Category Archives: 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.

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.

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.

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.

The Undead (1957)

Undead THE UNDEAD (1957) A creepy “scientist” picks up a call girl to hypnotize her for his mental time travel experiments. A Roger Corman classic, and the master pulls some tricks out of his legendary bag for this one… including fog banks to help disguise the minuscule budget, a six-day (one-take) film schedule, and sets that were cost-consciously constructed in an abandoned supermarket. The Undead is well-filmed – with crisp, noir-ish atmospherics – but when the plot takes us to the Middle Ages, the acting and dialog can’t even muster community theater standards. The ham sandwich playing The Devil is a total hoot. Does the voluptuous witch looks familiar? It’s Allison Hayes, best known for starring in the poster (and movie), Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman the following year. Watch for the wobbly stone wall sets during the scuffle in the Tower Of Death, and the foresightful zippers in the 15th Century clothing. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: A Thousand Years Of Naked Terror! DIALOG ALERT: “The head of a madman isn’t much of a head at all. The Devil might feel slighted if you brought him less than the best.” There’s only an expensive foreign copy of The Undead available at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Mutiny In Outer Space (1965)

Mutiny In Outer SpaceMUTINY IN OUTER SPACE (1965) Since it was made in 1965, the technological dialog heard in Mutiny In Outer Space isn’t quite as ridiculous as most of the space flicks of the 50s. But, overall, the crappy models, soap opera theatrics, cheap TV-style production values and terminally dull plot (an alien fungus coming from the ice caves of the Moon), all add up to…. well, not a whole lot. But, it is a drive-in styled chuckle-fest, as long as you’ve got a barrel of popcorn and a diabetes-sized soft drink by your side. The 2-D characters are straight from central casting – from the glib, square-jawed Major Towers, to the horny, looks-obsessed space station babes. The music is so ill-fitting it sounds like it could have been dubbed from an unrelated score. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Astounding Adventure From The Center Of The Moon! DIALOG ALERT: “Well, that’s only six trillion miles as the crow flies.” Find Mutiny In Outer Space at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Maze (1953)

TheMaze1953THE MAZE (1953) Veteran viewers of 50s movies will notice right away that some of this film’s framing tricks carry all the hallmarks of an early 3-D production. Yes, the one-time craze (television couldn’t duplicate) that died out in the 60s… before it died out again in the 10s. Director William Cameron Menzies is often credited with various technological advancements from his days in silent movies (he shot the burning of Atlanta sequence in Gone With The Wind), but his final two movies were Invaders From Mars (HERE) and The Maze. This spooky and atmospheric psychological thriller centers on a groom-to-be, Richard Carlson (The Magnetic Monster HERE, Riders To The Stars HERE, It Came From Outer Space HERE, and The Creature From The Black Lagoon), who mysteriously ends his engagement before leaving for his inherited castle in Scotland. His fiancé (Veronica Hurst, who, at certain angles, facially resembles Marilyn Monroe) doggedly follows him for an explanation… then things get weird. To try to explain how this plot climaxes would not do it justice, though… it’s the only aspect that (technically) elevates this old school drama to the ranks of “science fiction.” I would have loved to have been in the meeting when this idea was pitched to execs. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: How Much Horror Can You Take! DIALOG ALERT: “Well, I’ve always mistrusted glib men before, but I’ll have to make an exception in your case.” Find The Maze at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Earth Vs. The Spider (1958)

Earth-vs-the-spider-ing-hs-01EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (1958) a.k.a. THE SPIDER Writer/director Bert I. Gordon had a fascination for B-movie monster giants, helming a slew of drive-in cheapies that helped to define the genre, including The Cyclops, The Amazing Colossal Man (HERE), War Of The Colossal Beast, Attack Of The Puppet People (HERE), Village Of The Giants… and this one, Earth Vs. The Spider. In it, a couple of 20-something teenagers stumble on a cave (the ever-reliable Carlsbad Caverns) where a giant spider is hanging out. They contact an incredulous sheriff who, eventually, jumps into action by calling the exterminators. Like other movies of this type, Them and Tarantula (HERE) come to mind, the townsfolk are kinda helpless. Bullets won’t kill it, flames can’t burn it, nothing can stop it (that’s straight from the poster, by the way), as the arachnid rampages around, overturning cars and killing people. Gordon makes the most of his rear-projection technique… and that one long leg that enters the shots to slap people around. It’s all incredibly cheap, but not totally incompetent, though IMDb almost ran out of room listing all the “goofs” and continuity errors. Even worse is the spider’s “scream,” which is obviously just some guy cupping a microphone to his mouth. The director also tosses in some references to his own movies, The Amazing Colossal Man and Attack Of The Puppet People, placing one prominently on a movie marquee. Excellent theremin-laden score (or musical saw, it’s hard to tell) from Albert Glasser (which is worth seeking out). EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: 50 Tons Of Creeping Black Horror! DIALOG ALERT: “You know something? I haven’t seen a spider yet, and I don’t think we will!” Find an expensive DVD of Earth Vs. The Spider (a two-fer with Gordon’s War Of The Colossal Beast) at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Beyond The Time Barrier (1960)

