Saturday, February 09, 2008

PD Project Part 2

Sci-Fi50

    Disc 2
  • Horrors of Spider Island (1962) runtime: 1:14:42

    A dance troupe's plane crashes en route to Singapore and the survivors end up stranded on a deserted island. The troupe's leader gets bitten by a mutated spider and turns into a monster. Now the troupe must survive the threat of their former boss until help can arrive.
    Designed for the titillation of twelve-year-old boys everywhere, the film spends most of its time on scantily clad girls dancing, fighting or changing their clothes. There's not much to say that MST3K hasn't said already. Really a nice example of a film where the heroes don't do a damn thing. In fact the monster is defeated by the island itself.
    I had already uploaded this film to the Internet Archive which means I didn't have to think about it beyond writing this little review. Yay me.
    Archive.org page
    Wikipedia article
    This was episode 1011 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be purchased as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 11.

  • The Wasp Woman (1960) runtime: 1:13:00

    The aging head of a beauty company sees her profits and power declining along with her beauty. She tries an experimental rejuvenation serum that makes her young by day but a ravenous wasp-monster by night.
    Roger Corman! Whoooo-Hoo! A not-bad little flick that I first saw on The It's Alive Show (coincidentally the very episode they're re-running right now). It has the standard pulp-sci-fi obsession with pulled-out-of-my-ass scientific explanations, but that's the charm of these movies. Of greater note is the somewhat feminist-edge the movie has. The woman not only owns the company, she made it what it is. She's not some evil, ambitious stereotype, she's a smart businessperson who beat the competition. Which makes her board's rebellion against her because of her looks seem that much more insulting. Even though she turns into a monster, she's not an unsympathetic character. In fact, I kind of wanted her to win.
    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

  • Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) 1:13:46

    An expedition to Venus is beset by a series of tragedies. A rescue party is dispatched to save the first group of explorers who landed on the planet.
    This one hurt folks, it really hurt. There is a lot of good--some nice pictures in the opening credit sequence and really nice creature designs--but nothing happens in the movie. It's just long scenes of characters traveling from point to point occasionally interspersed with nice visuals.
    One of the problems with the film is that it's a Russian film that's been dubbed, re-cut and had new footage spliced in. It doesn't look like they tried too hard to impose a new story, but wow does that new footage stand out. Dubbed, not dubbed, dubbed, not dubbed. Plus the new footage doesn't add anything to the story. It literally introduces a plot point that, oops, never mind, isn't going to be followed. Genius.
    To the film's credit, there is a robot, though the robot is treated so poorly that I couldn't help but think of Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This film could easily have been titled Russian Robot Gets the Shaft.
    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

  • Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1967) 1:19:34

    An expedition to Venus is beset by a series of tragedies. A rescue party is dispatched to save the first group of explorers who landed on the planet.
    If that description sounds familiar, it should. This was the exact same movie only with a new set of new footage spliced in. The old new footage was gone, replaced with long, pointless voice-overs. They didn't even re-dub the film so when the characters talk about "Marsha," a woman piloting one of the ships in the additional footage for the first film, the voice-over tells us that "Marsha" is actually the code name for the project or the base or something. If the first film hurt, this was pouring salt in the wound. It was more than just same again, it was same again with a side of stupid. Sets a whole new standard for films that didn't need to be made.
    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

I'll be back next time with Disc 3: four more films, two about gorillas and two about a giant flying turtle. Sadly only one of the four is PD.

No comments: