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  • 6 months later...

War of the Satellites (1958)

Directed by Roger Corman


65-minute quickie with the standard plot of aliens trying to stop us from moving out into space, as opposed to the reverse which is happening now at our southern border.


Richard Devon plays a scientist who can’t figure out why our satellites are getting destroyed by something called the “Sigma Barrier.” Aliens send a message (in Latin) basically saying “no trespassing.” Undeterred, Devon decides he is going to hop aboard a rocket and find out the real story. Before he can, the aliens bump him off and replace him with a lookalike.  The mission proceeds, with three rockets being launched which will rendezvous in space. The special effects for the rendezvous are something to behold; if you ever wanted to see what it’s like for a rocket to hit the brakes in space, this is the film for you.  Next, some spare parts emerge from each rocket, and voila, we have a satellite, with several crew members on board. One of the crew members has been suspicious of Devon ever since Devon’s hand got toasted black by a torch, yet miraculously turned to white by the time the doctor arrived. Hey, ever hear of Michael Jackson? Of course, this crew member is offed by Devon.  Roger Corman stock player Dick Miller, as the navigator, smells a rat (and also, another paycheck from Corman). When he sees Devon turn into two, that clinches it.  Now the race is on to stop Devon from directing the satellite into the barrier.


This is modest entertainment, and will probably evince a few chuckles here and there. Miller, with his Bronx accent and Brylcreem curly top hairdo, seems out of place as the hero, especially since everyone in the cast except Susan Cabot towers over his 5’5” frame. And speaking of Cabot, she is largely wasted in some unknown role. She does not appear to be a scientist nor Devon’s personal assistant, but somehow comes along for the ride anyway. At least in The Wasp Woman, she got to sting a few losers.  Devon has one expression on his face for most of the film. In the most bizarre sequence, he wills himself to grow a heart to fool the ship’s doctor. The look on his face during this transformation suggests he is growing more than a heart. 


Elsewhere, reliable faces like Robert Shayne and Michael Fox show up, with Fox stretching his talent by attempting a middle-Eastern accent. Trust me, it’s too much of a stretch. Director Corman shows up in a few scenes as a control room technician.


As usual, the science and mathematics make no sense, but the capper comes during the conclusion when Miller announces they are passing “Andromeday.” Next stop:  Ursula Minor.




Uh … does anyone else notice the lights are pointing up?





On the planet Vulcan, this is considered foreplay.





Gary Lockwood puts in a cameo appearance.





Well, it does get lonely in space.





Inspector Henderson breaks the news to Jimmy and Lois that under the new government regulations, Superman has been deported.





Now most people would focus on Devon’s black hand. Me, I’m wondering about that pessary to his right.





Either that microphone is poorly placed, or this is one hell of a ventriloquism act.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Rich, did you see VALLEY OF THE DRAGONS today?  Rodan puts in an unexpected and delightful guest appearance! There is also a shameless Morlock ripoff, lots of hapless iguanas getting the you-know-what knocked out of them, a ridiculous plastic Halloween spider, suave Cesare Danova running around half-naked in caveman fur, and (you'll like this the best) underwater cheesecake with Joan Staley.  This cheapjack production immediately references Jules Verne in opening narration, an obvious, even desperate, attempt to establish "high-class" literary credibility a la George Pal's THE TIME MACHINE (but where is Rod Taylor when you need him?) Unfortunately, since the director includes heavy stock footage from Hal Roach's ONE MILLION B.C., this movie is filmed in chintzy black & white, further negating any sort of evocative quaintly lush (or lushly quaint) Victorian sci-fi fantasy ambience.  "Frenchman" Cesare and his hearty Irish romantic rival, Sean McClory, manage to survive comet catastrophe, prehistoric "monsters", and tribal warfare, plus of course they're able to immediately secure Stone Age female companionship.  It helps that the girls are eminently presentable thanks to 1960's hair and make-up and also that the rest of their men resemble Murvyn Vye lookalikes.

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Hi Barb:


Haven't seen this one in years, but from what I remember (and what you wrote), glad I did not waste my time on it again.  Don't Danova and McClory end up on a comet during a collision with Earth, then somehow manage to get back again?


Thanks for contributing your commentary to the thread!

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Hi, Rich, thanks!  I'm still here, mainly as a big lurker!  Can't stay away from your threads; I read them avidly.   As for Cesare and Sean, I won't give away any spoilers, lol, except to say that the ending is similiar to the one from QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE.  And yep, they're on that comet.

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  • 1 month later...

The Earth Dies Screaming (1964)

Directed by Terence Fisher


…and the viewer dies of boredom. This film is proof that the British can make movies just as crappy as the Americans.


The opening is somewhat interesting, with people dropping like flies, reminiscent of Village of the Damned. Enter Willard Parker, playing a pilot who happens upon a village loaded with stiffs. He wanders around town for a few minutes. In short order, he is joined by Dennis Price and Virginia Field, who  pretend to be married for some unknown reason. Next come Thorley Walters and Vanda Godsell, who pretend to like each other for some unknown reason. Finally come a young couple played by David Spenser and Anna Palk, who pretend to act for some unknown reason.


A few aliens in spacesuits stroll around town for no apparent reason, although I suspect they were trying to find their way out of this film. Attempts to shoot them fail. Parker speculates the aliens are under somebody’s control: “Without any mind or intelligence at all, they’d be worse than animals.” True, but they’d make great congressmen.


One of the aliens offs Godsell, but she eventually revives as some kind of zombie with cleavage. That briefly caught my attention. The rest of the cast mostly bickers.  Parker finally figures out a way to neutralize the aliens, and the earth does not die, nor does it scream.


Parker (the only American in the cast) and his real-life wife Field are well beyond their prime, but they still manage to out-act everyone else.  Price is a pain in the a** and you’ll be wishing him dead. And trust me, some wishes do come true.  Godsell is wasted and so is her cleavage.  Walters acts like a **** and looks like a bizarre cross between Troy Donahue and Rip Taylor.  I’ve never seen Spenser before, but I remember Palk looked pretty good naked in Horror on Snape Island.




“ ’Ere now, what’s de idea of lookin’ at me bum like dat?”





“For the last time, cut out that stupid Napoleon impersonation!”





The Marty Feldman Graveyard.





This guy obviously has Time-Warner Cable.





This is the only film in history in which a Venn Diagram is hanging from the ceiling.





You know, there are just too many subtle things going on in this scene.


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  • 1 month later...

The Cosmic Man (1959)

Directed by Herbert S. Greene


More or less a rip-off of The Day The Earth Stood Still, minus the talent, suspense, special effects, and pretty much everything else.


A ball-shaped UFO arrives in a canyon, and the military, led by sourpuss Colonel Paul Langton, investigate. They are joined by Bruce Bennett, who plays an astrophysicist from Pacific Tech. The producers should have gotten a running back from Georgia Tech. There is an immediate clash between Langton and Bennett, due to the usual debate between military and scientific methodology.  Eventually, we discover that Bennett was responsible for the creation of the A-bomb; now, we can partially blame him for participating in this bomb. While they spar, local innkeeper Angela Greene drives up with her wheelchair-bound son, which should tug at your heartstrings, but instead, gives you heartburn.  Langton tries to impress Greene’s son with football talk, while Bennett tries to impress the kid with astronomy talk. Yet, no one in his/her right mind would believe either of these clowns has a shot at Greene.  But hey, you never know in science fiction.


Langton’s men and Bennett take turns playing with the giant ball, getting nowhere fast.  Meanwhile, a shadowy figure is seen wandering around the neighborhood, resulting in women screaming, police cars speeding down streets, and audience members heading for the exits. 


Shortly thereafter, John Carradine shows up at the inn and asks for a room. Carradine wears glasses that would make Marvin Kaplan envious.  Greene gives him a room in the back of the inn, and forgets about him.


Bennett and his associate, a character oddly named Dr. Rich Richie (you can’t make this stuff up) collaborate on a plan of action:


Bennett: “And suppose this phantom atom contains particles of a mass of m minus vibrating along the axis x under a force of kx towards the origin. You know the equation, Rich.”


Rich:  “Got it.”


Bennett: “If left alone, those particles should vibrate with a constant amplitude and frequency of six minus forever, right?”


Rich:  “Right.”


I’m no astrophysicist, but this is actually the correct equation for generating bulls***. I’ve tried it, and it works.


Greene finally remembers there is a stranger at the inn. Now the shadowy figure shows up (with John Carradine’s voice … surprise, surprise) and we get the obligatory alien warning to grow up, stop fighting, use contraceptives, eat your spinach, etc.  He also says he will be taking off soon (assuming he is not flying Air Tran).  So Langton and his imbecilic General devise a plot to stop the alien.  But Carradine snatches Greene’s son and heads for the big ball.  Will the boy be rescued?  (yes) Will the boy be miraculously cured? (yes)  Will Carradine get attacked?  (yes) Will either Bennett or Langton score with Greene? (don’t make me nauseous)


Greene, who was wasted (her talent, not her physical condition) in Night of the Blood Beast, at least has something to do here, and looks pretty good. Bennett looks tired, old, and uninspired;  he must have needed a paycheck. Carradine is only onscreen for a few minutes; I doubt that was also him as the shadowy figure, which looked like Zorro in a tutu.