Beyond-the-Time-BarrierBEYOND THE TIME BARRIER (1960) The plot you’ve already seen before… a test pilot is propelled into the future (2024), where a future civilization distrusts him, the Supreme leader’s mute grand-daughter pines for him, and a gang of sub-human, post-plague mutants are included just for good measure. Credit director Edgar G. Ulmer with making the most with what little he had to work with… a minuscule budget and a two-week filming schedule (time he effectively used to simultaneously make a second flick, The Amazing Transparent Man, HERE… at the same time). Ulmer buddied up to the Texas Air National Guard to shoot at abandoned air fields, while shrewdly making use of futuristic sets from 1959’s Texas State Fair to create his world of 2024. So… while the end result is little more than low-budget, cold war-era sci-fi hokum (partly designed to beat a thematically similar The Time Machine to the box office), Ulmer deserves kudos for his industriousness, if nothing else. In the end, however, it all went for naught, as the film’s distributor went bankrupt just as both his movies were being released. It’s not the first time Ulmer got the shaft. His relatively serious 1951 alien flick, The Man From Planet X (HERE), got shortchanged when better, bigger-budgeted 1951 movies like The Thing From Another World (HERE) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (HERE) grabbed all the attention. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Trapped!… In The Incredible Cosmic World That Moves 100 Years Beyond Time! DIALOG ALERT: “None of this is real, it’s all an illusion to me.” Beyond The Time Barrier is as cheap as $3 (in a 4-pack The Man From Planet X, The Time Travelers & Angry Red Planet) @ Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Electronic Monster (1958)

The Electronic MonsterTHE ELECTRONIC MONSTER (1958) a.k.a. Escapement
Any “sci-fi” film anchored by an insurance investigator isn’t bound to be a barn burner. You can totally ignore the “electrifying” poster, too (as is usually the case), since it’s merely an American concoction designed to merchandise a UK movie about psychiatry and brainwashing, originally entitled Escapement. Overall, the acting is well-played, though… US cowboy western mainstay Rod Cameron is somewhat ham-fisted as the insurance claims gumshoe rooting out the details of a movie star’s car crash, leading him to gaggle of ex-Nazi doctors engaged in sleep suggestion and mind control experiments. While far from riveting, this film’s creepy electronic music score (more like “effects”) lends some futuristic atmosphere to the proceedings, kicking the mind-numbing fact-finding focus of The Electronic Monster up a notch. And the weird dream sequences offer an altogether odd respite from the mundane. But… see for yourself. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Sweet-Fleshed Beauty Becomes Docile Of Demoniacal Monster! DIALOG ALERT: “On the other hand… death is the most perfect form of escape from life, isn’t it?” Find The Electronic Monster at Amazon, HERE.
New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Day The Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Day The Earth Caught FireTHE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961) We generally like our Drive-in Movies cheap and stupid around here, which makes The Day The Earth Caught Fire a bit of an anomaly. It’s a beautifully shot and restored wide-screen HD UK offering that depicts the aftermath of a series of nuclear tests that knock the world out of its orbit. Just enough to bring the Earth’s inhabitants to a slow boil. The action takes place on London’s (actual) Fleet Street, the UK’s newspaper hub of the 60s, where the characters are cynical, fast-talking journos intent on working themselves into an early grave – exemplified by once-heralded Peter Stenning, a hard-drinking writer for The Daily Express, who seems popped from a Richard Burton mold. The “sci-fi” here is in short supply, but the film’s briskly paced dialog is, in a word, brilliant… cracking with intelligent banter, smart quips and snappy comebacks – especially when the press boys gather at the local pub to snicker at politicians on the radio (“Alcoholics of the press, unite!”). You’ll recognize Leo McKern, best known to us music types as the ring-stealing cult leader from Help! (who makes a glass eye joke at his own expense… he’s got one, y’know). Listen closely for a young Michael Caine as a roadblocking bobby, not to mention a post-shower breast shot that may have helped earn this classic an early “X” rating. The film’s sepia-toned intro/outro is not a YouTube defect, but a device used to suggest the sun’s deadly heat. It all begins slowly, but the choreographed wordplay will keep you in tow. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: The INCREDIBLE Becomes Real! The IMPOSSIBLE Becomes Fact! The UNBELIEVABLE Becomes True! DIALOG ALERT: “Four months… before there’s a delightful smell in the universe of charcoaled mankind.” Find The Day The Earth Caught Fire at Amazon HERE (not cheap). New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Strange World Of Planet X (1958)

