🚀 Keep Watching the Skies! Science Fiction Cinema of the 1950s: The Year is 1954


Find previous editions of Keep Watching the Skies! Science Fiction Cinema of the 1950s here: 1950, 1951, 1952,1953


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea




A visual masterpiece directed by Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green 1971) and a screenplay by Earl Felton, who chose to weed out the extremely detailed and descriptive novel by Jules Verne and create a fast-paced visual fantasy that became this fabulous adventure. The film is scored by Paul J. Smith (The Parent Trap 1961) whose splendid music creates a world of majesty surrounding the sets with wonderfully colorful and inventive art direction by John Meehan, (The Strange Love of Martha Ivers 1946, The Heiress 1949, Sunset Blvd 1950, Studio 57 1955-58, M Squad 1957 -58 Boris Karloff’s THRILLER-ep.A Wig for Miss Devore 1962), production design & un-credited art direction by Harper Goff (Fantastic Voyage 1966, Willy Wonker & The Chocolate Factory 1971 also un-credited set design on A Midsummer’s Night Dream 1935,The Life of Emile Zola 1937, Sergeant York 1941, Casablanca 1942) and set direction by Emile Kuri (It’s a Wonderful Life 1946, The Paradine Case 1947, Rope 1948, The Heiress 1949, Dark City 1950, A Place in the Sun 1951, Detective Story 1951, War of the Worlds 1953, The Actress 1953, Shane 1953) brought the enigmatic ship to life as almost creature-like, flaunting interiors that are lavish with gadgets that flirt with scientific-industrious designs of the future!

The film stars Kirk Douglas as Ned Land and James Mason as Captain Nemo. Co-stars Paul Lukas as Prof. Pierre Aronnax, Peter Lorre as Conseil, Robert J. Wilke as first Mate of the Nautilus, Ted de Corsia as Capt. Farragut, Carlton Young as John Howard, J.M Kerrigan as Old Billy, and Percy Helton as the coach driver. 20,000 Leagues helped Peter Lorre step out of his sinister-mystery roles and add great comedic versatility as a character actor to his full career.

20,000 Leagues under the sea

"20000 Leagues Under the Sea" Kirk Douglas 1954 Walt Disney Productions ** I.V.
“20000 Leagues Under the Sea”
Kirk Douglas
1954 Walt Disney Productions


Walt Disney began to depart from the expensive endeavor of producing animated features and started to experiment with live-action films. Disney became aware of George Pal’s desire to persuade Paramount to allow him to produce Verne’s beloved novel initially utilizing a screenplay by Kurt Neumann. Disney got George Pal to relinquish the rights and took over the project, hiring Richard Fleischer (Follow Me Quietly 1949, The Narrow Margin 1952, Compulsion 1959, Fantastic Voyage 1966, The Boston Strangler 1968, Tora! Tora! Tora! 1970, 10 Rillington Place 1971, See No Evil 1971, The New Centurions 1972, Soylent Green 1973), to direct, and Neumann’s script was out.  It’s no wonder Fleischer was tapped to do more fantasy science fiction films, though his psychological thrillers/documentary-style crime films are outstanding contributions.

Adapted from Jules Verne’s fabulous adventure the action takes place in the 19th century – where sailors told tall tales of giant sea creatures that wrecked and devoured sailing ships and the oceans held deep unknowing secrets as unfathomable as the heavens above. The legend of a strange horned sea monster has been wreaking havoc with sailing vessels in the South Pacific. Professor Pierre Arronax (Paul Lukas) and his sidekick Conseil (Peter Lorre) join an American expedition that includes crooning whale hunter Ned Land (Kirk Douglas) in search of this calamitous sea creature. The trio is confronted by the beast and is swept overboard then taken prisoner by the mysterious Captain Nemo (James Mason) whose drill-ornamented submarine ‘the Nautilus’ turns out to be the sea monster of legend.

Nemo turns out to be a fanatic who’s dark mission is total destruction of all the warships responsible for the evils of mankind. There’s a memorable underwater hand-to-tentacle fight with a giant squid!

Capt. Nemo: Think of it. On the surface there is hunger and fear. Men still exercise unjust laws. They fight, tear one another to pieces. A mere few feet beneath the waves their reign ceases, their evil drowns. Here on the ocean floor is the only independence. Here I am free! Imagine what would happen if they controlled machines such as this submarine boat. Far better that they think there’s a monster and hunt me with harpoons.

Captain Nemo: “The natives over there are cannibals. They eat liars with the same enthusiasm as they eat honest men.”

Ned Land: There’s one thing you ought to know, Professor: Nemo’s cracked. I’ve yet to see the day you can make a deal with a mad dog. So while you’re feeding him sugar, I’ll be figuring a plan to muzzle him.

IMDb Trivia: Actors portraying the cannibals chasing Ned Land painted humorous messages on their foreheads (not legible on-screen). In particular, one actor wrote “Eat at Joe’s” while another actor behind him wrote “I ate Joe”.

