There are so many movie guides out there today that it is really difficult at times to choose which ones we should buy. They range in quality from very good (like Bill Warren’s “Keep Watching The Skies“) to dreadful (like Rob Craig’s “It Came From 1957“) but at least one thing can be said, movies from the 1950’s are getting more coverage than ever. When it comes to movies, my favorites all came from the 1950’s. No other time period has been more prolific when it comes to monster and science fictions films. Though many of these films are now considered classics, there were many stinkers as well. At least most of these stinkers have their own charm and are still fun to watch even today. The book I am reviewing today, “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes: A Front Row Look at the Sci-Fi/Horror Films of the 1950s“, by Mark Thomas McGee and R.J. Robertson, covers these movies in a way not really seen before, which is why I highly recommend it.
If you’re a fan of movies, then you’ve probably perused a movie guide or two in search of inspiration. I’ve always been a fan of these books, especially if they revolve a specific film genre. This all started for me with John Stanley’s “Creature Feature Movie Guide” series and continues to this day. These guides aren’t perfect as they’re usually written by one person who has their own personal tastes. What this means is that the author may hate a movie you absolutely love and vice versa. Because they’re trying to cram so many movies into one guide, the films aren’t given as much of a personal touch with the reviews often ending up static. Not so with the subject of this review; a horror movie guide that takes things to a whole new level! I present to you., “HIDDEN HORROR: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks.”
Welcome to another edition of “Alien Invasion Films of the 1950s!” I was excited when Terror Dave Albaugh asked me to guest author today’s selection as it happens to be one of my favorites…and often disregarded. I guess that’s to be expected when a film is pegged with a sensationalistic moniker designed to attract 1958 teenagers like I Married a Monster from Outer Space, but don’t let it fool you. This movie is one of the genre’s best entries and absolutely worth watching regardless of its tabloid title.
The 50’s saw such a variety of great science fiction films and the creation of so many memorable monsters. My favorite of all of them are the aliens from the 1957 film INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN, created by none other than low-budget special effects genius Paul Blaisdell. The fact that this is a low-budget film doesn’t affect the final product in any way and though it comes off as cheesy at times, this will always remain a classic.
Let me start by saying that I really wanted to like “It Came from 1957.” It had everything going for it; it covers one of my favorite subject matters and it is put out by one of the greatest publishing houses that releases horror and science fiction movie guides, McFarland & Company, Inc. All I can say is that this book was one big disappointment despite its potential.
The 50’s will go down in history as the greatest decade of all time for science fiction films. During this 10 year period we were introduced to Godzilla, Rodan, giant insects and arachnids and of course every type of alien being bent on invading Earth imaginable. It truly was a great time to be a fan of not only movies, but of science fiction. Some of these films were great; some not so great. The one thing they all had in common though was great imaginations at a time where Hollywood was chock full of original ideas.
This is part four of my ongoing series covering the alien invasion films of the nineteen fifties. In the past I have reviewed THE MAN FROM PLANET X (see HERE), THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (see HERE) and one of my all time favorites, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (see HERE). Now I am here to review another great addition, INVADERS FROM MARS.
For anyone that has read any of my posts in the past you will know that I am very nostalgic when it comes to my youth. I cherished being a kid for so many reasons. We had the weekly ritual of Saturday morning cartoons as opposed to today, where there are 24 hour a day cartoon channels. We also had a block of cartoons on each morning before school and another one waiting for us when we got home from school. The Saturday morning showings were on the major networks and the weekday showings were on UHF stations.
Saturday mornings were great because not only did you have the great Hanna Barbera and Warner Brother offerings but Sid & Marty Krofft were creating a regular variety of live action shows such as Land Of The Lost and Dr. Shrinker. It is the weekday showings though that I am here currently to talk about. These showings introduced me to a whole new type of animation; an animation from Japan. At the time we called it Japanimation and now it goes by the name of anime. The best of these, in my opinion, was a show called Star Blazers from 1974.
During the Halloween season, I’ve always been partial to the mom and pop costume shops. For one thing, I like to support the little guy but, for another, they also tend to carry less of the mass produced products bigger chains do. Unfortunately those stores are becoming a rarity thanks, in large part, to chains such as Spirit Halloween and Halloween Town.
One of the main reasons I decided to attend the Fright Night Film Fest in Lousiville was due to the addition of Gillian Anderson a.k.a. Agent Dana Scully from The X-Files. Like most of their top celebrity draws, she’d also represent one of their pricier ones. The cost for her autograph was $65 and an extra $20 if you wanted her to personalize or write anything in addition to her name.
Next to where the cast members of THE THING reunion were signing, was the amazing THING-FEST! This private collection owned by super-fan, Joe Hart, would feature the largest acquisition of props and memorabilia from the 1982 John Carpenter classic.
