fiction) takes a murder mystery slant when the drunken Mrs. winds up dead and the hubby goes into hibernation. Hampered by one-note direction that looks like it was made for mid-60s TV. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Suspended Animation Or Death! DIALOG ALERT: “Believe it or not, they stick chimpanzees into a deep freeze for a few months… and bring ’em out alive.” Find Frozen Alive at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

The Colossus Of New York (1958)


colossus-of-new-yorkTHE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK (1958) The always confidently erudite Otto Kruger (Magnificent Obsession, High Noon) chews up his role as a brilliant brain surgeon who operates on his Peace Prize-winning son (Ross Martin, of Wild Wild West fame) after he’s killed in an auto accident. An accident that was caused by Ross’s insufferably whining son, Billy, who should have been put down long before he inadvertently killed his genius dad. The slightly mad Kruger misguidedly attempts to salvage his son’s brain for future generations, by putting it into a giant robot body. Dumb, yes… but this fantastic tale is played straight, as the characters continually debate their differing, sometimes obsessive, points of view. And, the title Colossus’s first reaction to his mirror image is about as genuine as it gets. Even his distorted, electrified voice is unsettling. The Colossus Of New York is well-conceived and well-acted, bolstered by a foreboding, dissonant solo piano score by Van Cleave. This is an excellent print, so you’ll have to sit through a few commercials for the high quality. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Towering Above The Skyline – An Indestructible Creature Whose Eyes Rain Death And Destruction! DIALOG ALERT: “Billy, y’wanna look in my pockets and see what I found for you? Aw, you’re pretty cold. That’s even colder. Now you’re warm. There!” Amazon has The Colossus Of New York in Blu-Ray and DVD, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Drive-In Movies

The Premature Burial (1962)


premature burial(The) Premature Burial (1962) Director Roger Corman… Edgar Allan Poe… premature burials… once-distinguished actor Ray Milland slumming it for a horror role… do you need an invitation? I’ve always been a fan of this kind of colorfully costumed, Victorian-era, Gothic hokum, more for its impact on my pre-teen psyche than for any actual content or fright-factor. Most of them are a tad plodding, if you want to be honest about it, but Roger Corman’s Poe treatments (and there were many) became a familiar blueprint for lots of Creature Feature/Drive-In fare of the early 60s. To his credit, Milland is quite effective as a man who fears being buried alive, especially when he’s showing off his elaborately designed and foolproof life-saving crypt (@25:00), with the same coldly, calculating, confessional, civilized kind of monologue he so masterfully delivered in Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder. Corman knew that, and he’s at the top of his game, with a decent budget to boot. A young Francis Ford Coppola was learning the ropes as ‘dialogue director’ for this film. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Within The Coffin I Lie… ALIVE! DIALOG ALERT: “Madness…? It’s the only sane answer to my problem. I’ll show you how mad I am!” Amazon has The Premature Burial in various sets, including Blu-Ray (HERE), as a two-fer with The Masque Of The Red Death (HERE) and as part of the multi-disc Roger Corman Collection box set (HERE). New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.