It Conquered The World
“Every Man It’s Prisoner, Every Women It’s Slave”
It’s not the greatest movie ever made but it’s got a very cool monster and that makes up for a lot. A disillusioned scientist, played by Lee Van Cleef (The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Escape From New York) leads a monster from Venus to Earth using his scientific super transmitter for purposes he believes are peaceful but soon finds out the monster intends to dominate the world by mind control. Peter Graves ( Missile X The Neutron Bomb Incident, Red Planet Mars) plays another scientist who is not fooled by the monster and tries to convince Van Cleef the monster is up to no good.
Beverly Garland (The Alligator People, Not Of This World) handles the part of Van Cleef’s wife who discovers the monster’s evil plan and goes after it with a rifle only to be killed in the process.
The monster in the movie has a bag full of super-like powers like being able to cut electrical power to houses and keep cars from starting. It also uses batish looking creatures to attack its victims and implant its mind control device.. . . Plus it looks really cool.
I would have liked this movie a lot better if it wasn’t such a blatant rip off of “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” and surprisingly enough even this movie was ripped off nine years later by “ Zontar – Thing From Venus”. ..Which is almost the same movie.
It Conquered The World was directed by Roger Corman ( Beast With A Million Eyes, Not of this Earth) who produced over 400 movies most of them horror and sci/fi. And was made by Sunset Productions in 1956.
The movie is worth seeing just for the monster alone but as a bonus they tossed in some Venusian bat beasts, over-dramatic dialogue, a space radio that reaches infinity, and Lee Van Cleef. Enjoy “It Conquered The World” with your favorite ice cream cone. . You will understand the cone reference when you watch the movie. . . .
Mesa Of Lost Women
“A Race Of Deadly Spider-Women Luring Men To Their Death”
A movie so bad it could injure you just watching it. 1953 was a good year for movies and wine but this is neither. Although whiny at times the alleged movie is about as close to good as infinity plus one. Possibly one of the worst movies ever made.
Shame on Ron Ormand Productions for releasing this piece of celluloid cancer. And shame on Ron Ormand ( The Grim Reaper, The Burning Hell) for attempting to direct anything other people can see, even for free. This movie is so bad it would have to climb four letters to be considered a bad “B” movie. . Or considered a movie at all for that matter. From the looks of it the budget for the picture was around four bucks in food stamps.. . And those were probably somebody else’s food stamps.
The Quasi-Movie stars ( although stars is pretty big word for what these people did) Jackie Coogan ( The Space Children, Escape From Terror) as the Mad Scientist, and Lyle Talbot (Amazon Women On The Moon, Glen Or Glenda) as the narrator. As well as a bunch of other people who should never again have anything to do with anything involving film.
The plot (if you can call it a plot) is based on a very bad idea of having a mad scientist inject women with giant spider venom to create a race of super women. Why?. . It never says. However there are plenty of cow sized spiders in this movie ( It’s really the same spider shot from different angles that was probably rented from the Universal prop room) and some dwarfs (probably rented from the Snow White sound stage). The high point in the almost film is the soundtrack (Lifted from the movie “Jailbait”), which is fifteen seconds of a flamenco guitar and piano looped so it keeps repeating and played over and over though out the 70 minutes of this criminal offense.
If you want to hurt yourself go ahead and watch “Mesa of Lost Women” if you want to hurt someone else . . Give it to them as a gift. . Anonymously
“Raw Panic The Screen Never Dared Reveal”
A movie that had Classic potential but fell short due to the cardboard box robots with dryer vent tubing legs.
Richard Denning (The Day the World Ended, Creature with the Atom Brain) and Kathleen Crowley ( Curse of the undead, City of Shadows) star as a couple on the run in this 1954 Abtcon Pictures Sci/fi thriller.
The plot is an interesting one. Los Angles has been attacked and is under control of robots from Venus. Denning awakes (after being conked on the head in a robbery and unconscious for 12 hours) to find the city has been evacuated. Crowley awakes after a botched attempt at suicide by sleeping pills to find the same thing. They meet each other in the vacant streets and try to figure out what has happened to all the people. As they walk around the city they come across a pair in a restaurant one of whom is the lovely and talented Virginia Grey (House of Horrors, Slaughter Trail) who is later shot by a menacing criminal. As the foursome gathers on the street they spy the robots. The rest of the movie is pretty much them playing cat and mouse with 4th grade art project robots. Until the army saves the day.
The first half of the movie is definitely a keeper. An empty Los Angles is a surreal creepy place and two people not knowing why it’s like that is quite scary. Finding a few dead bodies adds to the effect. But once the crummy robots appear with their cheesy death rays the movie’s a wash.
It’s an entertaining movie but not probably one you would recommend to a friend. However. . .. Go ahead and watch it. . .
I like to play
All through the day
And sometimes into night
Playing is fun
It’s number one
It’s really outta sight!
I like pigs ears
I’ve liked them for years
The thought of not having them
Makes my eyes fill with tears
20 Million Miles To Earth
“Monster From Outer Space Runs WILD!”