The climactic squid battle on the Nautilus was originally shot with a serene sunset and a calm sea. Director Richard Fleischer was troubled by the look of it because the cams and gears that operated the squid could easily be seen, making it look obviously fake. Walt Disney visited the set one day and Fleischer told him about the problem. Disney came up with the idea of having the squid battle take place during a fierce storm (another story is that it was actually screenwriter Earl Felton who came up with the idea). The scene was reshot that way and is considered by many to be the highlight of the film.

One of the models of the Nautilus created by Harper Goff was a “squeezed” version which could be filmed with a standard lens and still look normal when projected in Cinemascope.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon poster


Clawing Monster From A Lost Age strikes from the Amazon’s forbidden depths!–Creature from a million years ago!… every man his mortal enemy… and a woman’s beauty his prey!–From the Amazon’s forbidden depths came the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Julia and the Gill Man

Creature From the Black Lagoon showcases Universal’s iconic Gill Man directed by science fiction & noir icon Jack Arnold. (The Glass Web 1953, It Came from Outer Space 1953, Tarantula 1955, The Incredible Shrinking Man 1957, Man in the Shadow 1957, The Tattered Dress 1957) Stars Richard Carlson as Dr. David Reed, Julie Adams as Kay Lawrence, Richard Denning as Mark Williams, Antonio Moreno as Carl Maia, Nestor Paiva as Lucas, and Whit Bissell as Dr. Edwin Thompson.

The Creature or Gill Man is one of the most famous monsters that has endured, and perhaps one of the most emblematic figures of 1950s science fiction. His suit was designed by Bud Westmore and a team of uncredited designers. As Tom Weaver points out the creature suit “is so logical in design that designers of other underwater monsters have to be very careful not too obviously to imitate the monster they are imitating”  Visionary Master Guillermo del Toro’s team of designers and special effects artists did an outrageous job of paying homage to the Gil Man while still maintaining an original, and arresting modern edge to the Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water (2017) The Gill Man still remains the most iconic monster of the 1950s

Creature From The Black Lagoon was also adapted to be shown in 3D! It was after Universal had a hit with Jack Arnold’s It Came From Outer Space in 1953 that they saw the potential for box office success with a science fiction film especially one they could easily adapt to 3D format.

Producer William Alland –(according to writer/historian Tom Weaver)– had heard of a legendary half -man half-fish creature who lived in the upper regions of the Amazon. The Creature suit was extremely form-fitting, too tight to be worn over aquatic breathing equipment. The swimmer would have to hold his breath for extended periods of time. Ben Chapman played the part out of the water wearing ‘the land suit’ modeled with paint (a dark silvery green and red highlights) by Millicent Patrick– Chapman not being a good enough swimmer. Ricou Browning wore the underwater suit which was lighter is color in order to make it stand out in the darker underwater scenes. Because he was able to hold his breath for five minutes, Browning was responsible for the stunning underwater scenes.

“Jack Arnold, started adding fins and gills to a sketch of the Motion Picture Academy’s Oscar statuette, and arrived at the basic look of the new monster. Arnold and Alland did play their originating the design , but actress and artist Millicent Patrick was chiefly responsible for the look of the Gill-Man. At the make up shop, Chris Mueller developed a bust of the Creature using one of Ann Sheridan as the basis. Also contributing to the design were Jack Kevan and Westmore himself, head of the make up division.”

Both Browning and Chapman had full body molds made, so that suit would fit their bodies perfectly. “The result is a remarkably convincing monster, which looks like a suit almost solely because it has to be a suit (…) a tendency fir the suits to look a little rubbery around the joints, The Gill Man is life-like, enough so as to engender a happy suspension of disbelief by most viewers, as the film proved enormously popular.”


Lucas:-There are many strange legends in the Amazon. Even I, Lucas, have heard the legend of a man-fish.”


We can sympathize with monsters, like Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s undead creation, & The Gill Man from Creature From the Black Lagoon. We can find our involvement (at least I can), as one viewed with empathy toward the monster’s predicament. Embedded in the narrative is a simultaneous pathos, that permits these monsters to express human desires, and then make sure that those desires are thwarted, frustrated, and ultimately destroyed.

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Richard Carlson Julie Adams Richard Denning and Whit Bissell and Dr. Edward Thompson study the fossil of an amphibian man found near the Amazon.
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The crew catches something in their net… and whatever it was… has ripped a giant Gill Man size hole in it leaving behind a claw!




Mr. ‘It’s mine all mine” and Kay and Mr. “But think of the contribution to science!” looking at the poor trapped Gill Man-a lonely prisoner of scientific hubris and egocentric men.
The creature trapped in a bamboo cage… floats, quietly thinking deep thoughts–while the three look on pondering what to do with him.

