BOOK REVIEW: “It Came From 1957” by Rob Craig

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.

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The 1950’s saw countless numbers of good quality science fiction movies being released. Even those on a tighter budget were oftentimes very entertaining and fun to watch, both for their originality and goofiness. When I saw that this book was being released, covering one of the most prolific science fiction movie making years of the decade, I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon. I was a little discouraged by its $37.95 price tag, especially since the book is a paperback and only runs 246 pages, but I have always thoroughly enjoyed the books in my library put out by McFarland. This was my first let down.

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Why this book had potential is simple; it was covering some of my all time favorite films. Movies like ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL , THE DEADLY MANTIS, THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD, I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF and INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN would all be covered. Movies that I can watch over and over again would have a book devoted directly to them. Of course, not once did I even think that this had already been done, in the vastly superior McFarland book “Keep Watching The Skies” by Bill Warren. Could this book offer anything new and exciting. That would be a no.

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I think what bothered me the most is how political this book is. There has never been any doubt that movies reflect the signs of the times and this was never truer than during the 50’s . In fact many of the movies had nuclear bomb testing as the basis of their plots. We know this how? Because the start of many of these movies feature stock footage of atomic bomb tests warning of what could happen if we stay on our current path. The first 49 pages of this book deals, in great detail, with the politics of the time. Yes this introduction is necessary, but not to the degree that is was covered here; this is a monster movie book after all. This first section of the book is so off-putting at times with its one-sidedness that I found it very difficult to go back to this book to read at times.

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Overall I found this book to be very negative and not fun to read at all. When you are covering some of the funnest movies ever made, the coverage should be fun as well, not some left-wing, narrow-minded view of the world. Craig shoves his political views down the readers’ throats and not being a political person myself, found this a huge turn-off. When he finally gets to movie coverage, there is no consistency there either. Some films are given pages of coverage and some, little at all. If you are determined to read this book, take it out of your local library. If you need to buy something on this subject, I would recommend spending twice as much money on Bill Warren’s vastly superior “Keep Watching The Skies.” This hardcover book is huge (1,004 pages) is everything and more that Craig’s book should-be.

~David Albaugh

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