It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

I Did This So You Don’t Have To – Part 4


Here’s the final lot of films from the SciFi Classics 50-Movie Pack.

The Incredible Petrified World – a diving bell is sucked into a labyrinth of underground caverns, and the four crew-members are trapped there. A mad victim of a shipwreck from years before tells them there is no escape, but our plucky heroes – and heroines, of course – manage to find a route to the surface via a volcanic vent. This film is possibly only of interest to potholers.

Queen of the Amazons – a woman’s husband disappears during a trip into the African jungle. She organises an expedition to find him… only to discover he’s shacked up with the local Amazon queen. But she falls for her guide – who rescues her from all manner of jungle-related danger, of course; including man-eating lions and, er, locusts. There’s not much that’s sf about this movie. In fact, suspiciously many of the films in this 50-movie pack have been set in the African jungle. Maybe they’re hangovers from H Rider Haggard‘s She and King Solomon’s Mines

The Amazing Transparent Man – many years ago, comic 2000AD ran a story about a “Visible Man” – a chemical accident had turned his skin transparent so all his internal organs were, well, visible. This film, on the other hand, is just another tired retread of HG WellsThe Invisible Man. This time, however, he’s aiming for world domination. If he succeeds, how are they going to put his head on the coins and stamps, eh?

Horrors of Spider Island – an agent puts together a troupe of dancing girls for a show in Singapore. En route, their plane crashes and the bevy of beautiful girls find themselves stranded on a deserted island. It’s all sunbathing and skinny-dipping for a while… until their manager is attacked by a giant spider and turns into a half-man half-spider creature. Just like Club 18-30, then. While watching this, I couldn’t work out why the soundtrack was slightly off – the dialogue didn’t seem to match the lip movements. It was only afterwards I learnt that the film is German. I’d just assumed it was an early Roger Corman or something…

Devil of the Desert vs The Son of Hercules – another Italian swords & sandals starring some random bodybuilder as Hercules. These have all started to blur into one homogenous blob of badly-dubbed English, poorly-choreographed fight scenes, evil despots who live in caves and/or castles, and some bodybuilder hero in a leather skirt.

Zontar, The Thing from Venus – an object approaches Earth and proves to be an invader from Venus. It persuades an astronomer to act as its agent on Earth, but is eventually defeated. There was lots of people explaining the plot to each other – usually accompanied by manic laughter – and when Zontar finally does put in an appearance he looks like, well, like a bloke in a rubber monster suit.

Kong Island – some scientists visit the titular island with a plan to turn its gorilla population into an unstoppable army through the use of brain transplants. But a giant gorilla foils their fiendish plot. I know I’ve watched this one, but I have no memory of it. That’s probably a good thing

Bride of the Gorilla – Raymond Burr (better known as Perry Mason) is a plantation manager in a South American jungle. He falls for his boss’s beautiful wife, so he kills the old man and takes over the plantation and the wife. But his crime is witnessed by a native sorceress. She curses him. Every night, he turns into a… wild gorilla. After ripping various people to bits, he’s hunted down and shot. It’s all very silly but quite watchable.

Mesa of Lost Women – a mad scientist invents a serum which makes women beautiful. Men, however, turn into evil dwarves. (Sounds like beer to me.) The serum is actually made from, er, “spider hormones”. A group of people are taken to the secret lair of the mad scientist and manage to foil his fiendish plot.

Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon – another US star gets roped into one of these Italian Hercules epics. This time it’s Peter Lupus of the Mission Impossible television series. He has to rescue the beautiful Queen of the Hellenes from the eponymous rulers of Babylon – who were actually the most interesting characters in the film. In all other respects, this was just like all the other Hercules films.

Hercules Unchained – happily, this was the last of swords & sandals. Hercules drinks from an enchanted spring, loses his memory, and shacks up with the beautiful but evil Queen Omphale. Fortunately, brave Ulysses helps him regain his memory, so Hercules wins the day yet again. I always thought Hercules only performed twelve labours, but it feels like I’ve watched hundreds of these films. I think I’d sooner muck out the Augean stables than watch another one…

White Pongo – the title creature a legendary white gorilla. A scientific expedition heads into the jungle to find it. One thing about this film puzzles me: the boxed set is titled SciFi Classics, but I fail to see what’s science-fictional about a jungle expedition to find a white gorilla. It’s not even horror, which at least some of the other non-sf films in the set are. But perhaps it’s a bit late to be asking this.

The Snow Creature – now this one is peripherally sf, inasmuch as the objective of the expedition is to find the fabulous Yeti. But in most other respects, it’s very like White Pongo. Parts of this movie appeared to have been filmed on location – although I suspect it’s the Rockies rather than the Himalayas…

That’s it. All fifty movies watched. And I survived. Now onto the second 50-movie pack, Nightmare Worlds

Also see parts one, two and three.

3 thoughts on “I Did This So You Don’t Have To – Part 4

  1. from Mike CobleyNo, come back, Ian, its not worth it. It could affect (gulp) your sanity!!! Aaaargh, bwah-hah-hah-hah etc….

  2. No, I’ll be fine. I know I will. It says so on this bottle of pills…

  3. Pingback: Newbie! 50s Sci-fi Films - Science Fiction Fantasy Chronicles: forums

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