Saturday, February 16, 2008

PD Project Part 4

Sci-Fi50

    Disc 4
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) runtime: 1:19:54

    The children of Mars have forgotten how to play so the Martian leader kidnaps Santa Claus and two children from Earth to bring them Christmas. Only some of the Martians don't like the idea.
    I'm not watching this again, I'm not even kidding. I've watched the MST3K version at least 1 1/2 times (fell asleep) and saw it twice on The It's Alive Show so I'm not going through that again--the messed-up bear suit, the stupid robot, the god-damned kids, Droppo, oh sweet mother of Christ, Droppo. No, I'm not watching this again.
    Classically bad cinema though that has the potential to be fun in a jaw-on-the-floor sense of horror at what you're seeing. The MST3K version has been officially released as a two-pack with Manos: the Hands of Fate which I think has surpassed Plan 9 From Outer Space as officially the worst movie ever made. The two-pack's a one-two punch of pain and a great present for people you hate.
    This film was already on the Internet Archive which means I didn't have to think about it beyond writing this little review.
    Archive.org page
    Wikipedia article
    This was episode 0321 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be purchased as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, The Essentials.

  • Teenagers From Outer Space (1959) runtime: 1:25:28

    Aliens come to Earth in hopes of using the planet to breed their Gargon herds, but one alien falls in love with humanity and rebells.
    There's not a whole lot to be said about this movie apart from it being a cheeseball classic. Apart from being a surprisingly well-shot low-budget film, it is full of cost-cutting maneuvers that just ratchet up the pathetic nature of the piece. The story is trite, poorly acted and the characters are just dumb, dumb, dumb.
    The Wikipedia article has some nice details about the movie including the fact that the director/producer/whatever-no-one-else-would-do went insane after the film tanked and declared himself the second coming of Christ, which might explain the almost non sequitur transformation of the main character into a Christ figure at the end of the film. This looks like one of those cases where the story of the film is far more interesting and compelling than the film itself could ever be.
    This film was already on the Internet Archive which means I didn't have to think about it beyond writing this little review, but there was only an avi. So I added the full DVD.
    avi Archive.org page
    DVD Archive.org page
    Wikipedia article
    This was episode 0404 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be purchased as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 6.

  • Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Crash of the Moons (1953) 1:11:57

    Rocky Jones, representative of the United Worlds, must convince the ruler of the planet Officious to evacuate her people before another planet crashes into it. She has a better idea though--blow up the other planet, whether it's been evacuated or not!
    Rocky Jones was an old Saturday morning serial TV series that ended after one season because it was "too expensive to produce." That's Hollywood for "nobody was watching." So the producers re-cut each three-episode story arc into its own film and tried re-distributing them that way. So instead of a mediocre half-hour of television, they decided to produce a mediocre hour-and-a-half of film. Thanks guys.
    Ignoring the complete ignorance of planetary physics at work in the movie, I found it wasn't so bad. Certainly not as bad as I remember it being when I saw it on MST3K. The story itself is okay and the acting is a hair better than bad, but you don't sit with any one group of characters for too long so you're not beaten over the head with their uselessness. While there's a bit of a rough start (you're just dropped into the on-going conflict between Officious and the United Worlds), the story arc is cut together pretty well and is largely self-contained. It at least feels like a complete story.
    This is still under copyright: PA0000104610/1981-06-08
    series Wikipedia article
    This was episode 0417 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be viewed on and can be viewed on YouTube (in 10 parts) or downloaded from the Digital Archive Project.

  • Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Menace From Outer Space (1953) 1:15:30

    Missiles originating from one of Jupiter's moons strike Earth and Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, is dispatched to see why.
    This is not Crash of the Moons. Every scene feels as long as a movie, the acting is awful and it's in a tight race with the plot to see which is worse. The other movie was at least less busy--one plot, just one. This one has constant b-stories and plot twists and it was only three episodes of the series! Relax, you have a whole year to write disappointing stories.
    There's a sense the writers were trying to create a world, a setting populated with sundry elements that could interact in all sorts of ways. That's to their credit, but they tried to throw all those elements together at once instead of letting them arise as necessary. Of course none of that matters if the hero's a dick. Which he is. Not as big a dick as Superman, but still a pretty big dick.
    This is still under copyright: PA0000104627/1981-06-08
    series Wikipedia article

I'll be back next time with Disc 5: All Hercules all the time! Thrill as Hercules takes a nap! Gasp as women throw themselves at him even though he's a dick! Stare in amazement at pecs, pecs and more pecs!

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