How Peeping Toms get their start.





“Hmm… so pi r square … but wait, pi r round, aren’t they??”





“Hello, Beijing Buffet?  About these chopsticks you sent with my order … I can figure out the square root of two.”





“Bad news, dear. Blake Edwards hired that @#$%^$#@ Mickey Rooney to play the part.”





“I can’t be certain, but my best guess is that it’s from Oz.”





I knew giving that kid a telescope was a bad idea.

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  • 1 year later...

The Brain Eaters (1958)

Directed by Bruno VeSota


Stinkweed excuse for a film, about furry little things that take over people’s brains … or something to that effect.


The film opens with narration, which is usually a sure sign that crap is about to follow. A husband and wife (Alan Frost, Jody Fair) are driving along, when they hear an explosion. Upon investigating, they find a couple of dead animals. Then they stumble across a large cone-shaped object.


Fair: “What is it?”

Frost: “I don’t know.”


Now the scene shifts to Washington DC, where Senator Walter K. Powers (Jack Hill) is part a UFO committee. We see film of the cone, and are informed that the cone is 50 feet high and has a base diameter of 50 feet. Now I ask you, what is the volume of the cone? (Not really, I just got carried away.)


Senator Walter K. Powers arrives in town and meets with Frost, who happens to be the Mayor’s son. They head out to the cone, where scientist Ed Nelson is investigating, along with Joanna Lee and some old guy. Nelson fires his gun into a hole in the cone, to show that the “point of origin becomes the point of return.”


Senator Walter K. Powers: “What’s really on the inside of that thing?”

Old guy scientist:  “I don’t know.”


Nelson enters the cone, searching for the plot, and finds nothing.


Senator Walter K. Powers: “Well that thing has some purpose. What’s it for?”

Nelson:  “I don’t know.”


Audience: “Why the hell are we watching this?”



Things go downhill quickly, but not fast enough to suit me. The Mayor has been taken over by something attached to his back. A cop gets taken over by something attached to his back. Lee gets taken over by something attached to her back. Everybody has a gun and shoots at anything that moves.


Eventually Nelson and Frost get inside the cone and find Leonard Nimoy, and a bunch of the furry things. Nimoy bores us with his philosophy: “Our social order is pure … innocent … it has the exactitude of mathematics. We shall force upon man a life free from strife and turmoil.” Sounds great … let’s start by deep-sixing this film.




Senator Walter K. Powers, flasher.





This film could have used more of this.





This is all we see of Leonard Nimoy, which probably saved his career.





“Sorry dear, but it’s your mother calling again. She wants to know how that skin rash is doing.”





In this rare photo just released by the National Archives, Richard Nixon attempts to stuff a gun up Tor Johnson’s nostril.






Frost: “Why are we all standing on an angle?”

Nelson: “I don’t know.”


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  • 3 months later...

Just stumbled upon two BAD films on YouTubes:

1) "Diagoro vs. Goliath" = I'm not sure what this is even about?!  I looks like some kind of HUGE monster hairless cat that has it's own WC or water closet out in the wilderness?  Definite Japanese kids hero-monster.  This makes Gamera look like "2001: A Space Odyssey".  I had to stop watching after 15 minutes so never saw Goliath.

2) "The Creeping Terror" = even WORSE  than above so only 10 minutes and GONE.  Some kind of alien spacecraft lands on Earth and starts off killing a sheriff.  EVERYTHING is wrong about this film.  A definite lesson on how NOT to make a movie.  I enjoy "Plan 9 From Outer Space" but this movie is terrible.

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  • 1 year later...

(the restoration of this thread continues)


The Crawling Hand (1963)

Directed by Herbert L. Strock

(originally posted here: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/23866-the-crawling-hand-1963/page-2)


Completely inept monstrosity, filmed on a dime.

An astronaut returning from the moon sends out a weird transmission, as he is apparently under the spell of some unknown power. Peter Breck and Kent Taylor, at "Space Operations," watch this tragedy unfold (as I did, for 88 minutes), before destroying the space capsule. Unbeknownst to them, part of the astronaut (guess which part) lands in California, where it is discovered by Rod Lauren and a former Miss Iceland. Had this body part been washed ashore in New Jersey, no one would have given this a second thought. Lauren, having the IQ of a college administrator, takes the hand home with him. After it chokes his landlady, it then tries to throttle Lauren, but instead, turns him into James Dean.

Allison Hayes makes a few brief appearances, which is too bad, because I would have gladly watched her for 88 minutes, despite her not being fifty-feet tall.