“20 Million Miles To Earth” is a classic, it’s a classic for one reason. Legendary stop action animation genius Ray Harryhausen. 20 Million Miles was Harryhausen’s favorite and he even appeared in the movie (un-credited) feeding the elephant at the zoo.
A rocket ship, having gone to Venus, crash-lands in the ocean off Italy’s coast on its return. In a stroke of good fortune a small boat of fishermen are near the ship when it crashes and are able to rescue the two astronauts on board. A small fisher boy grabs a container that is filled with what appears to be a sweet potato made out of egg flavored jello. The small boy takes the potato to an old scientist who lives in a camper trailer with his granddaughter who is almost a doctor. The old scientist buys the potato from the boy and it soon hatches into a very cool small beast. The beast grows huge practically overnight and escapes from the scientist only to be abused by people with vicious dogs and pitchforks. One of the astronauts dies but the other tracks the beast locating it in a barn and attempts to control it by beating it with long wooden stick. Ymir (the name of beast) escapes the barn and growing even bigger attacks Rome in an act of revenge for the abuse it has taken at the hands of man.
William Hopper (The Deadly Mantis, Conquest of space) handles the lead role (astronaut Robert Caulder) in screaming fashion as he screams at everyone all the time while smoking a cigarette. Joan Taylor (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Men in Space) plays the old scientist’s granddaughter who is almost a doctor and almost in love with Caulder). Thomas Browne Henry (The Thing that couldn’t die, Screaming Mimi) cranks out a solid performance as the Major General in charge of catching the monster.
The graphic effects are stellar for 1957 and the movie is a great one to experience. Arguably one of the ten best old sci/fi movies and should have a home in your movie collection.
Beginning of the End
“New Thrills, New Shocks, New Terror”
A movie so incredibly bad it’s awesomely good. Audrey Aimes played by Peggy Castle ( Target Zero, Back From the Dead) and Dr. Ed Wainwright played by Peter Graves ( It Conquered the World, Killers From Space) work as an unlikely pair to destroy a herd of giant bloodthirsty grasshoppers heading slowly towards Chicago eating a lot of people on the way.
Dr. Wainwright (Graves) is working with radioactive isotopes and food plants mutating the plants to grow huge fruits and vegetables to feed the worlds growing population. A colony of grasshoppers get inside a grain bin and eat Wainwright’s irradiated wheat which causes them to grow to the size of city buses. Ace Reporter Audrey Aimes sniffs a newspaper article with her name on it and investigates. Frank, who is Wainwright’s right hand man ( and deaf and dumb from radiation exposure) attempts to help the two get to the bottom of the situation but is killed by the grasshoppers early in the movie ( ever see a deaf and dumb mute trying to scream in terror as he gets attacked by giant grasshoppers?. . . It’s a troubling and a hilarious sight).
The acting in “Beginning of the End” is believable enough. But the special effects . .. Not so much. The giant grasshoppers look comical and make a very loud mechanical screech sound whenever they are shown. The best special effect was the car phone in Audrey Aimes car she calls her editor from. This movie was made in 1957, I‘m fairly certain car phones came much later.
As the grasshoppers near Chicago the Army decides to evacuate the city and drop an atom bomb on it to kill the giant bugs, Wainwright and Aimes work together on a plan to save the city and herd all the grasshoppers into lake Michigan where they will drown. Guess how it turns out. . . Or better yet watch the movie.
The Monolith Monsters
“Now The Amazing Monolith Monsters Reveal Powers Shocking Beyond Belief!”
For the horror and sci/fi buffs out there “The Monolith Monsters” is required seeing much as “To Kill a Mockingbird” was required reading back in high school.
The plot is a stellar one, the dialog crispy, and the acting well done. The Movie was produced in 1957 by Universal Pictures and was directed by John Sherwood (The Creature walks among us, Raw edge) who only directed three movies. It stars Grant Williams (The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Leech Woman), Lola Albright (Panic, The Incredible Hulk) and Les Tremayne (The Monster from Piedras Blancas, From the Earth to the Moon).
The movie begins with a long narration that most likely is supposed to set the mood. After the narration we watch as a meteor crashes down in the desert close to a small town shattering into a million pieces. A few minutes later we find out that when the pieces come into contact with water (Like Rain, or a spilled glass) the pieces grow straight up and become taller then buildings finally toppling over due to the height and shattering into even more small pieces to again get wet and grow. Anyone in the way of a falling monolith gets crushed or if a person touches an active piece of monolith they turn to stone. There’s a lot of other stuff going on in the movie but that’s the main plot.
Having the monoliths made of a crystal substance and non-living, instead of an evil alien hell bent on world domination is a nice twist. Of course the monoliths move towards the town threatening the townsfolk but that’s to be expected.
This movie has it all, including a little girl in a iron lung slowly turning to stone. Can they save her? Can they save themselves? You will have to watch it to find out.