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Thursday, July 3, 2008

1955

The middle year of the decade saw a few enduring classics, but mostly obscure B-movies. Producers found that there was a market for low-budget B grade sci-fi. Matinee or drive-in fodder, especially for double features, B-grade sci-fi didn't have to be too fancy to be entertaining. It wasn't a year of innovation, so much as it was a year of repeating already-successful plot formulae. Here are 1955's sci-fi movies in chronological order:

Conquest of Space -- is George Pal's almost-epic tale of a realistic vision of a future trip to Mars.

Revenge of the Creature -- is the sequel to the popular "Creature from the Black Lagoon". Here, gill man is brought to Florida and pretty much repeats the first movie's plot.

This Island Earth -- is a sci-fi classic. It's an intriguing tale of aliens who try to recruit earth's nuclear scientists to help them stave off interstellar defeat.

King Dinosaur -- is an ultra-low-budget movie about an earth expedition finding "dinosaurs" on a rogue planet.

The Quatermass Xperiment -- is actually a fairly well done British film about an amorphous creature from space which comes to earth in an astronaut.

Beast With a Million Eyes -- an incorporeal alien who feeds on fear, causes animals to attack people, but love triumphs. Very low-budget.

It Came From Beneath The Sea -- is a classic Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation monster movie about a giant octopus which terrorizes San Francisco.

The Creature With the Atomic Brain -- is a low-budget, but somewhat innovative zombie film. A vengeful mobster uses electronically re-animated dead people to extract his revenge.

Tarantula -- amounts to another installment in the giant bug sub-genre begun by Them! in '54. A mad scientist looking for synthetic food creates giant animals. His tarantula escapes and terrorizes.

Godzilla Raids Again -- is Toho's sequel to Godzilla. Here, he battles another dinosaur-thing, laying waste to Osaka in the process.

Day the World Ended -- is a post-apocolyptic tale of seven people who survive in a sheltered valley. Radiation-spawned mutations lurk in the shadows.

Phantom from 10,000 Fathoms -- is a very cheap recast of the Godzilla theme, but with a human-sized rubber suit monster.

Bride of the Monster -- is an ultra-low-budget crossover sci-fi / horror flick. Only Bela Lugosi, in his last speaking movie, saves it from the dumpster of total humiliation.

6 comments:

garry said...

Hi.
This looks a great site - i haven't yet fully explored it. I'm on a quest, and i hope you may be able to help me.
I have a memory of a very powerful image from a film i saw many many years ago - the last image in the film, in fact. I'm presuming it was a US 1950s sci-fi film, because of the advent of nuclear fallout stories happening around then. The image
: a middle-distance b&w shot of a man staggering along an embankment - almost in silhouette; he is decaying from radiation - maybe it gave him special powers during the body of the film - the low camera angle picks up a lot of shimmering ground heat, thus eliminating the need for a special effect to create the decaying image. I thought it was Robert Lansing in the 4-D Man, but i saw that a few years back and was disappointed that it wasn't, unless it was cut (but why would it be?). I also had a thought that it was The Invisible Ray (Karloff), but that's too early (1936?).
I guess i have a bee in my bonnet about this, but it has haunted me for years, well, every now and again... Any ideas? Thanks, Garry.

garry said...

PS:
my email : rigmarole55@gmail.com -
many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Demon with a Glass Hand from the Outer Limits Series.

Joe in Pittsburgh said...

Quick question for whomever:
A 50's sci-fi movie, saw it in 56 -59 time frame, I think. It had the following scenes/plot points:
A. Some ligitimate scientists working on rockets. Boss scientist said it wasn't proved til it worked 100 times.
B. Meteorites that looked like skinny footballs landing, then something jumping from them to whomever picked them up, causing a blister/boil on the skin, and then of course the human got taken over or got sick or something.
C. A mysterious factory, with guys in something like flame-entry suits and detecting devices who came to find the people who got taken over and then led them away.
D. One of these devices, (later shoen to have had steering fins on it) crashes thru the roof and embeds itself in the stage of a small honky-tonk, where the female singer reaches out and gets zapped by it. I believe it is at this point that the legitimate scientists (bar patrons ?) get involved.
E. There is a infiltration by the good guys to the mysterious factory, finding ground up people flowing thru pipes and vats ??
and finally F. the good guys developmental rocket saves the day.
I saw this movie when I was a kid, and so this is 50 years of clear-span memory talking, but I think I'm close. I was badly creeped out by it, and would love to see it as an adult, so I can laugh at it, as I'm sure it is really cheesy. I waited a long time for the invention of the internet so I could ask an imformed audience. Thanks a lot for any light shed on this. Joe in Pittsburgh

Anonymous said...

these are the greatest movies ever. you never see movies as wonderful, what the movies are today; trashy, too much sex, foul lanuange, too everthing. i wasnt born yet when those good old movies were out, but some i can watch reruns. vicent price, boris karloff, actors you do not see today greatest actors, and actresses. too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Garry,

That first scene with the guy staggering along an embankment sounds like the first scene from "The Atomic Man" 1955.

And Joe in Pittsburgh...

Looks like you are recalling "Quatermass II" also known as "Enemy from Space" a 6 part B&W BBC serial from 1955.

I sympathize with you guys. I had a memory of a movie trailer from when I was a kid - maybe 50 years ago - with a scientist's hand disappearing into a blob-like mass and an onlooker in the doorway saying "It's the blood rust". I asked everyne I knew, googled blood rust (when the Internet finally got invented) - nothing. Then I saw that trailer on a disk of movie trailers, exactly as I remembered it. The movie was called "Space Master X-7" from 1958. It was like having a long-time itch scratched!!

John