Saturday, March 15, 2008

PD Project Part 12

Sci-Fi50

    Disc 12
  • Colossus and the Amazon Queen (1960) runtime: 1:23:32

    Glauco and his friend Pirro find themselves on the island of the Amazons during a dispute over the succession of the throne. They'll need all their wits and the help of their friends to escape with their lives.
    This is just bizarre. A movie about Amazons from 1960 is going to be strange by definition, but this is even weirder. I'm not wholly sure what's going on a lot of the time. Characters make references to lines and scenes that aren't in the film. It's not clear if those moments were cut due to bad editing or if it's just a matter of poor translation.
    Also, despite the Amazons, or maybe because of them, this movie is way campier and much more homoerotic than the Hercules movies. That's not to say it's not without it's charm though. The film, or at least the translation, seems to revel in the campiness and the goofiness it affords. You get the impression a lot of the shots were cut just before everyone started cracking up. While there is a juvenile sensibility to the film that grows wearisome, it's that same sensibility that lends it a certain innocence. There's a hint of an eyebrow-raised snarkiness throughout, as though the movie's making fun of itself and inviting you in on the joke. It's nice sometimes to see something that's just goofy fun.
    Archive.org Page.

  • Eegah! (1962)

    A caveman is discovered in the desert and kidnaps a young woman.
    Another one of those movies I didn't watch again. Not only had I seen it on MST3K, I'd also seen it on The It's Alive Show. It's just a purely incompetent movie. Nothing's done right which makes it much creepier and funnier than the producers ever intended it to be.
    I'm in the process of uploading this film to the Internet Archive.
    Wikipedia article
    This was episode 0506 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be purchased on its own: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Eegah!

  • Cosmos: War of the Planets (1978) runtime: 1:28:53

    A spaceship makes an emergency landing on a planet after intercepting a mysterious signal only to find the planet ruled by a robotic monster.
    The movie is trying to be a high-tech John Henry tale. The hero, Capt. Hamilton, resents having his life and actions dictated by machines. He thinks humans are innately and eternally superior. However the world his lives in is governed by a supercomputer and every act, even sex, is performed via machine. Think Woody Allen's Sleeper but in earnest.
    So naturally the planet they land on used to be home to a great civilization that eventually let robots do everything for them--including designing and building new robots. Robots revolted, destroyed the society and now have their eyes on Earth.
    Overall not a bad idea--hell, it was great in 2001--but it's so poorly done. The movie drags along, beats you over the head with its at best muddy anti-technology ideology (how do we travel to space without it?) and, like the malevolent computer intelligence, refuses to die. The amazing thing is there are some remarkably rough jump cuts in the film. The original version may have been longer. Yikes.
    Archive.org page
    AVI Archive.org page
    Wikipedia article

  • Destroy All Planets (1969) runtime: 1:29:47

    An alien race comes to Earth and tries to seize control fo Gamera to acheive their conquest.
    At what point did every Gamera movie just become a montage of previous Gamera movies? This one opens with Gamera destroying the alien spaceship, then there are two annoying kids being pricks (always with the goddamn kids in these Gamera films) and finally the aliens trap Gamera in some ray and read his mind searching for weaknesses. Of course this takes the form of a replay of his two previous adventures which eats up a good twenty minutes of screen time.
    So the aliens kidnap the two kids and use them as hostages to force Gamera to take the mind-control probe. Later, while Gmaera is destroying Tokyo (not new footage by the way. Old footage from the first Gamera movie--the black and white Gamera movie), the aliens demand the Earth surrender or they'll kill the two kids. So the world agrees to surrender rather than let the boys get hurt. Two boys. While Tokyo is being leveled and other cities are sure to follow. Even little kids wouldn't swallow that crap.
    Of course Gamera overcomes the aliens with the help of the goddamn kids who then proceed to shout Gamera's name over and over again as he faces down the aliens' final assault--a giant squid with a pointy head. Just as the beast stabs Gamera again and again with its head, so too do the voices of those children feel like a knife forever leaping into and out of my ears. A fitting way to end the Sci-Fi box--ninety minutes of unwatchable crap that finds ever-new ways to fail to meet my already lowered expectations. Well done movie. Well done.
    Archive.org page.
    Wikipedia article

That's it folks! That's the end of the Sci-Fi 50 Movie Mega Pack. Next time I'll have all the additional films added to the Internet Archive and a nice handy-dandy list of all 50 films with links to those that are free. Then I'll start on the Horror 50 Pack. Ugh.

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