Rod Lauren as the "Rebel Without a Clue."

In the film's only sexual reference, Peter Breck shows Allison Hayes his flag and rocket.

Richard Arlen, looking competely lost without Buddy Rogers.
(Hey, Arlen has that same rocket. Maybe he misses Buck Rogers.)

Kent Taylor and Peter Breck introduce themselves to Sheriff Alan Hale, Jr.,
who wishes he were shipwrecked.

1930s B-movie actress Arline Judge stars in "A Little Hand for the Big Lady."

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  • 2 weeks later...

(the restoration of this thread continues)


The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

(originally posted here: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/23964-the-amazing-transparent-man-1960/)


Director Edgar G. Ulmer has accomplished the impossible. This 57-minute stinkbomb makes The Crawling Hand look like a classic.

Douglas Kennedy stars as an escaped convict, who is drafted into a daffy plan by James Griffith. Kennedy had a decent film career playing outlaws and crooks; today, he would be ideally cast as an AIG executive. Griffith wants to make an army of invisible men, which is totally preposterous, since nowhere in the film do we see photographs of Adolf Hitler. Marguerite Chapman, who probably looked good ten years before this film was made, plays Griffith's punching bag. Ivan Triesault plays the scientist who has invented an invisibility machine. Triesault is the only sane person in the cast, which should tell you something.

Kennedy spends most of the film inexplicably dressed like Johnny Cash. In the film's most exciting sequence, he robs a bank while invisible, and manages to overpower a 97-year-old security guard all by himself.

Here, Griffith (standing) explains the plot to Douglas Kennedy.
He does not explain why there is an organ in the room.

Triesault explains the principles behind his invention.
Five minutes into the film, you will have that same expression on your face.

Kennedy sings "Folsom Prison Blues" while Chapman can't decide whether
to laugh or shoot him. Why is that organ there?

Kennedy screams out the now-classic line "Where's the rest of me?"

Chapman auditions for the remake of It Happened One Night.
I am starting to understand the significance of the organ.

In this rare still, Kennedy (at left) misuses the Heimlich Maneuver on Griffith.

Sometimes one picture is worth a thousand words.

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(the restoration of this thread continues)


The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955)

Directed by Dan Milner

(originally posted here: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/24046-the-phantom-from-10000-leagues-1955/)


Perhaps the producers of this dud thought the title might suck in fans of Jules Verne. However, since a league can be a land measure or a marine measure, it is not even clear what the title means. Nor is it clear why anyone would be associated with this film.

Kent Taylor stars as a government investigator, working undercover. When first we meet him, he says his name is Ted Baxter (no relation to the pompous anchorman). Then, he claims his name is Ted Stevens (no relation to the disgraced Alaska senator). Fortunately, the film ends before he claims his name is Ted Bundy.

But on to the plot. Something is killing people in the water. The source of the problem seems to be a radiation beam, created by Dr. King (Michael Whalen). The radiation has also created a creature - a shocking development. King's daughter is played by Cathy Downs, a lovely actress who had a good career start in the 1940s, then fell into crap like this. Ms. Downs is around 31 in this film; unfortunately, she looks at least 40.

Philip Pine plays a spy who spends much of the film hiding in the bushes with a speargun. Helene Stanton appears briefly as a blonde in a bathing suit. By this time, you'll be asleep anyway.

Cathy Downs shows off her darling clementines, while Kent Taylor informs her he once played Doc Holiday.

Taylor and Down's makeout session is interrupted by two rude people who wash ashore dead.


Philip Pine about to give someone the shaft.



Philip Pine shows Vivi Janiss his speargun collection. This does not end well.

Philip Pine asks Helene Stanton if she has seen his career lying around somewhere.

In the only scene where the Phantom actually kills someone, you can see the
Phantom's right hand slipping out of the costume. This explains why this is the
only scene where the Phantom actually kills someone.


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(the restoration of this thread continues)


The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great  Sea Serpent (1957)

(originally posted here: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/24500-the-saga-of-the-viking-women/)

Roger Corman's high school production featuring Norwegian Wooden performances.

Viking women (Abby Dalton, Susan Cabot, Betsy-Jones Moreland, June Kenney, ex-Playmate Sally Todd and a few other chicks I've never heard of) pine for their Viking men, who have been gone for a few years. After voting against civil unions, the women decide to set sail from Scandinavia (which looks suspiciously like the California coastline) and immediately run into trouble. Their ship is hit by lightning, and they are swept into a vortex controlled by the title creature. (You may need to re-read the title again.) They, along with stowaway Jonathan Haze, wash up onshore where they are quickly whipped by Michael Forest, leading the Norse chapter of the Hell's Angels. Forest delivers the prisoners to his leader, Richard Devon. Devon has a wimpy son, played by Jay Sayer. Sayer does a bad impersonation of Jay Robinson impersonating Caligula. He arm-wrestles Abby Dalton. Put your money on Dalton.

