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I Did This So You Don’t Have To – Part 3

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Yet more cinematic delights from the SciFi Classics 50-Movie Pack. And I use the word “delights” advisedly.

Warning From Space – yet another Japanese monster movie. In this one, flying saucers approach Tokyo – but not to destroy it. There’s a meteor on a collision course with Earth, and the aliens have come to warn humanity. I think this is the one that has the aliens that look like giant upright starfish with a big eye in their middle. They were… silly.

Phantom from Space – a flying saucer lands in California and a space-suited alien disembarks from it. He attacks and kills two passers-by. The authorities chase after him. So he takes off his spacesuit and underneath he’s… invisible!

Hercules & the Captive Women – sigh. More sandalled bodybuilders running up and down sandy valleys and in and out of caves. The eponymous women – it’s one at a time, rather than many at once – have been left out as sacrifices to Proteus by the queen of Atlantis. Hercules is only there because his friend, King Androcles of Thebes, drugs him and takes him on a mission to uncover who it is that’s trying to conquer Greece. But Hercules defeats the Atlanteans – the queen and an army of strange blond identical men with what look like false foreheads – and everyone lives happily ever after.

Lost Jungle – this one is a vehicle for 1930s animal trainer Clyde Beatty, and an excuse to have a lion and a tiger fight it out on-screen. Beatty’s (he plays himself) girlfriend disappears on an expedition to discover the lost island of Kamor, which boasts both African and Asian fauna. Lions and tigers, in other words. Beatty, freely admitting that Kamor will save him the expense of a trip to Africa and India, joins a rescue mission. And, er, rescues her. Oh, and there’s a fight between a lion and a tiger. Even though Beatty plays himself, the film makes an effort to give him a character-arc. I suspect that’s unusual in a 1934 film.

Teenagers from Outer Space – a bunch of Martians arrive in California in a flying saucer and decide it is an excellent place to raise their giant lobster-like cattle. Unfortunately, these creatures will destroy all earthly life, so one heroic Martian escapes to warn the population of a nearby town. There’s a sort of earnest amateurishness to this film.The special effects are poor, the acting is terrible, and the plot involves a lot of running about. Despite that it’s actually not bad.

Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Menace from Outer Space – yet more interplanetary derring-do by Rocky, sidekick Winky, and token female Vena Ray. There’s a comet approaching the Earth, and it’s controlled by some villains. Rocky heads off in his spaceship and saves the day. Can anyone spell “formula”?

Colossus and the Amazon Queen – I bet Rod Taylor (of George Pal’s The Time Machine, among other films) doesn’t mention this one on his c.v. He plays the sidekick of strongman Glauco (played by yet another bodybuilder). The pair of them go exploring, and find themselves in the hands of the Amazons. Glauco escapes, and then rescues the others. All these Italian swords & sandals epics are starting to blur into one… Astonishing to think that these films were made in the same country that gave us the great Michelangelo Antonioni

Moon of the Wolf – there’s a werewolf loose down in the bayou. Even when this film was made in 1972, its plot was a cliché. David Janssen plays the manly sheriff, Bradford Dillman the louche aristocrat who’s really a werewolf, and Barbara Rush the sister who had a fling with the sheriff but had to go away because she consorted with the one of the lower orders… Southern Gothic meets An American Werewolf in Paris. In recent years, this has become an extremely popular sub-genre in written fiction – for reasons I completely fail to understand.

The Wasp Woman – an early Roger Corman, this one wasn’t too bad… except for the title character. The owner of a cosmetics company injects herself with wasp royal jelly in the hope of looking younger. Which it does. It also turns her into a wasp-human hybrid at intervals. Who attacks and kills people. Pretty silly. Um, on reflection, perhaps it wasn’t that good after all.

The Galaxy Invader – an alien crash-lands in the wrong part of the US, and a group of drunken rednecks go hunting for him. It’s sort of like Deliverance. But without a decent script. Or anyone who can act. Or a decent director. Or coherent dialogue. Actually, it was more like a home video.

Also see Part 1 and Part 2.

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3 thoughts on “I Did This So You Don’t Have To – Part 3

  1. Ah, I’ve been almost tempted a few times to part with a tenner for one of these compendiums, the theory being that even if you find one movie out of 50 that you really love, that’s still worth it – and I have to say you’re not doing a very good job of putting me off the idea. All of these sound watching (at least in part, at least once).Dammit!ps a link to parts 1 and 2 of this? I tried to trawl your posts but got bored.

  2. Yes, some of the films aren’t bad, but the transfers are uniformly poor. The best one so far was probably First Spaceship on Venus… which is available in restored form under its original title Der Schweigende Stern in the DEFA Sci-Fi Collection. It’s on the wants list…Links added, as requested.

  3. I believe Teenagers from Outer Space is the one with (1) a skeleton for the disintegrated human clearly taken from the high school biology classroom (2) the scene where a car pulls into a gas station — except it’s quite clear it’s coasting and barely making it. A few scenes later you see it go off a cliff. They couldn’t afford a car that ran.

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