Friday night at the home drive-in: War of the Colossal Beast (1958)

War of the Colossal Beast (1958) by #BertIGordon

w/#SallyFraser #RogerPace #DuncanDeanParkin

Believed dead after falling from the Hoover Dam, the Amazing Colossal Man reemerges in rural Mexico, brain damaged, disfigured, and very hungry – where he steals food delivery trucks to survive.

“The towering terror from Hell”

#Horror #SciFi

I’m pretty sure that I saw The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) at some point. In fact, I think I watched it on TV many years ago – perhaps on Not Quite Classic Theatre. For some reason, I have not seen it in recent years. I’m surprised to learn that I don’t have a copy lurking somewhere in my collection. 

I do, however, have a copy of its sequel, War of the Colossal Beast (1958). It’s part of a Samuel Z. Arkoff Collection double feature DVD that I picked up a few years ago. I love those double feature DVDs. One does have to wonder, however, why they didn’t put these two movies together?! It seems like a no-brainer idea to me. What a perfect, ready-made double feature. As far as I can tell, they never even released The Amazing Colossal Man in any of their sets. Maybe there was a rights issue, or something, Who knows?

So I don’t remember much about The Amazing Colossal Man, but I watched War of the Colossal Beast anyway. It doesn’t rate very well (3.8 on the IMDb), but I found it quite entertaining. The plot goes something like this:

Colonel Manning is believed to be dead, but his body was never found after bazookas blast him off the Hoover Dam (seen in a flashback to the original movie). His sister, Joyce, doesn’t give up hope and keeps searching for him. When she hears about food trucks going missing in Mexico, she gets the idea that it might be her now giant sized brother behind it. No one believes her at first, but eventually she’s proven right – only now her brother is horribly disfigured and brain damaged (?!) due to his near death experience  (or something like that).

The truth is that the producers decided that they had to hide the fact that a different actor was playing Colonel Manning; Duncan ‘Dean’ Parkin. So they hid his face under make-up and didn’t let him speak. It was actually kind of brilliant because it made him more of a monster. 

They keep referring to the fact that Manning is “10 times bigger than a normal man”, or that his footprints are “ten times bigger” – but when I look at those prints it seems more like a hundred normal feet would fit inside of them. He picks up those food delivery trucks like they were Tonka Toys, or large Matchbox vehicles. Call me crazy, but I would think that a normal truck would be larger (or taller) than a normal man. This Colossal Beast, however, seems to be a lot taller than ten of those trucks would be if you stacked them up on top of each other (at least to my eyes). But maybe I’ve got a problem with perspective…

The movie is loaded with some choice lines of dialogue, like:

“How do you reason with a 60 foot giant?” and “There’s nothing in our directives about a 60 foot giant!”

Or this exchange between one of the investigative team and concerned sister Joyce Manning:

“The foot that made that print is about ten times the size of a normal man’s. That would make him about sixty feet tall.”

“Glenn was sixty feet tall!”

I still think he’s taller than sixty feet, but what do I know?

War of the Colossal Beast (1958) is exactly the kind of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that I enjoyed on late night TV when I was young. Even though I don’t think I saw this one back then, it still feels completely nostalgic to me. And I look forward to enjoying it again on another #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.