Saturday, 26 March 2011


A few months ago, I watched a series of DTV movies (and reviewed them all in this blog) which used the titles of some of Arkoff's old schlock-horrors from the 50's. Here is a double-backed DVD of two of the originals. Both are, of course, black and white cheapies but even now they aren't without their charms.

The Day The World Ended was directed by Roger Corman and it probably took him a week and if you know anything about how fast he worked that's quite slow for him. Limited sets of course: house exterior, house interior, mist shrouded outdoor scenes, and a couple near a waterfall and pool, plus some trees.

Right, it's the end of the world, as you might have guessed from the title, and a mismatched bunch stumble into a small valley, protected by lead-bearing hills and winds which keep the radioactivity away, where lives a middle aged bloke who's prepared for it all and his nubile daughter. Arriving uninvited and unwanted are: our noble hero with mutating radioactive man on his back, a wiseguy on his way to L.A. with his sassy moll just a little past her prime, and lastly a kindly prospector and his burro (donkey to you). They may be the last people in the world and food is limited.

Not to worry, radioactive man is soon up and about munching on the local radioactive wildlife and trying to avoid that mutated thing with horns, three eyes, and claws. You knew that already, didn't you? Okay, so the wiseguy fancies the daughter and wants to take over which means he gets knocked down a few times by the noble hero. There are arguments and more friendly interactions. Dad wants daughter to marry the noble hero and have lots of kids and, hey, as an ex-ship's captain he can even marry them. The ex-stripper wiseguy's moll hangs around dancing to quaint music, smoking, and showing off her moves and trying to convince the wiseguy that she's still the girl for her. Resources get short, the mutation (there are others but the budget only ran to one guy in a monster suit) starts getting active on the munchies front and some mild mayhem ensues until only Dad, daughter, and noble hero are left but, finally the radio catches someone else broadcasting so daughter and hero set out to find new friends in this brave new world.

But don't let that put you off as no matter how dated and creaky it is, it's also rather fun. The presentation is wide-screen, the image is reasonable quality, and there are closed captions for them (me) that needs them.

Now one of the fun things about The She-Creature is that the noble scientist-hero believes the villain (who claims he can get his assistant to relive past lives and even bring the She-Creature she used to be a million years ago back to life) is a con-artist. Guess what? The noble-scientist hero is dead wrong. The villain can do everything he says. Then again, there wouldn't be much of a film if he couldn't.

Another movie with fairly limited sets, this one directed by efficient hack Lou Rusoff. Lots of beach scenes, lots scenes in and around a posh house owned by a rich publisher whose daughter fancies the noble scientist-hero but who becomes more interested in the villain's beautiful assistant who, in thrall to the villain, can't escape him. The villain predicts horrible murders by you know what which come true. Local cop (Ron Randell just before his period of late50's-60's fame) knows he's guilty but can't prove it. The rich publisher sees the chance to make millions off the villain and they enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement for a time. Eventually the predictable happens, She-Creature goes on the rampage and the noble scientist hero and the beautiful assistant live happily ever after.

This one is full screen but still with closed captions and again is quite a reasonable print. The She-Creature is quite striking, covered in what looks like the shells of dead turtles (including big breast plates so we know that the She-Creature is definitely a she and must have been an interesting addition to the stunt man's CV). Again, it's creaky but fun and only 77 minutes long which is just enough.

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