‘The Outsider Narrative” of 1950s science fiction can be seen so clearly in Jack Arnold’s horror/sci-fi hybrid Creature From The Black Lagoon. Film monsters like The Gill Man form vivid memories for us, as they become icons laying the groundwork for the classic experience of good horror, sci-fi, and fantasy with memorable storytelling and anti-heroes that we ‘outliers’ grew to identify with and feel a fondness for.

As David Skal points out in The Monster Show, he poses that films like Creature From the Black Lagoon …are the “most vivid formative memories of a large section of the {American} population…{…} and that for so many of these narratives they seem to function as “mass cultural rituals.”



Creature From The Black Lagoon is quite a perfect film, as it works on so many different levels of examining human nature and nature as human.


Creature From the Black Lagoon illustrates the classic theme of the triangle between David Reed (Richard Carlson) who is the thoughtful reflexive intellectual, and Mark Williams (Richard Denning) the hot-headed aggressive male. And in the middle is The Gill Man who creates an ethical conflict between the two scientists over what should be done with the creature. Mark wants to acquire him by any means possible, killing him would be the most expeditious, but David wants to either capture him as a specimen to study or leave him where he belongs –in the Black Lagoon.

Also in the midst of the two men posturing is Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams) who winds up being the object of the creature’s desire.

“Because a prehistoric monster-the Creature is an anachronism –is the central figure in the picture, the object of contention between the two men and a figure which itself desires the woman, the movie probably unintentionally takes on mythic overtones.” –Tom Weaver

The film opens with the discovery of a fossilized webbed hand in the upper regions of the Amazon that the natives stay away from, which spurs an expedition to recover the remaining part of the fossil. The lagoon is the dominion of the Creature– the ancestor of the fossil and has already killed two men who were guarding the excavation led by Mark Williams and David Reed with Kay Lawrence, David’s fiancée along for the trip. Once they arrive with their little craft, Kay decides to take a swim, and as she performs her water ballet, she catches the eye of the Creature who like a voyeur watches from below reaching out to barely graze her delicate foot that dangles within his webbed claw grasp.

The Creature makes his presence known and they drug The Gill Man and they try to hold him captive in a tank on the craft but he escapes, after he attacks and injures one of the other scientists Dr.Thompson (Whit Bissell) Mark still wants to stay and fight but David convinces the captain (Nestor Paiva) to leave the lagoon, but The Gill Man makes it impossible for the expedition to leave by jamming a tree as an obstacle in the exit. The two men have to dive to get the boat loose, but The Gill Man attacks and kills Mark, dragging him away. David tries to set up a drug-tipped spear gun that will knock the Creature out allowing them enough time to free themselves from the barricade but the Gill Man enraged, climbs up on the boat and steals Kay away down into the lagoon. David follows in pursuit re-discovering all sorts of little caves and grottoes that he and Mark had found when they had drugged the Gill Man and followed his trail before. David finds Kay lying swathed on an altar-type rock the centerpiece in the hazy grotto like a Maxfield Parrish painting. Suddenly the Gill Man rises up out of a pool and confronts David, heaving him over his head until the rest of the expedition shows up and shoots the Gill Man, who stumbles back into the dark waters of the lagoon -deeper down, unseen.

These belligerent scientists and their relentless pursuit of expanding control over the natural world invade a unique creature’s habitat, forcing their domination on him- naturally, he’s compelled to fight back.

In the midst of this evolves a sort of skewed Romeo and Juliet. The Gill Man never intends to threaten Julie Adam’s character Kay Lawrence, he seemingly wants to make her his love object and maybe just maybe (idealizing of course while I imbue the ‘creature’ with a higher consciousness) the Gill Man seeks to free Kay from the dangerous men she is surrounded by. An amphibious knight in scaly armor, a rugged green scaly Adonis with limpid eyes and full lips. The Gill Man is mesmerized by the beauty, transformed from being a menace, he becomes bewitched by love.

The arrival of the expedition creates chaos and swampy mayhem due to the intrusion of the two opportunistic men who tote phallic harpoons around, quarrel and fight with each other over questions of ethics, how to conduct scientific research, and naturally who will conquer Kay– acting like spoiled children-the both. Only the Gill Man sees her beauty from a place of primal hunger- he desires and worships her above all else, perhaps with a innate sense of possessing her, but without all the cocky male posturing.






In trying to capture the amphibian man he is driven out of his home in the mysterious upper Amazon by these otherizing anthropologists. And so the Gill Man–being shot at by spears and besieged by sweaty men in bourgeois khakis and unfashionable swim trunks blech! –must defend his realm.

He who is just lazing around, dreaming through the sun’s rays which sparkle upon the surface of the water among the little fishes and coral… bothering no one. Suddenly surrounded by intruders with weapons and nets, poison, and cages.

But wait, one of them is leggy and soft and looks divine in her one-piece bathing suit designed by Rosemary Odell... (Brute Force 1947, It Came from Outer Space 1953, This Island Earth 1955, To Kill a Mockingbird 1962) and what a pair of eyes!

The Gill Man goes on a mission to get the girl and so endures his attackers because he has fallen for the simple beauty of Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams.)