If you are still reading this, the ladies discover their men are held hostage by Devon. Hunk alert: Gary Conway, sporting blonde hair, plays one of the hostages. Meanwhile, in what passes for plot development, Susan Cabot wants Abby Dalton's man, played listlessly by Brad Jackson. So whom will Jackson end up with? Dalton? Cabot? Jay Sayer?

Haze plays a miniature Steve Reeves, bouncing around and fighting at every chance. Unfortunately, he keeps getting his a** whipped (figuratively and literally) by Michael Forest.

The worst thing about this film is that there are no make-out scenes. At the very least, they could have had Sally Todd swimming in a lake. What a waste.

Susan Cabot, doing her Harry Carey impersonation, admires Richard Devon's hairy chest

Moe Howard about to tell Richard Devon and Michael Forest to "spread out."

Abby Dalton lays the smackdown on Jay Sayer.

Michael Forest lays the smackdown on Jonathan Haze.

Jay Sayer discovers the principle of electricity.

In the rousing finale, the entire cast recreates the end credits to "Hawaii Five-0."

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(the restoration of this thread continues)


The Atomic Submarine  (1959)

Directed by Spencer G. Bennet

(originally posted here:  http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/23828-the-atomic-submarine/)


Not horrible, just not good. Might be subtitled Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel, although this sub doesn't rock nearly as much as the "Seaview" did.

Mysterious disasters are occurring in the Arctic, so the Navy sends their best sub, led by Dick Foran, to investigate. The cast is a cross-section of stereotypes - Arthur Franz as the ladies' man, Brett Halsey as the pacifist scientist, Tom Conway as a Nobel Prize winner, and an all-too-brief bit by the lovely Joi Lansing as a blonde chick. The source of the problem? A flying saucer, with a one-eyed pilot.

Here, Arthur Franz is about to "fire one" at Joi Lansing, but duty will call in a few moments.

Bob Steele looks over Sid Melton, and wonders, as I did, how the hell Melton ever got in the Navy.

Brett Halsey and Arthur Franz exchange pleasantries. Take a good look at Halsey's expression. It never changes throughout the film (nor did it change throughout his career).

Tom Conway, reminiscing about his days playing The Falcon. Those bags under his eyes are real. Still, I have to hand it to the guy. He spent his entire career delivering his lines without moving his lips.

The route taken by the submarine to track down the source of the disasters. This is standard naval procedure. Steam around until you make a pretty bow pattern.

Tom Conway, Paul Dubov, Victor Varconi, and Dick Foran watch their careers sink.

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(the restoration of this thread continues)


Killers From Space (1954)

Directed by F. Lee Wilder

(originally posted here:  http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/25186-killers-from-space-1954/page-2)


Definitely the worst of the Peter Graves 1950s sci-fi movies, done in by extreme cheapness.

Graves plays a scientist who is flying above an atomic blast in a jet with call sign "Tar Baby Two" (I am not making this up). His plane crashes, but his body is nowhere to be found. A few minutes later (in movie time), he shows up at the airbase looking a bit disheveled, and has a strange scar on his chest. He seems to be in good health, except for the fact that he sees floating eyeballs on occasion. Under a truth drug, he reveals he was captured by aliens, each of whom looks like Marty Feldman. Naturally, their planet, Astron Delta, is dying, so they need to take over the earth.

There are a few familiar faces in the cast, like Frank Gerstle, who plays another scientist and wears a suit designed for a gorilla. Coleman Francis, who directed the classic Beast of Yucca Flats, has a bit role.

In the exciting climax, Graves takes over a power plant in his pajamas. How a power plant got his pajamas, I'll never know.

Maverick and Goose, horsing around.

Frank Gerstle arm-wrestles Barbara Bestar, while James Seay and Dwight Eisenhower look on.

This is what's meant by "keeping your eyes on the road."

"I think the hamburger is done."

Every alien kid's nightmare:
"Spaceship X leaves Astron Delta at noon, at a speed of warp 5. Two hours later, Spaceship Y leaves Astron Delta, at warp 9. How long before ... ?"

Ben Stein cleaned up selling a lifetime supply of Visine to this guy.

Peter Graves tells a young Wilford Brimley "There WAS a vibration!"

This movie will self-destruct in five seconds.

You know, if you are seeing this out your window, there is a pretty good chance your *** is toast.

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