cosmic_monsters_poster_01THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X (1958) a.k.a. Cosmic Monsters, The Crawling Terror, The Cosmic Monster, and The Crawling Horror. Forrest Tucker (F-Troop) stars in this stiff-lipped British sci-fi offering about magnetic experiments, giant insects and alien warnings threatening the entire world. Which covers a lot of ground… and might explain why it was released under so many titles. More or less a cheap mash-up of plots from better alternatives. Of course, there’s a brainy science babe that puts all the dumb chauvinistic males on notice. In that regard, Tucker proves to be an embarrassing pick-up artist. Includes some spooky theremin music, too. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Every Second Your Pulse Pounds They Grow Foot By Incredible Foot! DIALOG ALERT: “Well, that DO make it nice. That’s American slang… it means, that DO make it nice.” Find The Strange World Of Planet X at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

A Bucket Of Blood (1959)

bucketofblood A BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959) Easily my favorite Roger Corman production. And given the prolific director’s vast oeuvre, that’s saying something. A Bucket Of Blood features many of Corman’s well-known hallmarks – a low-budget ($50K), a quick production turnaround (5 days), and its special attention to the youth/drive-in market. It features a few later sub-stars, like Bert Convey and Ed Nelson, and – in the lead – future tough guy actor Dick Miller (who, as a long running joke, used this character’s name, Walter Paisley, in a number of other movies he found himself in). Unlike many unintentionally funny horror movies of the 50s/60s, this one actually has humor built into the premise, as Miller plays a slow-witted cafe busboy who accidentally becomes an acclaimed “artist” after he starts using creatures, then people, as the core of his sculptures (a la Mystery Of The Wax Museum). But, fans of dated culture will revel in A Bucket Of Blood’s hysterical beatnik characterizations, featuring hipsters and jazzbos spouting more quotable “dialog alerts” than one can keep up with. The film is actually well made, unlike some of Corman’s work, and while it’s predictable and somewhat simplistic, this outstanding, remastered print is a blast to watch, boasting the gorgeous B&W noir elements of an old Twilight Zone episode… and a solid jazz score to boot. The folkie occasionally seen singing on stage is actually Alex Hassilev, who would later become one of The Limeliters. Written by Charles B. Griffith, who also collaborated with Corman on The Little Shop Of Horrors (which reused some of this movie’s sets). EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Inside Every Artist Lurks… A Madman! DIALOG ALERT: “Life is an obscure hobo bumming a ride on the omnibus of art.” Find A Bucket Of Blood at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1960)

The-Tell-Tale-Heart THE TELL-TALE HEART (1960) A well-executed 1960 UK adaption of Edgar Allan Poe’s first-rate tale of murder and madness – goosed with elements of voyeurism, jealousy, lust and even drug addiction. The story, you should already know, unless you were cutting class to get high behind the gymnasium when Poe was being covered in school. The highlight here is the exquisitely tortured performance by Laurence Payne as Edgar Marsh (and, near the beginning, as a withdrawing Poe), who is seen leering at his half-dressed neighbor before daring to approach and court her. Payne’s characterization is top-notch, displaying an awkwardly creepy, socially uncomfortable nervousness that convincingly sets up Poe’s study of one man’s descent into madness. Payne’s portrayal of a simple innocent crippled by his own obsessions and torment is both palpable and engrossing, while the brutal murder scene (and gruesome re-murder) – not to mention the film’s overt sexuality – is brazen for 1960. Poe fans should appreciate. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Fiendish Isn’t The Word For It! DIALOG ALERT: “Checkmate… checkmate… checkmate… CHECKMATE! CHECKMATE!! CHECKMATE!!!” We’ve also got a cool, 2CD set of Poe readings (including Iggy Pop’s reading of “The Tell-Tale Heart”) HERE. Find The Tell-Tale Heart for a few bucks at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Curse Of The Living Corpse (1964)

