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Thursday, January 24, 2008


1953 was a very busy year for sci-fi fans. Over a dozen films hit the theaters. Some of them were A-grade block busters. Some of them were clearly low-grade stuff, even for the B-market. Still, there was plenty to watch.

Magnetic Monster -- A scientist's freak isotope absorbs energy around it and doubles in size every 11 hours, threatening to upset the earth in its orbit. 1st tale in Ivan Tors' OSI trilogy.

Invaders from Mars -- Low budget, but highly influential, destined to become a cult classic. A hidden alien takes over humans to do its bidding.

Phantom from Space -- A Dragnet-style B-film about a misunderstood (and invisible) alien to crashes on Earth by mistake.

It Came from Outer Space -- One-eyed aliens crash in the desert southwest and create body-doubles of townspeople in order to get their ship repaired.

Beast from 20,000 Fathoms -- An arctic nuke test releases a frozen dinosaur which then terrifies New York. Inspiration for Godzilla in 1954.

Mesa of Lost Women -- A mad scientist in a mexican mesa uses human hormones to create giant intelligent spiders and spider hormones to create a cadre of telepathically controllable humans -- beautiful women and motley dwarf men.

Robot Monster -- A bizarrely odd post-apocalyptic dream tale often tagged as the ultimate in the so-bad-it's-good category. Definitely a bad-flick cult classic.

Abbott & Costello Go to Mars -- The comedy duo spoof the sci-fi genre. They land on earth, mistake it for Mars, then go to Venus, but mistake it for Los Angeles.

War of the Worlds -- One of THE big classics of 50s sci-fi. Sets H.G. Wells' 1898 novel into 1950s America. A tale so good, it was remade several times in later decades.

Project Moon Base -- A saboteur causes a lunar orbit mission to land instead. A man and woman on the moon.

Catwomen of the Moon -- A lunar mission finds a lost civilization of moon women who then plot to steal the earthlings' rocket in order to get to earth.

Donovan's Brain -- A doctor saves the brain of a dying millionaire, but the brain telepathically takes over people to continue his evil-captiallist schemes.

Planet Outlaws -- Buck Rogers serials from 1939 are strung together to make a feature film. Retro, even for the 50s.

The Twonky -- Arch Oboler's comedy tale about a helpful/oppressive robot from the future, disguised as a TV set, screws up a poor professor's life.

Four Sided Triangle -- A British sci-fi drama about a lonely scientist who duplicates the woman he loves (who loves another), but all is not well.

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