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AN EXTREMELY BLOODY BAGFUL OF LOW BUDGET FLICKS

1954 rating: ***1/2
THEM: "When man entered the Atomic Age he opened a door into a new world... What we'll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict."

Well it's mighty predictable that most of the fifties science-fiction flicks have this same anti-Nukes message intact, but no matter, this is a classic battle against giant ants that, though quite dated in the effects department, are monsters to be taken seriously.

The four main characters: a stout cop, an FBI agent, a brilliant old scientist, and his gorgeous female protege spend their time not only fighting but studying the origin (nuclear related) and whereabouts of the beasts, who could very well be gangsters on the loose: The entire film is reminiscent of a crime melodrama in its investigative nature, only using action when completely necessary and without overkill.

year: 1958 rating: *
EARTH VS THE SPIDER: Characters walk into a cave. A giant superimposed spider, c/o special effects coordinator and director Bert I. Gordon, chases them out. Then more (completely uninteresting) characters walk in the same cave... And a few less walk out. Again and again, and again and again, and again and again, and again and again and you're doing the Spider shuffle... right to sleep.

This is one to miss, and that's coming from a BIG Bert I. Gordon fan. It just doesn't flow like his stuff preferred by Cult Film Freak: made in the 1970's.

year: 1958 rating: ***1/2
HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL: Russ Tamblyn is so good in this flick... so smooth and natural and villainiously awesome, it's hard to believe that he's really.... well that's for you to find out.

If you can get past a teenage girl being addicted to pot as if it were morphine, and all the other dated elements aside... including somewhat forced casting of Mamie Van Doren as our Tamblyn's sexy "aunt," which is unapologetic product placement for testosterone... Then this teen cult classic, about a confidently rebellious new kid in high school (Tamblyn), builds suspense with perfection and includes a terrific car race... And provides Russ, one of the hardest working child/teen actors of the 50's and 60's, a chance to really show his chops.

year: 1959 rating: *
THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE: Take away one scene where Lon Chaney Jr., as a loco bayou local, tries raping the main character, a woman who's sought out a rural mansion where her supposedly dead husband might be hiding out, this film, about a man who is turning into an alligator thanks to a (yet another) mad scientist, is a complete dud.

The makeup is almost as silly as the sluggish pace. Although the climactic creature is worth a few laughs. But overall this gator sinks to the bottom of the swamp, and stays there.

1958 rates: *
ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN: Waiting forty-five minutes for the "monster" to appear isn't bad. In fact, it's excellent storytelling... just ask KING KONG.

This happens in a lot of other cult flicks... and makes perfect sense in a two-hour feature. But having the beast, in this case a cheated-on/put-upon woman who grew fifty feet after being touched by a giant alien with a space ship resembling a ping pong ball, appear fifty-five minutes into a sixty-five minute film... just plain sucks. As does the script, the characters, and the effects: The titular gal, in giant form, looks like some kind of superimposed wraith. And before she goes on her five minute rampage, when they show her hand only... it seems take from a really bad paper-mache parade float. Making this truly cult film hardly a classic... probably only the great title gave it such a sublime reputation.

year: 1964 rating: *
FIRST MEN IN THE MOON: The worst Ray Harryhausen film for two reasons. First, Ray's omnipresent presence when his creatures aren't on screen, isn't there: the feeling something miraculous is right around the corner.

Second, when his creatures do arrive, they're uncreative looking ant people and one giant caterpillar, all chasing the most annoying character-trio ever: all three dolts who, in 1899, using a glue-like anti-gravity matter, fly to the moon like going to the corner store.

All this after, during the first thirty minutes, they run around spouting banal dialogue liken to a bad musical in this horrendously awful flick that even the stop-motion master himself despised.
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