curse_of_living_corpse_poster_01THE CURSE OF THE LIVING CORPSE (1964) Low budget writer/director/producer Del Tenny (The Horror of Party Beach, HERE) infuses this victim-filled cheapie with an admirable degree of character development, thanks to some wickedly wretched portrayals and the film debut of Roy Scheider (Jaws, The French Connection) as a drunken family ingrate. The plot is a simple construct… a rich and despised patriarch of the late 1800s, with an abnormal fear of being buried alive, intimidates his uncaring family from beyond the grave via his will, filled with tailor-made death threats based on their own irrational fears (fire, drowning, disfigurement, etc.) if his final wishes aren’t carried out precisely. It’s not hard to figure out the rest. The dead man resurfaces and the clan gets picked off one by one. While utterly predictable, I actually enjoyed Tenny’s competent execution (over-wrought acting and all), and was even surprised by the climax (thinking the story’s outcome was clumsily outlined in the words of the will). For comic relief, check out the embarrassingly inept detective, who comes off like somebody’s chubby clueless brother-in-law, with a delivery so amateurish he manages to make the others look like their nailing Shakespeare. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: More Terrifying Than Frankenstein, More Deadly Than Dracula! DIALOG ALERT: “Quicksand never reveals its innermost secrets.” Find The Curse Of The Living Corpse (with The Horror Of Party Beach and Violent Midnight, on a Del Tenny triple feature DVD) at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Mars Needs Women (1967)

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 10.01.49 AMMARS NEEDS WOMEN (1967) Speaking of low-budget director Larry Buchanan (Zontar – The Thing From Venus, HERE)… comes his masterwork, a movie so bad that even the film’s star called it “one of the stupidest motion pictures ever made.” And, indeed, if you wanted to teach a masterclass in what not to do in filmmaking, this might be your best lesson guide. Bad acting, ridiculous monologues, scenes that linger on for no other reason than to pad the movie’s run time… it’s all here. Filled out with enough stock military footage to make a documentary on the subject. The plot finds women disappearing into thin air, just as the military decodes a three word message from space, ‘Mars… Needs… Women.’ Ex-Disney star Tommy Kirk hams it up as a Martian looking to replenish his planet with babes, while Byron Lord – as the high-strung Colonel – is a scene-chewing madman, that is when he’s not standing around looking intently at a loudspeaker or staring into space inside of an office pretending he’s watching stock footage planes landing. There are no movie posters for this one, as the finished product was deemed so bad it went directly to television. DIALOG ALERT: “These ties serve no functional purpose. Red planet abandoned the use of ties fifty years ago as useless male vanity. It simply reveals the environmental naiveté of the Earthmen.” Find Mars Needs Women at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Monolith Monsters (1957)

The Monolith MonstersTHE MONOLITH MONSTERS (1957) One of Universal’s more ingenious “monster” constructs. A meteorite deposits a slew of other-worldly rocks in a Californian desert. When they interact with water, they grow large. Monstrously large. And when gravity brings them crashing down, they smash into a million pieces… which all begin to grow again. It’s not often a geologist gets to be the hero in a monster movie, but when rocks are threatening the town, who you gonna call? The beauty of the film’s effective premise is that there’s also a naturally occurring danger lurking, just waiting to happen… rain. Which would trigger the monoliths’ growth to Earth-engulfing proportions. As primitive as this late 50s sci-fi offering is, it’s well-acted and plays like a thoughtful CSI investigation, as the locals work to figure out what can halt the seemingly unstoppable march of destruction. A little unintended humor comes from the local newspaperman, whose self-pity parties over his lack of purpose are relentless. Great, ominous voice-over intro by the legendary Paul Frees (of Disney fame). The celebrated music score, mostly by Irving Getz (using cues from Henry Mancini and Herman Stein), was also partially heard in The Deadly Mantis and This Island Earth (HERE), among other films. Daily Motion has way too many commercials, but at least they’re short and quick. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Mammoth Skyscrapers Of Stone Thundering Across The Earth! DIALOG ALERT: “It’s ridiculous. But that’s what they said about the wheel when someone first thought of it.” Find The Monolith Monsters at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

