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! 


“American Conjuring” Conflicting Emotions

Greetings fellow Insomniacs! A new horror film hit the streaming and on demand services called “American Conjuring”recently. Watched it tonight and I wanted to like it, I really did.

The film follows the Harrison family as they move into their new home. Only they don’t know, the house used to he an orphanage where horrible things happened. The original owner hung herself and continues to haunt the house. A birthday party prank goes wrong, and one of the orphans kills the rest of the girls, possessed by the spirit of the dead owner. And now, the new owners begin to have their share of problems.

I was really excited starting this film. It starts a few years in past, and sets up the premise for the main part of the film well. I was almost reminded of the game of the bloody murder in the beginning of “Prom Night.” At least, in the feel of the scene. I thought the whole first half of the film was really going on all cylinders. I was wrapped up in the story. The look and feel of the scenes reminded me of some of the great and not so great lower budget 80s horror films like “Rock and Roll Nightmare”, “The Newlydeads”, and some of the Troma films. A good score and hints of the ghost haunting the place kept me interested.

But, the second half just loses steam for me fast. I felt some of the scenes didn’t follow the continuity of what the characters were dealing with in the scene before. The dad played by Darren Mattheson goes off into full George Lutz Amityville zip code. In one scene, his wife played by Lynn Csontos, is telling him that she is taking the kids and leaving. He goes full psycho, threatening her and pinning her to the wall roughly. She starts crying and cowering with the youngest daughter. In the next scene, he climbs into bed and she’s all smiles. They joke and then get down to some bedroom business.What?! He was attacking her just a short time ago! She should be as cold as ice! Then, while they are attempting to make love, ghostly stuff happens. He freaks out and finally she gets mad, throwing him out onto the couch for the night! You think? And then in the next scene, it is the following morning. The dad comes into the kitchen. She smiles and offers him breakfast! It was these kind of discrepencies that ruined some of the film for me.

The acting was decent. Csontos was the best of the cast. This, I believe, is her first full length role and hope to see more of her work in the future. Mackenzie Mowat has the angst teen daughter down and Eliza Faira creeped me out as the younger daughter. This is a good thing! Harrison seemed somewhat stiff in delivery of the lines. This may be what the director wanted thoughnas he fell under the spell of the ghost.

Speaking of the ghost, Matt Lutz did a great job with the make-up for her. It had a very Rich Baker feel and I am a huge fan of practical effects over CGI. All the effects and tricks were a pleasant treat and added to the appeal for.

The screenplay by Ken King from a story by Dan Walton is intriguing. It has a lot of good beats to it among some questionable scenes. I did like the ending the Directors, Walton and Dan Zachary came up with. Nice out of left file that made me smile in a good horror movie way.

So, that’s what I think of “American Conjuring”. If you get a chance to see it, let us know what you think. Until next time, we’ll see you around the drive-in. 



Twitter: @InsomniacDI