I’m pretty sure if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you most likely know I like Roger Corman films. Well this is no different: A Corman film that I like.
1955’s The Fast and The Furious tells the story of a man, Frank Webster (played by John Ireland) who was wrongly accused of murder and wanting to clear his name. Being pursued by police, Webster is forced to take a woman, Connie Adair (played by Dorothy Malone) hostage and steal her car, with Webster hoping to make it to the Mexican border, and freedom beyond it. In order to avoid police road blocks, they pose as entrants in an antique auto race. The fact that Connie knows some of the entrants makes things a little sticky. Along this crazy adventure, Connie falls for Frank and vice/versa. A tale of injustice and love, this movie has schlock written all over it – luckily it’s short and doesn’t give enough time to get sick of it. Actually, clocking in at one hour and sixteen minutes, this movie is just about the perfect length for it’s subject matter.
Oh, and don’t go thinking that that crappy Fast and Furious film is a remake of this film – watch The Chase with Charlie Sheen to see the true remake of this film.
Should you watch it? Hell Yeah…
Heck, here’s the whole damned movie:
It Came from Beneath the Sea is a 1955 atomic monster movie – something that was pretty common at the time. These are movies where the monster is a beast that has mutated or changed in some horrible way with atomic radiation somehow the catalyst for this change. There are many examples of these movies, and this has to be one of the best. In this case, a giant octopus is disturbed by atomic testing in the south Pacific by the U.S. Government.
In the opening scene, we are told about the progress man has made in the realm of submarines, culminating in the nuclear sub. The next scene, we are on the command deck of one of these subs on it’s maiden voyage. where we are introduced to Commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey), a major player going forward. Soon the sub detects a large radioactive object outside the sub. In an attempt to escape from the unknown object (the sub becomes stuck), they tear away a piece of what ever had held them. Upon return to dry dock a largish piece of biological matter that had been stuck to the sub is examined and turns out to be part of what appears to be a gigantic octopus. This is determined by tests run by Doctors John Carter and Professor Lesley Joyce. Upon sharing their results with Navy brass, they are at first not believed. A series of attacks on shipping and first hand descriptions of the creatures by survivors of these attacks soon change the mind of the Navy and soon they back the efforts of Professor Joyce and Dr. Carter. With the help of Commander Mathews, they devise a plan to use a newly developed jet propelled torpedo with a remote detonator to be used against the creature – as long as they can find it. Turns out they don’t have too look too hard – as suddenly the creature decides to attack San Francisco, starting with the Golden Gate Bridge. In what is probably one of the greatest stop motion monster creature scenes, we get to see the creature in all it’s glory as it attacks and destroys a section of the iconic bridge. This is pure awesomeness. An shining example of a type of effect that is sorely disappearing. The man behind these effects is the great Ray Harryhausen who’s other works also include the Voyages of Sinbad and the 19814 classic, Clash of the Titans.
Soon the creature moves from the bridge to the bay and is soon attacking the Oakland ferry terminal and terrorizing the people there in another masterful stop motion scene. Using blow torches, the creature is then driven back into the bay where the waiting sub can deliver the waiting torpedo. Unfortunately, they have to free the sub which the creature has grabbed a hold of. The only way to do this is to have someone deliver a an explosicve charge to get the creature to let go – Commander Mathews takes this upon himself, but ultimately fails. Dr. Carter then decides to go out himself and deliver another charge, this one working and freeing the sub. Once free, the sub detonates the torpedo and destroys the monster.
Pretty silly stuff, sure – but this is an amazing example of the work of effects master Ray Harryhausen, and of the Atomic monster craze that gripped the movie industry at the dawn of the atomic age. The acting is a little wooden, but fun. I believe that this movie is an unsung masterpiece that deserves more credit than it gets. A must watch which is easy as it is available on Youtube (see that link below the trailer).
Here is the Trailer:
And here is the whole movie on Youtube:
Ed wood, creator of what is arguably the worst movie ever, Plan 9 From Outer Space, made more than just that one movie. He made quite a few movies and Bride of the Monster is one of those movies.
Starring an ageing and in poor health Bela Lugosi as Doctor Eric Vornoff who, with the help of his mute, physically powerful assistant Lobo (played by Tor Johnson) creates super powerful being with the use of atomic power. The town that he has taken up residence in is suddenly awash in disappearances and reports of monster sightings. Coincidence? Well, most likely not.
The local police force, a mysterious scientist that reports to specialize in monsters, and a female reported from the local paper all take up the cause to find the source of the monsters. Of course, the female reporter is quickly captured by Lobo and taken to Dr. Vornoff to be part of his evil experiments. Everyone else spends there time trying to find and then defeat the Doctor. Throw in plot elements that don’t connect to anything else, terrible dialogue and performances that make an elementary school play look like an Ocsar Award winning production. It’s dumb and fun – filled with stock footage and cheeziness – keep your eye out for Lugosi’s epic battle with his own giant Octopus monster – a classic scene in it’s own right.
This is a bad film, but it had so much charm I just had to like it. Despite being of poor health and suffering from years of morphine addiction, Bela Lugosi is compelling and interesting performance. And there is something else: despite making bad movies, I really get the feeling that Ed Wood genuinely loved movies, and the act of making them. This, to me comes through in these terrible films of his.
Yes, this is a bad film that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. I DO recommend this one, if you can trade quality for charm. This movie is now in the public domain which means it is freely and legally available – In fact, the whole film is available on Youtube. You should get some popcorn, leave your sense of disbeliefe at the door, grab a seat and watch it.
Here is a trailer:
And here is the whole mess of a film for your enjoyment: