Cosmic Monsters (1958) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Cosmic Monsters (1958)The Strange World of Planet X /
Cosmic Monsters (1958) by
#GilbertGunn
w/#ForrestTucker #GabyAndré

A friendly visitor from outer space warns against conducting experiments with the Earth’s magnetic field, that could mutate insects into giant monsters.

“Shock by incredible shock this ravaging death overruns the earth…menacing mankind with overwhelming chaos!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

What can I say about Cosmic Monsters (1958) AKA The Strange World of Planet X? I had never heard of it before last week, and probably for good reason. It strikes me as an attempt to recapture the magic of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Both movies have (basically) the same premise: an alien comes to Earth to warn us to stop doing something stupid that will lead to our destruction. However, The Day the Earth Stood Still is a stone cold classic directed by Robert Wise, who made fan favourites like The Haunting (1963), Born to Kill (1947) and The Body Snatcher (1945).

Cosmic Monsters, on the other hand, is a mostly forgettable film directed by Gilbert Gunn, who also made, uh… Tyneside Story (1943)… Girls at Sea (1958)… and What a Whopper (1961)..?  Hmmm… not even another SciFi Horror film, I don’t think.

To be fair, some of Gilbert Gunn’s movies rate fairly well. Valley of Song (1953) gets a 7.5 on the IMDb. And Cosmic Monsters isn’t exactly terrible. It has some good moments, as well as more than a few so-bad-they’re-good moments. I even laughed out loud a couple of times. The story started off in a kind of intriguing way, but then slowly lost my interest the further it went along. What is the story? you ask. Well, according to Wikipedia:

“A monomaniacal scientist creates ultra-sensitive, disruptive magnetic fields, which have unexpected side effects, while also attracting unidentified flying objects from outer space. Strange things begin to happen, including a freak storm, blasts of cosmic radiation that penetrates the Earth’s normally protective magnetic shield, and insects and spiders mutating into giant flesh-eating monsters.”

That old chestnut…

It’s a British production, but the leading lady was a French actress named Gaby André. Apparently she had quite a heavy French accent when she spoke English. So, the producers had a British actress replace all of her dialogue – in a kind off not so great French accent. I guess it was easier to understand her. 

Incidentally, Gaby André is another actress who died too young, at age 52, apparently of cancer. 

Critics at the time didn’t much care for Cosmic Monsters, and more contemporary critics haven’t really offered a different opinion. It was pretty much a dud at the box office as well. I suppose I might never have heard of it myself if it wasn’t for the internet – and the endless cataloguing and sharing of forgotten movies.  

Cosmic Monsters (1958), AKA The Strange World of Planet X, is most definitely #NotQuiteClassicCinema. I can’t really say that it’s essential viewing, but if you like this type of thing (whatever that may be), you might get a kick out of it. A small kick. But it’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever seen on a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

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