The Monster at the Insomniac Drive-In!


Greetings fellow Insomniacs! We actually have two monsters at the drive-in this time around. One seen and the other not! Let’s delve into our two films.

First up from 1953, The Magnetic Monster. This independent film was released by United Artists. It was a tough film to watch as a monster kid and again as an adult. The monster in this film is a microscopic radioactive isotope. Yep… No actually monster to watch in this one. It is growing and is magnetized. As it grows, it will weigh down the Earth’s rotation, and that’s a bad thing. There’s some good acting from Richard Carlson, King Donovan, and Jean Byron. This movie just didn’t do much for me. The exciting parts come towards the end as they try to stop it using the Deltatron. And that footage is actually from an early German thriller from the 1930s called, Gold. It was good to watch in the context of Creature Double Feature but, may not be too rewatchable  for me.

The second feature is one of my favorite 50s monster flicks. The Monster That Challenged The World is great drive-in, popcorn fun! It was shot in just 16 days for $200,000 and released in 1957, also by United Artists. Giant mollusks are released from an underground earthquake in the Salton Sea. Tim Holt and Audrey Dalton star. We get missing swimmers, Parachuter’s, and Navy men. These mollusks are hungry! The design for these creatures were so scary! And just so cool. When they raise from the sea and smash through the lab, you would be screaming in terror! I always thought the title was a little misleading, as they really just become a nuisance for the naval base. I guess they would be the first line of defense. This movie has held up well, and in this age of remakes, I wonder where all the 50s sci-fi ones are. The pacing of the film gets into it pretty quickly and the usual cool score is in place.

Two very different movies. One trying to take the genre more serious and the other, having a lot of fun for the popcorn crowd. Definitely track down the second before the first one to watch.

No Roku channel to shared this time around. I plan to catch up with another article tomorrow, and will spotlight one there.

Thanks for taking some time to read and we’ll talk soon! 

Creature Double Feature, Prehistoric Planets, and Roku!

The first two movies aired were Journey to the Prehistoric  planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. I did not remember them from my youth. Watching them in those early days without the internet may have confused some kids, because they were basically the same movie! Let me explain…

Greetings fellow insomniacs! Nice to talk with you again. We are into our second year of the drive-in. We’re reaching folks on Facebook and Twitter, and having a ball in the process. It’s been  fun talking to you all about these films.

Growing up, my exposure to horror and sci-fi films owes a lot to Creature Double Feature. It aired for several years on WLVI out of Boston for several years starting in 1976. I’m sure the movie package was much like those seen in your market. Toho, Hammer, and the Universal monsters brightened up Saturday afternoons.

I recently found the list compiled by Timothy Kenyon (look it up online!) and decided for our second and third years, we would revisit the list on a weekly basis. Time to pay homage to the beginnings!

The first two movies aired were Journey to the Prehistoric  planet and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. I did not remember them from my youth. Watching them in those early days without the internet may have confused some kids, because they were basically the same movie! Let me explain…

In 1962, there was a soviet science fiction film called Planeta Blur. B movie legend Roger Corman bought the rights to the film, and in 1965 released the film as Journey. He added some new filmed scenes with Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue. Incidentally, these scenes were shot at the same time Corman was making Queen of Blood, even using thee same sets! The first film is a lot of fun. Soviet astronauts crash on Venus and another group set down to find them. This truly is a prehistoric planet occupied by all kinds of dino monsters! The effects aren’t bad for the early 60s, and quite tame for the children to watch. Some of the dubbed dialogue is quite flat in it’s delivery. Some of the excitement of a Godzilla dub is missing. But, there are some really good shot scenes. And there is a robot! His name is…John? I was expecting something sci- fi and got John. I guess they were trying to humanize him some. One of the characters named Andre is haunted by a mysterious sounding siren call the whole movie. But we never see these females. This leads into the next film!

 Voyage was released about three years later, and honestly, it was tough watching it so close to the first film. It is basically the same film with a few different scenes. We get a new narrative from Andre telling the whole 90 minute story of the first film in about 70 minutes. The other 20 are filled with some new scenes of the Prehistoric Woman led by Mamie Van Doren. It seems they worship this Pterodactyl monster that is killed by our astronauts. Who or what will they worship now? And that is basically that movie!

Both are easy to track down. I believe both are in the public domain. I would recommend for curiosity viewing but not back to back! Maybe a  monster kid in 1976 would have thought differently.

And if you are reading this because you are a Creature Double Feature fan, they are going to have a convention-like event this September in Attleboro, MA. You can find more info at http://www.cdfroundup.org I know I am looking forward to it!

I recently discovered Roku and it is amazing for horror and sci-fi fans. Thought I would shine the light each week on a channel I have checked out. Roku attaches to your TV as a stick and works off your WiFi giving you so many streaming choices! This time around I want to give a shout to B-Movies TV. This channel is great! It’s a live 24 hour streaming channel featuring martial arts, horror, sci-fi, action and other great exploitation films. Zombie Robb’s Metal Music Show is something to behold, as is The Forbidden Zone with Elizabeth Ashton. It’s great watch anytime of the day for cult films! Great selection.

So, that’s all for now. Next week, we have a pair of early zombie films for review! Can’t wait. So until next time, you keep coming to the drive-in and we’ll keep spooling up the reviews!