Tuesday, July 21, 2015

VINTAGE SCI-FI MOVIES, 6 MOVIE COLLECTION (1957-1961)


VINTAGE SCI-FI MOVIES, 6 MOVIE COLLECTION (1957-1961)

Label: Mill Creek Entertainment
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Duration: 468 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo 
Video: Anamorpic Widescreen, Fullframe
Directors: William Asher, Fred F. Sears, Ishiro Honda, David Bradley, Inoshiro Honda, Edward Bernds
Cast: Gene Berry, Valerie French, Ken Clark, Michi Kobi, Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, William Leslie, Kathryn Grant, Kenjo Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko Anzai

OMG! This 2-disc slice of science fiction awesomeness brought be back to the days of watching sci-fi double features on WPIX as a kid, curled up in front of the TV with a bowl of Golden Grahams cereal and pretty much ignoring my poor mother's pleas for me to clean my room, these are the very same Saturday matinee TV programming that set my mind on fire with high-concept schlock that at the time I enjoyed straight-up without any camp or kitsch -- I thought all of these were pretty darn cool movies, and watching 'em again they still are, only now I enjoy them with a healthy dose of camp and kitsch, and that's okay, I mean c'mon, most of these were featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show that I never really cared for, but it's been a good twenty-years since I last watched one, so I could potentially change my tune on that one. I much preferred Night Flight and USA Up All Night with Rhonda Shear and later with the obnoxious Gilbert Gottfried. My favorite of the late night horror shows, after the amply-cleavaged Elvira of course, was Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater hosted by the horror-loving Texan Joe Bob Briggs with his patented score card and trailer trash wit -- god damn I miss that show. Briggs would later go onto host the TNT networks MonsterVision for four more years after Drive-In Theater ended, if you're not familiar with Night Flight, Up All Night or Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater you need to YouTube it right now. 

Anyway, none of that had anything to do with these movies other than those shows make me well up with nostalgia in much the same way these schlocky science fiction films do, I watched 'em all with a bowl full of sugary cereal as a youth and they were the building blocks that fueled by love of bad movies, b-movies and schlocky cinema for all these years. 


Mill Creek Entertainment have licensed these six nuggets of laser-blast awesomeness from Columbia pictures and the transfers are surprisingly solid, sourced from anamorphic prints with good color saturation and monochrome contrast the source material looks pretty great with very few if any instances of print damage to speak of. Audio elements are clean too, each is well-balanced and clean. 


There's a pair of Toho produced sci-fi classic to be found here, we have The H-Man (1957) and Battle in Outer Space (1960)that are probably the best of the bunch as far as concept, production value and execution. The H-Man concerns a radioactive blob-type substance that seems to be turning the local ring of drug dealers, each are turned into green pools of ooze and much blob-type fun ensues. I was surprised how great a production this turned out to be with some great green slime special effects. The plot is overly contrived but for a post-atomic blob movie this is solid. The other Toho produced film is Battle in Outer space, a big budget space Odyssey about evil aliens causing catastrophes around the Earth, these bastards blow-up a space station, derail trains and cause massive flooding and we're not gonna take it! This one is loaded with copious amount of space ships shooting lasers at each other - the miniature models are awesome. Eventually the mother ship launches a devastating anti-gravity ray on the Earth causing building, cars and people to be lifted up into the air but the alien menace proves to be no match for our Atomic Heat Cannons, cue up the victory music!


THE 27TH DAY (1957) 
B/W – 75 minutes – Not Rated  – Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Starring: Gene Barry, Valerie French, George Vaokovec, Arnold Moss, Stefan Schnabel, Friedrich von, Ledebur

Synopsis: Five ordinary humans are given a box by aliens containing capsules capable of killing millions of people. If they can refrain from using the capsules for 27 days, the Earth will be spared. Will they be able to stand firm, especially when word leaks out and a panicked and furious population starts to hunt them down?

THE NIGHT THE WORLD EXPLODED (1957) 
B/W – 64 minutes – Not Rated  – Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Starring: Kathryn Grant, William Leslie, Tristram Coffin, Raymond Greenleaf, Charles Evans, Frank J. Scannell

Synopsis: Dr. Conway develops a device for predicting earthquakes and immediately discovers one is about to occur in California. He can not persuade the Governor to act, so he begins testing underground where he discovers an unknown element causing the quakes that will destroy the planet if it reaches the surface.

THE H-MAN (1959)
Color – 87 Mins – Not Rated  – Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Starring: Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Eitarô Ozawa, Koreya Senda, Makoto Satô

Synopsis: The Tokyo sewer system is an oozing mess after a radioactive liquid turns people into slimy blobs that float down the drains following a rainstorm. To add to the havoc, the gelatinous masses then begin to reproduce. The blobs are ultimately destroyed in a fire that lights up the city.

12 TO THE MOON (1960)
B/W – 75 Mins – Not Rated  – Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Starring: Ken Clark, Michi Kobi, Tom Conway, Anthony Dexter, John Wengraf, Robert Montgomery Jr.

Synopsis: A group of twelve international scientists are the first to land on the moon. In their exploration of the surface, they run into all kinds of trouble, including threatening messages from alien life forms residing on the moon.

BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1960)
Color – 91 Mins – Not Rated  – Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Starring: Ryô Ikebe, Kyôko Anzai, Minoru Takada, Koreya Senda, Len Stanford, Harold Conway

Synopsis: A series of mysterious catastrophes sweep the globe, causing world's scientists to conclude that beings from another planet are attacking earth. Two earth space ships damage attackers, giving the world time to prepare for gigantic battle in outer space.

VALLEY OF THE DRAGONS (1961) 
B/W – 83 Mins – Not Rated – Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Starring: Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley, Danielle De Metz, Gregg Martell, Gil Perkins

Synopsis: Based very loosely on a story by Jules Verne, two men, about to undertake a duel, are thrust into an alternate universe. Finding themselves the only "civilized" men in a world of cavemen and savage beasts, the two realize they'll have to put aside their differences to help each other survive in this strange new world.


This two-disc set can be bought for under $9 and is worth every penny of the asking price. If you love vintage science-fiction movies you will be delighted by the quality of the transfers and the hours of fun that await you, just prepare yourself for some cheesy entertainment. If you crave the corny classic sci-fi this is a very easy recommend, a fantastic budget-minded vintage sci-fi starter kit. 3/5

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