The Body Snatcher (1945)

The body snatcherTHE BODY SNATCHER (1945) There’s a lot of talent tied together in this 1945 RKO classic. A story by Robert Louis Stevenson, starring the never-better Boris Karloff as the creepy and unnerving torso taker, the great Bela Lugosi (the 8th and last pairing of Boris & Bela), all directed by Robert Wise (The Day The Earth Stood Still, HERE). The story is simple enough… a medical school needs bodies and a corrupt doctor turns to an old acquaintance to get them for him, illegally. But the screenplay features side stores that offer depth to the characters actions and motivations – including a secret wife and a chilling history between the doctor and snatcher. The violence is quite vivid, beginning with Karloff shoveling a little dog to death in a graveyard, then escalating to random murders and a first-rate finale between Karloff & Lugosi. It doesn’t end there, as a little after-life badgering brings the story to its just conclusion with a creepy carriage ride climax. Great work by director Wise, who successfully turns Californian movie sets into 1830s Edinburgh… though, in a well-known goof after the opening credits, some automobiles can be seen parked next to the castle. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: Foul Fingers Crimson With Dead Men’s Blood! DIALOG ALERT: “Would you like to give my horse a pet? He knows every little girl in Edinburgh.” Find The Body Snatcher (as a two-fer DVD, paired with I Walked With A Zombie) cheap at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Pharaoh’s Curse (1957) + LES BAXTER Music Out Of The Moon (1947)

Pharaoh's CursePHARAOH’S CURSE (1957) A marginal twist on the well-known lumbering Mummy tale. In this one, the spirit of (or dust of, or mojo of) a long-buried mummy inhabits an archeology crew-member, who becomes a lumbering mummy… without the raggedy-ass bandaging, thereby successfully side-stepping any copyright claims in the process. Pharaoh’s Curse is actually a well-made, if little known, find. But, it’s as dull as the day is long, with very little actual mummy action and some weird plot ideas that, for whatever reason, don’t seem all the weird to the participants. Like the army guys on desert detail who are joined by a sweat-less Egyptian princess who arrives out of nowhere and manages to keep up with the caravan – on foot – without food, water or sleep. Music by Les Baxter. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: A Blood-Lusting Mummy That Kills For A Cat-Goddess! DIALOG ALERT: “If you ask me, that beautiful mirage is a walking nightmare.” Find Pharaoh’s Curse at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.

Music Out Of The Moon
For No Particular Reason…

Hearing Les Baxter’s totally unrelated soundtrack for Pharaoh’s Curse prompted me to search the home files for the man’s debut LP release (actually, a 6-song, 3-10″ EP set), 1947’s weirdly intoxicating Theremin/vocal choir/piano concoction, Music Out Of The Moon. The compositions are by Harry Revel, while the Theremin is performed by Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman. Baxter himself later admitted, “It was a little weird. I didn’t know what popular records were. I didn’t know what I was doing.” Find the CD at Amazon, HERE.
Lunar Rhapsody (3:05)
Moon Moods (2:58)
Lunette (2:56)
Celestial Nocturne (3:08)
Mist O´ The Moon (2:47)
Radar Blues (3:11)

Gog (1954)

GogGOG (1954) From the opening scene, when a doomed babe with a needle leans in to administer a shot, you know immediately that Gog was once issued in 3-D. The sound on this one is bad, so you’ve gotta lean in to appreciate the dialog, as if that was even possible. Gog is the third episode in Ivan Tors’ so-called Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) trilogy, which included The Magnetic Monster (HERE) and Riders To The Stars (HERE), each starring Richard Carlson, who apparently had enough by 1954, since Richard Egan (Love Me Tender) stars in this one. The plot involves the rise of the machines, as scientists are being killed at a secret government lab where two robots (Gog and Magog) are housed. Both designed for a space station that we never get to board, since all the action (such as it is) is earthbound. There’s a hint of Cold War paranoia buried in the premise, and lots of gadgets and machinery designed to make it all scientifically relevant but, in the end, it’s really just a lot of sci-fi mumbo-jumbo… and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You gotta love a lumbering monster/robot/alien than “threatens the world,” even though it can easily be taken out with a baseball bat. EXCLAMATION-MARKED TAG LINE!: And Then, Without Warning, The Machine Became… A Frankenstein Of Steel! DIALOG ALERT: “The doctor says it isn’t serious, just a little too much radiation.” Find Gog at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.