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Saturday, November 29, 2008


In many ways, the year 1957 was building towards the high-water mark for the decade. It was the year that saw man's first successful spacecraft: Sputnik. On earth, it was the beginning of Detroit's big tail fin craze.

Space Race and Big Fins

In theaters, there were no big sci-fi hits or classics as the years before had produced, but there were more sci-fi films released in '57 than any of the previous years. 50s sci-fi was building to a crescendo. Below are the many sci-fi films of 1957, in roughly chronological order:

Not Of This Earth -- An obscure Roger Corman film, but an interesting tale of alien infiltration, a prelude to conquest. Double-billed with Crab Monsters.

Attack of the Crab Monsters -- Roger Corman monster flick about radiation-mutated giant crabs who absorb the intellects of those they devour.

Kronos, Destroyer of the Universe -- A giant robot comes to earth to earth's steal energy for energy-starved aliens.

The Incredible Shrinking Man -- One of THE top 50s sci-fi classics. Radiation causes a man to shrink ever smaller. The normal world becomes a nightmare landscape.

The Deadly Mantis -- Earthquakes free a giant prehistoric mantis from arctic ice. It moves south, attacking and eating along the way.

X, The Unknown -- A British movie about a blob-like monster from the earth's core which rises to consume energy, killing all in its path.

20 Million MIles From Earth -- A Ray Harryhausen gem about a lizard-man creature brought from Venus, which grows to monster size.

Invasion of the Saucer Men -- A camp-classic in which big-headed alien midgets invade, but plucky teens find their weakness.

The Beginning of the End -- Radiated food experiments mistakenly create a swarm of giant grasshoppers who converge on Chicago.

The Unearthly -- A 'mad' doctor experiments on patients at his remote sanitarium, trying to find anti-aging formula.

The Monster That Challenged the World -- Radiation causes lake mollusks to grow into carnivorous caterpiler-like beasts. They threaten to break out into the open ocean and beyond.

The Giant Claw -- A giant ugly bird with an anti-matter shield comes from space comes to earth to lay its egg. Sam Katzman's worst movie for special effects.

The Night the World Exploded -- Minerals from deep in the earth rise up. When they contact water, they expand and explode. Earthquakes and volcanos abound.

The 27th Day -- Aliens who want the earth cleared out, give five people capsules that can kill billions of people. They're given 27 days to use them or not.

The Cyclops -- Precursor to B. I. Gordon's Amazing Colossal Man. Radiation makes a lost pilot grow into a 30' tall one-eyed giant.

The Unknown Terror -- A 'mad' doctor in a remote Mexican jungle experiments with rapid-growing fungus and local villagers.

The Brain From Planet Arous -- A criminal brain being possesses a rocket scientist in order to make earthlings create a fleet of revenge ships. A 'good' brain being comes to stop him.

The Invisible Boy -- A precocious boy gets a brain boost from a sinister supercomputer which is trying to rule the world. The boy's father and Robby the Robot, intervene.

The Black Scorpion -- Giant prehistoric scorpions are released by a Mexican volcano. The largest, a black one, attacks Mexico City.

The Amazing Colossal Man -- Exposure to a nuclear test makes Colonel Manning grow uncontrollably. As his mind goes, he becomes a rampaging monster in Las Vegas.

Monolith Monsters -- Strange meteor fragments grow to enormous size when wet. Towers of rock fall destructively, their fragments growing into new towers. Nothing stops them.

The Astounding She-Monster -- A dark blend of Day the Earth Stood Still premise seen through a Film Noir lens. An alien messenger comes, but touch kills instantly.


Mike Scott said...

1957 may be the year with the most "yet to be released on DVD" movies.

Most wanted:
The Amazing Colossal Man
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Invasion of the Saucer-Men
I Was A Teenage Frankenstein
I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Not of This Earth
and The 27th Day

Mike Scott said...

BTW: None of the links in this post are working. There is an "L" after "scifi" (scifil) that's goofing them up.

Nightowl said...

Thanks Mike. The down-side of copy-and-paste. Same error repeats. Fixed them now.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a BRITISH MADE FILM about some insects that come to earth and inplant DNA into early caveman humans. The effect of this DNA is awakened and effects modern age people. These now long dead insects came from MARS. Their ship and bodies are found while digging a new tunnel for a subway system...I can't remember the name of the movie. E-mail me at dalododt@embarqmail.com

Nightowl said...

Without re-watching it to be sure, it sounds like you're describing "Quatermass and the Pit." This was a british TV series in 1958, redone as a feature film in 1967 titled "Five Million Years to Earth." The insects found in a subway was definitely from Q & the Pit.

charlie013 said...

Here's one not listed:

The Land Unknown (1957)


Boy do I love this stuff, Charlie

Nightowl said...

Charlie, You're quite right. I'll try to get The Land Unknown soon, perhaps after I finish with 1965 movies.

thanks for the reminder!

Unknown said...

looking for movie where comets fall at night, and are located by persons running a food plant(I think)-has large vats, one contains what is falling to earth in comets-creature that eats people. things in comets are like things in"the Blob". Fallen comets are referred to as "overshoots" ?? Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Anonymous said...

My 81 year old friend says he remembers a movie from 1957 called "Journey to the Depths of the Earth". I bought him Journey to the Center of the Earth but he said "no, it's Depths of the Earth". Any thoughts on this?? Thanks, South Carolina Granny

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of "Journey to the Depths of the Earth"? My 81 year old friend says its from 1957 and he say's it's not Journey to the Center of the Earth". Help, South Carolina Granny

Nightowl said...

The only film I know of in 1957 which might come close, is The Incredible Petrified World. Stars John Carridine. It is a rough paraphrase of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. But as far as I know, it was not released with "Depths of the Earth" as an alternate title. Have your friend watch Petrified World, and see if that was it.

Or, ask for a few more scenes or plot elements to help narrow it down.

Anonymous said...

I think this movie is from 1957. A family who lives in the mid west is expecting their relative (a priest) to arrive form Italy of whom they've never met. A Dracula like being is on the train with the priest. Dracula kills the priest and assumes his identity. He lives with the family until they finally figure out they are not housing their Italian priest relative but rather a live vampire. Anyone know the name of this B&W classic? Would appreciate a reply at my Ya Hoo.com account which is revup67 - thank you. Please title the email "vampire" so I know it is from this thread

Darci said...

I believe the film revup67 is recalling is the 1958 film "Return of Dracula", aka The Curse of Dracula, aka The Fantastic Disappearing Man. It's a neat little film almost forgotten today because it came out the same year as Hammer's first Dracula film.

Darci said...

I think the film Granny is searching for is "Unknown World" from 1951. It's also sometimes seen as "night Without Stars".