The Gamma People (1956) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Gamma People (1956)The Gamma People (1956) by #JohnGilling
#PaulDouglas #EveBartok #LesliePhillips

Two reporters are stranded in a strange country where the local dictator is using gamma rays to experiment on children.

“Sinister looking dump isn’t it.”

#Horror #SciFi

The first thing that struck me while watching The Gamma People (1956), was the nice opening theme music played by a full orchestra. It didn’t feel like a cheap B-movie. It felt more like a serious film, almost like I was watching something by Alfred Hitchcock, or maybe some sort of epic adventure drama. Had a mistakenly chosen a prestige picture for my night at the home drive-in? Continue reading

Project Moon Base (1953) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Project Moon Base (1953)Project Moon Base (1953) by #RichardTalmadge
co-written by
#DonnaMartell #HaydenRorke #RossFord

A saboteur posing as a scientist strives to destroy the world’s first space station.

“They found romance 100,000 miles from the earth!”

“The Next Frontier of Adventure!”

#SciFi #Espionage #Thriller

Project Moon Base (1953) opens with a quick history lesson that starts in 1948 and goes up to 1970. In case you didn’t notice, this movie came out in 1953, so this history lesson was entirely fictional and speculative, and of course (as we now know), completely inaccurate. But that’s the nature of science fiction (or speculative fiction). Some visionaries, like Jules Verne, manage to predict things like electric submarines and television newscasts. Others, like the makers of Project Moon Base, well, here’s what they saw coming… Continue reading

Spaceways (1953) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Spaceways (1953)Spaceways (1953) by #TerenceFisher
#HowardDuff #EvaBartok

While working on sending the first artificial satellite into high orbit, two scientists blast off to solve a murder.

“Space is a cold place to die!”

“The screen’s first story of SPACE ISLANDS in the sky!”

#SciFi #Thriller

Spaceways (1953) begins with a very dramatic main title theme. The credits inform us that the movie was directed by Terrence Fisher, who would go on to a distinguished career working for companies like Hammer Films. He would direct some certified classics like Dracula (1958) and The Curse of Frankenstein (1957). So, the bar of expectations was immediately raised (for me) going into this relatively unknown movie… Continue reading

The Night the World Exploded (1957) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Night the World Exploded (1957)The Night the World Exploded (1957) by #FredFSears
#KathrynGrant #WilliamLeslie

Scientists locate the epicentre of earthquake activity and find an explosive ore is working its way up from the depths of Earth.

“Super-quake tilts the earth!”:

“I am a scientist, I guess, but I’m a woman, too.”

#Horror #SciFi

The Night the World Exploded (1957) begins with a scientist named Dr. Conway building a machine that somehow measures pressure and/or predicts things like earthquakes. He finishes it just in time to get a reading predicting a massive earthquake in the next 24 hours. He and his colleague, Dr. Morton, rush off to the capital city, where they try to warn the governor and convince him to evacuate one million people from the city. The governor doesn’t go for it because there’s no proof that these guys are right…

Of course the earthquake happens, and thousand die. But that’s not the worst of it. According to the machine, there are going to be several more earthquakes all over the world. And even THAT’s not the worst of it. Apparently the entire planet has already been knocked off of its axis by the first earthquake.

Something bad is clearly happening, but Drs Conway and Morton have no idea what it is. So they, along with beautiful scientist Laura “Hutch” Hutchinson, set out to find some answers… Continue reading

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) by #BertIGordon
#GlennLangan #CathyDowns

After sustaining fatal radiation burns, an Army colonel miraculously heals & begins to grow larger.
“Savage Giant on a Blood-Mad Rampage!”
“Not even the U.S. Army can keep her away from the man she loved–but only the U.S. Army can save her from the monster he became!”

#Horror #SciFi

I don’t think I ever saw The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) on late night TV when I was young – or any time since, for that matter. For some inexplicable reason I’ve seen the sequel, War of the Colossal Beast (1958), several times. Having seen photographs in magazines, and clips on TV (not to mention flashback scenes in War of the Colossal Beast), I’ve been wanting to see The Amazing Colossal Man for a long time. Last Friday I finally got my chance… Continue reading

The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955)The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955) by #DavidKramarsky
some scenes by
#RogerCorman uncredited
#PaulBirch #LornaThayer #DonaCole

An alien makes birds, cows and other animals attack a ranch family.

“Prepare for a close encounter of the terrifying kind!”

