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"The Thing That Couldn't Die" (1958)


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Tonight on METv's Svengoolie is 1958's The Thing That Couldn't Die:



Similar to the movie that was featured last weekend, I have not seen this movie before.


Dissimilar to the movie that was featured last weekend, I don't have any feeling of "You've got to see this one!" about this movie. And the Chicago Bears/Cincinnati Bengals game is on FOX tonight. But, then again, that is only a preseason game which could very well be boring by the fourth quarter (maybe even by the first quarter). So, needless to say, my watching this movie tonight falls into the "maybe" category.

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I had first seen this flick, many, many years ago when these 50's horror/ sci fi movies got regular play on local independent tv stations and their Saturday night "Svengoolie" type shows. And I did see this again a few months ago on Svengoolie. Very typical of the genre, I think its pretty good fun, worth checking out. You may recognize the lead as the guy who played Efrem Zimbalist Jr's partner in the FBI tv series.

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It was Bears 3 Bengals 21 at the start of the fourth quarter. So, between my usual stance of giving an old horror movie at least one chance and the recommendation from this message board's resident LTJG, I decided to change channels and catch this one.


The Thing That Couldn't Die just screamed unrealized potential. The premise of a beheaded Satanist sailor from Sir Francis Drake's crew being resurrected almost 400 years later was intriguing. And I liked the look of the villain. And his control of his victims while, well, extremely bottomless. But something got lost in the execution. Was it the script? Was it the direction? Was it the actors and actresses (none of whom struck me as being familiar (especially since The Wonderful World of Disney overlapped with The F.B.I. back in the day))? Was it simply a setting that didn't provide the proper atmosphere (felt like I should be watching a 1950's science fiction movie awaiting the arrival of a giant ant or tarantula or something)? I just can't put my finger on the answers to those questions.


But I don't regret changing channels. As the man said, it was worth checking out.


By the way, that dowsing girl could sure have come in handy in California this year.

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It took me a while to realize that  "LTJG" was referring to me (brain freeze?) :D  Anyway I did revisit this film last night , like all of these films it was done as a quicky, low budget project.  The two gals were rather attractive to watch anyway. There was a degree of suspense building up (not quite  to the level of a Hitchcock movie) all toward reuniting the guy's head with his body. When it finally  did happen the poor guy got about 50 seconds of screen time to act out his evil character and then that quick he's back in the  coffin and in deteriorated bony form (amazing that his separated head and body survived intact for hundreds of years but now he's just , gone!) I get the feeling that the director was up against the film's allowed run time so he had to end things very quickly . William Reynolds was the young guy hero in this, years later he was a costar to Efrem Zimbalist Jr  in the F B I tv series. He did small parts in movies in the 50's, ironically THE THING THAT COULDN'T DIE appears to have been his last film, after that he went into tv work. The F B I is most certainly  his best known work, and he was quite good in that series.

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