The Unknown Terror (1957) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Unknown Terror (1957)The Unknown Terror (1957) by #CharlesMarquisWarren
w/#JohnHoward #MalaPowers

A millionaire leads an expedition into a remote jungle to find his wife’s long-lost brother, but instead the group finds a mad scientist making fungus people in the jungle.

“They enter the Cave of Death to explore the secrets of hell!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Last week I watched Back from the Dead (1957) and discovered that it was one of only two horror films made by Charles Marquis Warren. The Unknown Terror (1957) is the other one, and I just had to track it down and do a direct comparison… Continue reading

Missile to the Moon (1958) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Missile to the Moon (1958)Missile to the Moon (1958) by #RichardECunha
w/
#RichardTravis #CathyDowns #KTStevens

Escaped convicts hide in a rocket and wind up on the moon, where they find an all female society ruled by a sadistic queen.

“Lunar She-Devils Lure Earthmen Into Their Lair of Doom!”

“A Giant Fiendish Creature!”

#SciFi #Horror
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Watching Missile to the Moon (1958) last week, I was reminded that I recently said that Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (1953) is one of my favourite movies about alien women. I saw it on TV multiple times when I was a kid, and even though it doesn’t share the same stellar reputation, I loved it as much as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). I know that’s probably sacrilege, but I can’t help it. The movie spoke to me somehow.  Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957)

Poster for I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957)I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957) by #HerbertLStrock
w/
#WhitBissell #PhyllisCoates

Professor Frankenstein creates a hulking teenager from the body of an accident victim – and it goes on a killing spree.

“Body of a boy! Mind of a monster! Soul of an unearthly thing!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

As I may have mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Blood of Dracula (1957). Not sure why it appeals to me so much, but it does. Nostalgia plays a big part, I’m sure. But there’s also something about it that just works for me. It was made very shortly after I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957), and was meant to cash in on the former movies’s success. Well, guess what? I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957) was also rushed into production because of I Was A Teenage Werewolf, and both movies were produced by Herman Cohen. They were also sent out together as a double feature. So how is it that I never saw I Was a Teenage Frankenstein before last Friday? Continue reading

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963)

Poster for Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963)Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain (1963) by #JosephVMascelli
w/
#MarjorieEaton #FrankGerstle #ErikaPeters #JudyBamber

A rich old woman plots with a scientist to have her brain implanted in the body of a young woman.

“WANTED: Youth and Beauty. Will Pay Millions. Only Beautiful and Shapely Girls Need Apply. No References Required. Appointments After Dark Only.”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

I have a particular fondness for horror movies from 1958. Monstrosity / The Atomic Brain didn’t come out until 1963, which is starting to get a little late in the game for that kind of late 1950s sci-fi horror madness. However, it was apparently shot in 1958 and not released until 1963, so that’s a different matter entirely. Still, it doesn’t have a whole lot in common with most of my favourites from that era. The producer, Jack Pollexfen, once said it was his worst movie ever – and the only one that failed to make money. That is, oddly enough, a recommendation of sorts to aficionados like me. The question is: Is it so bad it’s good? Or just so bad it’s boring? Continue reading

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: 4D Man (1959)

Poster for 4D Man (1959)4D Man (1959) by #IrvinSYeaworthJr
w/#RobertLansing #LeeMeriwether #JamesCongdon #PattyDuke

A scientist discovers a formula enabling him to pass through solid surfaces, but he also rapidly ages, which forces him to kill humans in order to reverse the aging process.

“He Walks Through Walls Of Solid Steel And Stone… Into The 4th Dimension!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

I was not at all familiar with 4D Man (1959) before I watched it last week. It turns out that it was made by the people who did The Blob (1958) just one year before. The Blob was one of my childhood favourites. I watched it several times on TV back then. I actually haven’t seen it in a long time, but you can bet I’ll be revisiting it very soon. Continue reading

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Teenage Zombies (1959)

Poster for Teenage Zombies (1959)Teenage Zombies (1959) by #JerryWarren
w/
#DonSullivan #KatherineVictor

A crazed scientist uses nerve gas to turn local teenagers into slaves.

“See Teenage Girls Thrust Into the Weird Pulsating Cage of Horror!”

”A fiendish experiment performed with sadistic horror!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Someone once asked me if Teenage Zombies (1959) is a good movie. I froze like a ghoul in the headlights. Truth be told, Teenage Zombies is a bad movie. A very bad movie. There’s really no way around that. So I looked this person square in the eye and said:

”I like it.” Continue reading

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: The Man from Planet X (1951)

The Man from Planet X (1951) by #EdgarGUlmer
w/
#RobertClarke #MargaretField

An alien from a mysterious planet uses hypnotic powers to enslave a Scottish island.

“The WEIRDEST Visitor the Earth has ever seen!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

The Man from Planet X (1951) is a fairly serious minded SciFi movie – not unlike The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). The fact that they were both released in 1951 is interesting to me. The Day the Earth Stood Still Is by far the better movie, but The Man from Planet X is solidly above average. It’s said that Steven Spielberg took the idea of an alien communicating through music from this movie and used it in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). If that’s true, it’s an impressive legacy of influence for Edgar G. Ulmer’s low budget B-movie.  Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Poster for The Neanderthal Man (1953) The Neanderthal Man (1953) by #EwaldAndréDupont
w/#RobertShayne #JoyceTerry #BeverlyGarland

A scientist regresses a cat to sabre-tooth tiger and a man to Neanderthal.

“What mad desires drove him on…?”

“The world’s gone completely mad. Sometimes I think I’m the only rational being left in it…”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of monster movies made in the late 1950s. 1957 and 1958 were both particularly good years for mad scientists and giant mutant beasts. The trend continued through 1959 and into the 1960s, with plenty of good sci-fi horror films still left to come. I was surprised to discover that The Neanderthal Man (1953) predated all of those great movies by several years. And yet it feels very much like it’s part of the set.

I suppose it’s like Black Christmas (1974) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) coming out four years before the slasher genre officially kicked off with Halloween (1978). But unlike Black Christmas (1974) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Neanderthal Man Is not a well remembered and loved fan favourite. In fact, I don’t think I had ever heard of it before I first watched it a few years ago. And soon afterwards I forgot that I’d ever seen it. Considering that I seem to be obsessed with 1950s horror and sci-fi movies right now, I figured it was high time that I checked out The Neanderthal Man again. Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: Blood of Dracula (1957)

Poster for Blood of Dracula (1957)Blood of Dracula (1957) by #HerbertLStrock

An angry teenager at an all girls boarding school becomes the subject of a monstrous experiment.

“In her eyes … desire! In her veins … the blood of a monster!”
“Who am I? What am I doing, I – I’m living a nightmare!”
“I know what you are, and I know what you’ve done to me!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Blood of Dracula (1957) goes deep for me. I saw it way back when – I’m not even sure how old I was the first time. I probably saw it on TV (although I’m not 100% sure about that). I eventually bought a copy on VHS – and I watched it several times over the years. It surprised me to learn that it didn’t really rate very well in review books, etc. I always found it irresistible… Continue reading