“An unspeakable horror… Destroying… Terrifying!”:

#Horror #SciFi #RIPRogerCorman

The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955) starts with a bang, as a voice speaks to us, explaining his intentions. His words are quite striking and catch your attention right away…

“I need this world. From millions of light-years away I approach your planet. Soon my spaceship will lands on Earth. I need your world. I feed on fear, live on human hatred. I, a strong mind, without flesh or blood, want your world. First the unthinking, the birds of the air, the animals of the forest, then the weaker of men, shall all do my bidding. They shall be my ears, my eyes, until your world is mine. And because I see your most secret acts, you will know me as The Beast with a Million Eyes!” Continue reading

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) by #FredFSears
#HughMarlowe #JoanTaylor

After destroying recently launched satellites, aliens contact an earth scientist and demand a meeting.
“The Battle of Your Lifetime!”
“When an armed and threatening power lands uninvited in our capitol, we don’t meet him with tea and cookies!”

#Horror #SciFi

A lot of big names were involved in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956). The executive producer was Sam Katzman. The screen story was by Curt Siodmak, who was probably best known for writing The Wolfman (1941). And perhaps most significantly, the special effects were done by Ray Harryhausen. It’s probably no surprise that Earth vs. the Flying Saucers would turn out to be a cut above the average 1950s science fiction horror B-movie. Continue reading

Target Earth (1954) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Target Earth (1954)Target Earth (1954) by #ShermanARose
#RichardDenning #KathleenCrowley #VirginiaGrey

Giant robots from Venus invade Chicago.
“Raw Panic The Screen Never Dared Reveal!”

“You’ll be paralyzed with fear!”

“You don’t need a reason to die, Frank. Just one to live.”

#Horror #SciFi #Robots

Target Earth (1954) opens with a sweeping shot of a big city; Chicago, in fact.  It’s 1:30 AM and a woman lies unconscious with a bottle of spilled sleeping tablets near her hand. We get the feeling that maybe she has attempted suicide.

Her eyes open and she seems confused. Perhaps she is wondering why is she still alive. She sits up holding her head.

After getting dressed and leaving her building, she wanders around trying to find other people, but the entire city seems to be deserted. Is she the last woman alive? Continue reading

The Crawling Eye (1958) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Crawling Eye (1958)

The Crawling Eye (1958) by #QuentinLawrence
#JenniferJayne #JanetMunro #ForrestTucker

A series of decapitations on a Swiss mountainside appear to be connected to a mysterious radioactive cloud.

“The nightmare terror of the slithering eye that unleashed agonizing horror on a screaming world!” “It’s looking for you!”

“WARNING: If you’ve ever been hypnotized, do not come alone!”

#Horror #SciFi

The Crawling Eye (1958) opens on a mountain range. Two guys are on a ledge near the top of a mountain, talking to a third guy who’s up above them – but off screen. They ask him why he’s taking so long. He tells them that somebody’s coming. Next thing we know he’s screaming, and then his body falls past the two men on the ledge. It’s hooked up to a climbing rope, so they catch him and try to pull him back up. But one of the men suddenly screams and lets go of the rope.

“You idiot!” the other man says. “We nearly had him. Why did you let him go?”

“Didn’t you see?” his buddy asks.

“What are you talking about?”

“His head! It was torn off!”

Nearby, a train is racing along the tracks, and as it enters a dark tunnel, the title of the movie appears on the screen…
Continue reading

The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) by #ValGuest
#BrianDonlevy #JackWarner

After an experimental space flight, two astronauts are missing, and the third has an unidentifiable illness.


“There’s no room for personal feelings in science, Judith!”

#Horror #SciFi

A giggling couple in a farmer’s field – they hear a sound like an airplane approaching – and suddenly realize that something might be about to crash down on top of them, so they run into the house. The noise gets worse and something does crash, causing earthquake like effects inside the house. Then all goes quiet…

The girl’s father goes outside to investigate and discovers that a spacecraft has crashed in his field.

And so goes the opening to The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) by Val Guest, and it’s certainly an intriguing one. This was enough to confirm for me that I had never seen this movie before. I’d certainly heard of it, and perhaps others with the name Quatermass attached. I’m not sure why I never watched it. Perhaps because it didn’t have an obvious monster in the title, and I wasn’t sure if it would deliver the kind of 1950s sci-fi goodness that I like. Or maybe it was just random chance that kept it off my home drive-in screen. Who knows? Needless to say, I was long overdue to take a look… Continue reading