B-Movie Round-Up   April 25th, 2010

Originally Written 02/01/10

I ended up watching a bunch of b-movies this weekend, some good, some not so good.

There were two episodes of MST3K, which I believe I’d seen parts of before. First Spaceship on Venus from the 1960s was notable for being a European production with a multi-cultural team made up of members from various countries. It started out fun and had some good riffing, but once they got to Venus there was a lot of pointless wandering around and the last half of the film dragged.

Future War a low-budget turd from the 90s was the other episode of MST3K. It sounded promising, as it was described as cyborgs with hunter dinosaurs pursued an escape human slave from a space ship down to 1990s LA, where the fugitive gets help from a streetwalker-turned nun. Come on, that sounds like it’d be a lot of fun, but not so much. There’s lots of boring dialog and multiple fight scenes with bad kung fu and characters throwing empty cardboard boxes at one another. The dinosaur puppets were amusing though.

We also watched Carnival of Souls, which is somewhat of a cult favorite. I’d heard about it and been meaning to watch it for some time now. The premise is interesting, where a woman escapes a deadly accident but is then haunted by mysterious apparitions and ghouls which threaten her sanity. It started out interesting and with a good atmosphere for a low-budget film.

Unfortunately it dragged on way too long with lots of padding that didn’t do much to flesh out the story, and it was just a long march to a predictable ending. It felt like a 30-minute Twilight Zone episode that had been padded out to an hour and twenty minutes. I believe there was an episode of the original Twlight Zone series which handled a similar story and worked a lot better.

By far the best movie of the bunch was It, the Terror from Beyond Space. In that film a rescue rocket is sent to pick up survivors from the first manned mission to Mars. They find only the captain is left alive. He claims a mysterious monster killed his crew and is taken back home by a skeptical crew to face court martial for murder. So the film starts off with some nice dramatic tension and before long they discover the survior’s story may ring true, as something has snuck on board the rocket and mysterious events unfold.

The film is a time capsul of the late 1950s and echos the times it was created in. Everyone smokes and the women are resigned to stereotypical roles of nurses and essentiall stewardesses in space. When attacking the monster they use WW2 guns and grenades, not fancy sci-fi weapons, but it feels genuine to the age.

The monster is obviously a guy in a rubber suit, but it’s a fun design. While it’s dated now, it is a solid film with some good tension and nice set design and lighting to create a creepy mood. It could be argued that the idea is prototypical to the movie Alien as well. Of the movies I watched, this is the one I’d recommend fans checking out.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 at 5:24 pm and is filed under Movies and TV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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