Though born and raised in New Jersey (a childhood friend of Kevin Smith), Hart now resides with his wife in Canada. What makes him so exceptional isn’t simply that he’s a fan who’s amassed lots of amazing goods, but that he’s one who willingly shares them with the rest of us. He does this utilizing his own time and resources and, in doing so, enhances the overall experience for everyone; something never more evident than at the Days of the Dead Indianapolis!
I am constantly looking for new monster movies to watch, hopefully enjoy and then add to my movie collection. Unfortunately, more often than not, these films end up being comparable to a Syfy Channel movie of the week (in other words, it sucks). Thankfully, every once in awhile one comes along that stands out. Such is the case with the 2012 release of GRABBERS.
I have to admit that it’s been a while since I really enjoyed seeing a movie on the big screen. Oh sure, I’ve seen plenty of films that were “okay” and it’s always nice getting out with friends, but there have been few where I felt drawn in to the story or any type of reaction for that matter. Last Friday, I headed out to see DARK SKIES. I didn’t know much about the film except that it dealt with alien visitors and, ironically, I have been in a UFO kind of mood these days. I decided to give it and, must say, I was pleasantly surprised!
This past year or so has featured many amazing blu-ray releases that will make great gifts for that genre fan in your life. This was not an easy list to compile since there are so many great releases to choose from! I also wanted to limit myself to 13 titles, or else this list would’ve just gone on and on. I am a huge fan of the blu-ray format but have noticed that just because something is on blu-ray and says it is in high-definition, does not mean it is actually going to look good! It all depends on the source used for the transfer. When I watch a blu-ray, I want to feel like I am seeing the film for the first time, even if I have seen it multiple times before. This list is of blu-ray releases that did just that! ENJOY!
It is unlikely that any regular reader of this blog has not, in some way, been touched by the work of the great American writer, Ray Bradbury. The Science Fiction/Horror/Fantasy writer was truly one of us; someone who never outgrew his childhood love of dinosaurs, monsters, and aliens all the way until his death, yesterday, at the age of 91. The Internet is now rife with tributes and retrospectives of his amazing life and I have enjoyed reading a few. In that regard, I don’t feel that there is anything I can add. Instead, I am going to go all “Oprah” on you and list my Five Favorite things that he did. And, no, I will not be giving away free cars and merchandise, so you can remain seated and relatively calm. Also, this is not to suggest that in the course of Bradbury’s prolific career and multitude of accomplishments, that I ONLY like five of them. To go through them all would be like creating another Horror Host Report and this blog has only room for one of those epic posts per week. Here it goes…
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES is pleased to welcome Shaun “Genghis” Kangas back to the site as a guest writer! Shaun is a fan of the MIB films and delighted us by sharing his insights on the hit new film!
Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of summer, and always the blockbuster weekend for “over the top” summer movies. This past Sunday morning I went to see MEN IN BLACK 3: BACK IN TIME. I had planned to see it at my local drive-in theater, but due to severe weather they cancelled the showing, so I went to a traditional theater and saw it in 3D….like how every film is these days, you just can’t escape it.
Last Saturday, after viewing THE AVENGERS for the fourth time, my friend and I were having so much we grabbed a bite to eat and returned to the theater again to check out the latest offering, BATTLESHIP. This movie is in fact based on the popular board game from “back in the day” but with an extra-terrestrial slant.
Not long ago, I had a bit of a health scare. It started while I was on vacation in March enjoying the Horrorhound Weekend while also embarking on a zoo tour with the other Dave. I started feeling sore on my left chest and, after investigating, discovered a lump. I started getting scared as breast cancer is not a disease relegated to women (just ask Peter Criss from KISS) but also runs in my family. My mother successfully fought it back in the 90’s and last year my grandfather on my dad’s side was diagnosed as well.
As 2011 winds its way down, we can all agree that this certainly wasn’t a stellar year for horror. This should not suggest, however, that it didn’t have a few note worthy genre entries on the whole. As everyone seems intent on doing a “Year of Review” we thought we might add our own picks for our favorite horror/sci-fi films of 2011.
Welcome to volume 4 of my series on the very best of the alien invasion films of the 50’s. This entry is for one of the all-time best films of this type…THE THING (FROM ANOTHER WORLD), from 1951.
From Wikipedia: Mothman is a legendary creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia from 15 November 1966 to 15 December 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the Point Pleasant Register dated 16 November 1966, entitled “Couples See Man-Sized Bird…Creature…Something”..
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES is honored to share the photos of Brian Maze who visited the Mothman Museum located in Point Pleasant, West Virginia…