Though his world has become disordered, the presence of the beautiful Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams) has awakened his sexual desire.

The film’s stars Richard Carlson as David Reed and Richard Denning as Mark Williams are ideal as the two men who invade The Gill Man’s quiet life and argue about what should be done with the subject of their research findings, to exploit, or study, or bring back to the states to gain notoriety and get paid lots of clams!, without an ethical thought in their curly scientific brains, forcing themselves on the Creature and making him an object of entrapment & exhibition.


The Gill Man watches from below the surface, as Kay Lawrence casually smokes a cigarette, taking long sensual puffs and throwing the butts upon the lagoon like trinkets for him to delight in. He feels compelled to reach out to her but decides to be a voyeur for a bit longer.

Later the Gill Man sees Kay on the beach, the camera catches a notable deep sigh when he lays those deep green eyes on her. He moves closer. She lets out the obligatory monster movie scream queen shriek, that siren squeal, you know the kind, with the carefully place hands cupping her face in shock.

One of the men from the expedition takes a machete and tries to attack the creature, and he gets killed for his efforts. Dave and Mark hear Kay scream and approach just in time for the knock-out powder they’ve placed in the lagoon to finally take effect and subdue the Creature who is now out cold. He falls flat on his green gilled face down in the sand.







David (Carlson) has to intervene before Mark (Denning) bashes the creature’s head in “Stop you’ll kill him!…”


Once Mark Williams (Denning) sees that the Gill Man has fallen down, he says “Got him!” then begins brutally smashing at him with his rifle, until David (Carlson) tells him to stop before he kills him. They throw a net over the unconscious Creature. The scene shows the level of ferocity that man is capable of, and with this violent over-kill we on the other end of the evolutionary scale become monsters as well. It is a not-so-subtle contrast with the main character who is considered the ‘Creature.’

Ricou Browning portrayed the creature in the underwater scenes, and Ben Chapman played the creature on land. There’s wonderfully engaging cinematography by William E. Snyder. (Flying Leathernecks 1951, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt 1956)

The Gill Man has dwelt in the warm existential depths of the water… the lagoon his endless cycle of existence, thriving until he is invaded by scientific hubris. While in the lagoon he is connected to the creator of his world, remaining bound to a body of water that is symbolic of the eternal maternal womb. He is then forced out of his quiet habitual life where he then becomes ‘otherized’. With an ‘Outsider’ narrative the familiar then becomes monstrous.

Our perceptions are focused on how this ‘creature’ shatters the mold of normalcy. He transforms the ordinary world into something provocative and forces the outside world to define him, once again as with Frankenstein’s monster, he is perceived as a thing… a creature.


A film like Creature from the Black Lagoon can suggest to us the recognition of our notions of conventional sexuality and gender as well. The Gill Man is similar to a frog yet walks upright and has the stance of a man and possesses that archetypal ogling that shows he has sexual designs on our heroine Kay.

Kay Lawrence: “And I thought the Mississippi was something.”

While he is placed in a role that sees Kay as the ‘object’ of his affection, he’s sort of an androgynous amphibian, and yet he suggests that  “alternatives can exist which may be more desirable”-Mark Jancovich Rational Fears American Horror in the 1950s. Jancovich goes on to say that the film is “unremittingly sexual” The film has sexual symbolism throughout, as the outside world intrudes on an ambiguous sexual being living in the womb of the water, now unleashed as a sexual peril to women. The water scenes between the water ballet swimming Kay unaware that the creature is also swimming very near to her–are absolutely visual foreplay.



Under the water the creature is not a threat to Kay, he’s almost shy, as he barely touches her leg, he swims away as if he’s conflicted with uncertainty about this new experience. William E Snyder is responsible for the striking underwater footage, that creates an erotic spacial world of shimmering light.

It’s almost a type of Eden, that those pesky aggressive scientific males spoil…


John Baxter-“a stylized representation of sexual intercourse.”

We know that the creature shows a fascination toward Kay, but she sort of shares a kind of bond with him, as both are threatened by the domination of the two male scientists Mark and David. She tells the men to leave the creature alone, that it won’t bother them. Mark wants to capture the creature as proof of his discovery, rather than just study him in his own habitat. Mark also wants to possess Kay, both of them are treated as ‘objects’. There are several scenes where Kay and the creature stare at each other as if they see something in common within themselves. Harry Essex wrote the screenplay, but hated the script at first so he added the Beauty and the Beast theme, to give the creature more of a sense of humanity.

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The Creature from the Black Lagoon is relentlessly sexual. Inhabited by mostly male characters, scientists have traveled to the deep Amazon in search of undiscovered animal life. What they find instead of more fossils is the Gill Man who refuses to give up his freedom. And why shouldn’t the creature react violently to their intrusion into his quiet domain? What’s more interesting is how he quickly becomes attracted to the gorgeous Julie Adams and her gutsy character Kay, the only female on the expedition who once again looks smashing in a one-piece white bathing suit and swims like she’s in the water follies. Jancovich quotes Biskind from his Seeing is Believing – claiming that the creature is “driven into a frenzy by the proximity of Julie Adams in a one-piece bathing suit.” That sounds about right to me!

The Gill Man evokes our sympathy who has become an ‘object’ to be controlled, dominated, and assaulted by the outside world. It’s the ‘men doing science’ who become the ‘aliens’ the bad guys, the human monsters, and the Creature another existential anti-hero who we identify with. It’s just a different slant on the theme of unrequited love in the lagoon…

For people who poke fun at del Toro’s The Shape of Water (2017) the film where a woman fucks a fish, I say ‘Get over it and grow up’ It’s a lot more than that. The director has taken homage to the classic monster movie of the 1950s and explores more graphically and with stark reasoning the romantic relationship between two souls living outside of society, who find each other by fate’s webbed hand.


Devil Girl from Mars


Invasion from Outer Space!…Sights too weird to imagine! Destruction too monstrous to escape!

Directed by David MacDonald. Stars Patricia Laffan as Nyah the outre serious leather-clad alien, Hugh McDermott as Michael Carter, Hazel Court as Ellen Prestwick, Peter Reynolds as Robert Justin alias Robert Simpson, Adrienne Cori as Doris, Joseph Tomelty as Prof. Arnold Hennessey, John Laurie as Mr. Jamieson, Sophie Stewart as Mrs. Jamieson.

Nyah the Devil Girl comes sporting a ray gun or atomizing pistol, accompanied by a minatory robot named Chani exploring the Earth in search of men to be used for breeding on Mars and save her planet’s civilization from extinction.

Let’s give you a little bit of the ehhrm plot yeah that’s what it’s got a plot… (insert my delightful little titter) Albert (Peter Reynolds) is an escaped murderer feeling the police, he hides out at a small Inn in the remote Scottish Highlands. There he is aided by the barmaid Doris (Adrienne Corri) his ex-girlfriend. Staying at the Inn is Michael Carter (Hugh McDermott) a newspaperman, a maudlin model Ellen Prestwick (Hazel Court), and Professor Hennessey (Joseph Tomelty). While the usual melodrama unfolds amidst the guests, a spaceship lands inhabited by an austere female alien Nyah (Patricia Laffan) wearing a cape and a skintight leather ensemble. When Nyah lands it knocks out all the phones and the motor cars. She tells everyone at the Inn that a civil war has left her planet Mars “an intransigent matriarchy” meaning that women are ruling the planet and men are dying off. Nyah’s robot Chani confines the guests by placing an invisible electronic wall around the Inn, dissolves a few of the local houses to show everyone the power that she’s capable of, and then delivers her dire evil plans to the guests.

Nyah: Today it is you who learns the power of Mars.


Michael Carter: Mrs. Jamieson, may I introduce your latest guest. Miss Nyah. She comes from Mars.

Mrs. Jamieson: Oh, well, that’ll mean another bed.



Devil Girl from Mars




GOG 1954

Exciting Science-Fiction Drama! Mechanical Frankenstein–THE CREATURE OF TOMORROW!

Produced by Ivan Tors. Screenplay by Tom Taggart. Directed by Herbert L. Strock. Stars Richard Egan as Dr. David Sheppard, Constance Dowling as Joanna Merritt, Herbert Marshall as Dr. Van Ness, John Wengraf as Dr. Zeitman, Philip Van Zandt as Dr. Pierre Elziver, Valerie Vernon as Mme. Elziver, Stephen Roberts as Maj. Howard, Byron Kane as Dr. Carter, David Alpert as Dr. Peter Burden, Michael Fox as Dr. Hubertus, and William Schallert as Engle.

The first film about the imaginary government agency Office of Scientific Investigation was the suspenseful The Magnetic Monster (1953).

Don Willis said it’s “slow-moving, gadget-obsessed SF.” I felt it necessary to include it in the collection of science fiction films of 1954, but Gog is not one of my favorites as a sci-fi there is nothing bold or fascinating about the film so I’ll be brief.

Richard Egan plays investigator David Sheppard of the OSI who is on a mission in New Mexico to look into work on a space station that is being developed in an underground installation. Someone is sabotaging the project including murder. The base is stocked with all sorts of scientific machinery, in particular the main computer that runs everything called NOVAC the Nuclear Operated Variable Automatic Computer. (one complaint of the film is that it is too laden down with explanations and demonstrations of each and every gadget whether it pertains to the central nut of the story or not.)

The film gets its name from one of two the non human-looking robots managed by Dr. Seitman (John Wengraf) and his associate Engle (William Schallert) Constance Dowling plays Joanna Merritt assigned to show Sheppard around the complex. She is terrified of the robots Gog and Magog who are equipped with interesting functional gadgets like flame throwers. That might scare me too!

The murders are a bit creative, like the scientist who is trapped in his low-temperature lab, while the temperature drops drastically until he becomes a frozen scientist-sickle. Two ‘weightless’ acrobats are spun to death in a centrifuge, something that scared the piss out of me when used much more effectively in George Pal’s Science Fiction Thriller in director Byron Haskin’s superbly freaky The Power 1968 starring George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette.

I won’t give away the secret of who’s behind the accidents or murders, that wouldn’t be fair, since I wager many people haven’t seen Gog yet, though I trust you’ll be able to figure out who the culprits are pretty early on.

As Tom Weaver points out one of the assets of Ivan Tor’s film is that he didn’t make Gog & Magog humanoid. “probably the only robots in American films that were not anthropomorphic until Silent Running in 1972. Even Kronos is a schematic man.”

Dr. Zeitman: Science is never frightening, Miss Merritt.

Joanna Merritt: In space, there is no such thing as a weaker sex.

David Sheppard: That’s why I like it here.


Killers from Space

Killers from Space

Strange creatures from another world attack planet Earth!

Directed by W. Lee Wilder (Phantom From Space 1953, The Snow Creature 1954, Manfish 1956, Fright 1956, The Man Without a Body 1957, The Omegans 1968) stars Peter Graves as Dr. Doug Paul Martin, James Seay as Col. Banks, Steve Pendleton as Briggs Frank Gerstle as Dr. Curt Kruger, John Frederick as Denab/ The Tala, Barbara Bestar as Ellen Martin.

Killers From Space 1954 is a very low low-budget Sci-Fi film with ridiculous-looking aliens, one need only to watch The Outer Limit’s episode The Mutant starring Warren Oates to see how bug eyes should really be executed!

Graves plays Dr. Doug Paul Martin an atomic scientist who notices strange about the landscape below while he is flying right above a nuclear test site. When he dips lower to investigate his plane crashes, leaving the dead pilot behind while he goes missing. Graves stumbles back to the base with memory loss and an odd scar on his chest near his heart. His wife Ellen and associate Dr. Kruger see that Doug is acting really weird and then they catch him in the midst of espionage. Dr. Kruger decides to give Doug a shot of sodium pentothal where he remembers waking up on an operating table in a cave, with his heart dangling in the air outside of his body. Doug was killed in the plane crash but the aliens have brought him back to life. These bug-eyed aliens are from a dying planet Astron Delta and they have a zoo of giant creatures tucked away in the caves that they control, and they are planning on conquering the Earth with them. The only reason they saved him was to brainwash him and get vital information sending him back to the base as a saboteur. Of course, no one believes his story, but at least he has the awareness that these fiends have been stealing power from the electrical plant. Using a gun Doug pushes his way into the generator room and shuts down the plant just long enough to cause the ping-pong ball-eyed aliens (who incidentally are in that wonderfully hilarious category of ‘pants monster’), in the cave to explode into a mushroom cloud.

Warren Oates is part of a team of scientists who are exposed to radioactive dust -He is superb as the disturbed Reese Fowler in a 1964 episode of The Outer Limits (The Mutant).

Peter Graves in Killers From Space




Dr. Douglas Martin: Those eyes! Those HORRIBLE eyes!

Dr. Douglas Martin: Who are you?

Deneb Tala: A scientist. Like yourself.

Dr. Douglas Martin: Where do you come from?

Deneb Tala: From a planet yet unknown to you.

Dr. Douglas Martin: You know my name. You speak English.

Deneb Tala: We speak every language.

Monster from the Ocean Floor


Up from the forbidden depths comes a Tidal Wave Of Terror!

Produced by Roger Corman and directed by Wyott Ordung stars Anne Kimbell as Julie Blair, Stuart Wade as Steve Dunning, Dick Pinner as Dr. Baldwin, Wyott Ordung as Pablo, and Inez Palange as Tula.

Anne Kimbell plays Julie Blair an artist vacationing in Mexico. She hears all about the legend of a mysterious sea monster that has been attacking and killing the locals. One night Julie actually sees the creature rise up in the Ocean, surrounded by mist, with tentacles like an octopus and one giant menacing eyeball. She tries to get people to believe her story even marine biologist Steve Dunning (Stuart Wade) questions the idea of a monster. Steve moves around in the ocean in a mini toy-like submarine. Julie manages to get a small specimen of the creature and gives it to Steve to analyze who discovers that it must come from a giant one-celled amoeba. Through the stodgy dialogue, we are led to believe that the creature is most likely the result of atomic testing.

“The monster, which other sources identify as an octopus, is definitely referred to as an amoeba in the film, but the confusion is understandable because it looks almost exactly like a one-eyed octopus whose tentacles are adorned with tiny lights. The model was built and manipulated by Bob Baker, a well-known marionette artist of the Los Angeles area. Baker was approached by producer Roger Corman, who wanted a cheap, quickly done monster.”-Tom Weaver


SEE! Men and equipment float in the air, trapped where there is no gravity – no up or down!

Hurtle toward the far reaches of the universe with the space Vikings of the future!

Another Ivan Tor Production–Directed by Richard Carlson and Herbert L. Strock with a screenplay by Curt Siodmak. Stars William Lundigan as Dr. Richard Stanton, Herbert Marshall as Dr. Don Stanton, Richard Carlson as Dr. Jerry Lockwood, Martha Hyer as Dr. Jane Flynn, Dawn Addams as Susan Manners, Robert Karnes as Walter Gordon, Lawrence Dobkin as Dr. Delmar, George Eldredge as Dr. Paul Dryden, Dan Riss as Dr. Frank Werner, Michael Fox as Dr. Klinger, King Donovan as James O’Herli, and James Best as Dr. Sidney K. Fuller.

Once again Ivan Tor concerns himself with scientific verisimilitude, where he feels the need to wring out every explanation in detail for each gadgetry–the technical foofaraw overtaking any bit of drama left to the story.

The film involves scientist Herbert Marshall who is obsessed with trying to catch a meteor and study how it’s lasted millions of years without burning up from the cosmic rays outside Earth’s atmosphere, which would inevitably destroy any spaceship.

By examining the composition of metal inside the meteors they can use it to build a spaceship that can withstand the radiation. He gets funding from the government agency Tors’ Office for Scientific Investigation (used in The Magnetic Monster and Gog) –winds up recruiting three unwitting astronauts Richard Carlson, William Lundigan, and Robert Karnes to take on the mission. The project’s psychologist Dr. Klinger (Michael Fox) rules out the other 9 men for various reasons, one because of his claustrophobia.

Martha Hyer plays Dr. Jane Flynn who first sparks the idea that the initial test rocket fragmented because the metal had weakened from the radiation exposure. It’s a great cast just a bit tedious until it reaches its conclusion which I won’t give away.

The Snow Creature

Terrorizes city, abducts women, annihilates men!
Half man! Half monster!
Himalayan Monster captured 20,000 Feet above the Earth!
Brought back alive … only to escape and leave a trail of death and destruction in the frightened city!

Directed by W. Lee Wilder. Stars Paul Langton as Dr. Frank Parrish, Leslie Denison as Peter Wells, Teru Shimada as Subra, Rollin Moriyama as Leva, Robert Kino as Insp. Karma, Robert Hinton as airline manager, Darlene Fields as Joyce Parrish, George Douglas as Corey Jr., Robert Bice as Fleet.

The use of low-key lighting was a device to obscure the shabby look of the Yeti suit–unless Furries were avowing their fetishistic desires way back in 1954!

There’s an expedition to the Himalayas the wife of a Sherpa guide Subra (Teru Shimada) is kidnapped by the snow creature. Expedition leader Dr. Frank Parrish (Paul Langton) is unwilling to go search for the lost woman, doubting that the Yeti is real and not just a legend. But the guide goes looking and manages to trap a snow creature. Dr. Parrish sends the creature to Los Angeles but customs refuse to allow the beast into the country, meanwhile, it breaks loose and kills several people until he escapes into the sewer system and is hunted down and shot.

The Snow Creature’s design is merely a furry suit with no detailing nor is there any special makeup applied to the actor’s face. The use of Floyd Crosby’s lighting to obscure the creature was not an artistic decision but rather one of economics.

Stranger from Venus aka Immediate Disaster

Patricia Neal in Stranger from Venus

Tonight, First contact will be made!

Directed by Burt Balaban, starring Patricia Neal as Susan North, Helmut Dantine as The Stranger, Derek Bond, Cyril Luckham, Willoughby Gray, Marigold Russell, and Nigel Green as a police officer. Arthur Young and Kenneth Edwards.

Stranger From Venus was the original British title, with the American release being named Immediate Disaster. The film is a continuation of Day the Earth Stood Still, though it doesn’t enhance anything concerning its predecessor, starring Neal as the same lead actress. The location of the action is left ambiguous. It begins with the sighting of flying saucers. Susan (Patricia Neal) is driving on a desolate country road when suddenly her car conks out, and she crashes into a tree. She is approached by a stranger (Helmut Dantine) the menacing shot is framed focusing only on his advancing boots and his legs.

cut to a scene at an Inn, and much like Devil Girl From Mars, the story takes place mostly at the Inn. The no named Stranger who we learn comes from the planet Venus, shows the doctor (Cyril Luckham) who is fiddling with magnets, how this force applies to the way his spaceship works. Unlike Day the Earth Stood Still, the romance is explored as Patricia Neal’s character and the alien stranger do fall in love. There is a scene where the two exchange warm chemistry while lounging at a pond.

The Stranger has come to warn the Earth that they are fooling around with atomic power and will most likely not only blow our own civilization to bits but effect the entire solar system as well. Similarly to Day the Earth Stood Still, he asks to meet with all the leaders of the world community, but is refused and only a handful of representatives show up.

Susan’s unprincipled fiancé Arthur Walker (Derek Bond) obstructs The Stranger’s plans by stealing the communication device he uses to contact the mother ship. Walker and the military set up a trap in order to thwart the spaceship using magnetic energy. They want to steal the Venusian’s secret technology. The Stranger lets them know that there are safeguards in place and if they detain his scout ship, the mother ship is programmed to destroy the Earth. Walker realizes that he’s put the Earth in danger and gives The Stranger back his communicator, who then sends the scout ship and the mother ship away ultimately sacrificing his own life. But what he’s done has signed his own death warrant as he’s been spending time within the Earth’s atmosphere and will not survive it much longer. He and Susan return to the pond where he and Susan shared some poignant moments, as he waits to die.

Target Earth


Produced by Herman Cohen. Directed by Sherman Rose, original screenplay by James H. Nicholson. Stars Richard Denning as Frank Brooks, Kathleen Crowley as Nora King, Virginia Grey as Vickie Harris, Richard Reeves as Jim Wilson, Robert Roark as Davis, the Killer, Mort Marshall as Charles Otis, and Whit Bissell as the chief research scientist.

The story was adapted from a short story written by Paul W. Fairman called “Deadly City” a novelette published in the March 1953 issue of IF. Fairman also wrote the original script for Invasion of the Saucer Men.

Like Arch Obler’s 1951 nihilistic Five centered around a small collection of unlikely survivors, Fairman’s story features the archetypal mixed bag of characters who wind up being alone in Chicago after the entire city has been evacuated. Among the group is the emblematic psychopath Davis (Robert Roark) that threatens everyone on top of the group being in danger of an alien invasion, Robots from Venus.

Target Earth! focuses more on the dynamic between the survivors rather than the aliens themselves who remain in the shadows, or are referred to later as “so thin-so fragile” Director Rose seems to feel that personal relationships are the centerpiece of the plot. Richard Denning is the hero, and the heroine Kathleen Crowley is a prostitute in the written story, for the film however she was changed to a widow who tried to commit suicide. Roarke is a brute and Virginia Gray who plays Vickie a loud drunken blonde is inconsequential to the story and winds up dead.

Virginia Gray is perhaps one of my favorite underrated actresses!

Kathleen Crowley and Richard Denning

“The film gains what power if does have from the basic situation: people alone in a a deserted city with an unseen menace prowling. Cities are such a locus for people that a deserted one seems dead, ancient and forboding. Tall brooding buildings with the sun glinting off empty windows, newpapers blowing down vacant streets, no cars or people moving, and the overall silence all add up to a uniquely eerie effect.”-Tom Weaver

Nora King: I wonder if there’s anyone else left in town.

Frank Brooks: There’s probably a few. You ever try to empty a sack of sugar?

Nora King: What’s that got to do with it?

Frank Brooks: Some of the grains always stick to the sack, like the two of us.



The Sci-Fi Classic of the Atomic Age A horror horde of crawl-and-crush giants clawing out of the earth from mile-deep catacombs!



Directed by Gordon Douglas (San Quentin 1946, Walk a Crooked Mile 1948, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye 1950, The Fiend Who Walked the West 1958, Up Periscope 1959, The Sins of Rachel Cade 1961, Sylvia 1965, In Like Flint 1967, The Detective & Lady in Cement 1968, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs! 1970)

Cinematography Sid Hickox (All Through the Night 1942, To Have and Have Not 1944, White Heat 1949, Three Secrets 1950)  A screenplay with smart dialogue by Russell Hughes and Ted Sherdeman and an evocative score by Bronislau Kaper.

Stars James Whitmore as Police Sgt.Ben Peterson, Edmund Gwenn as Dr. Harold Medford, Joan Weldon as Dr. Patricia Medford, Chris Drake as Trooper Ed Blackburn, James Arness as Robert Graham, Onslow Stevens as Brig. General Robert O’Brien, Sean McClory as Maj. Kibbee, Sandy Descher as that poor traumatized Ellison girl, Fess Parker as pilot Alan Crotty and Oscar Blank as the alcohol ward patient in charge of the booze! William Schallert and Dub Taylor.

Director Gordon Douglas’ success with Them! possibly ONE of the most plausible, memorable, and well established Science Fiction/Horror films of the 1950s is partially due to cinematographer Sid Hickox’s documentary-style vision of George Worthing Yate’s (It Came from Beneath the Sea, Earth vs The Flying Saucer, Frankenstein 1970, War of the Colossal Beast and Attack of the Puppet People) story. Warner Bros. suspected that they had a huge hit on their hands so in a smart move to build up the anticipation for Them! they kept the subject of the film a secret all during it’s production, even to the point of making the posters even a bit ambiguous. There are aspects of Them! that make this extraordinary science fiction film every bit a great crime thriller as well, in the ways that it unfolds, and it became the biggest money-making film of 1954.

The giant ants are products of the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico near the end of World War II and begin plundering the Southwest for sugar and people to eat. Them! stands out in its blatant condemnation of atomic weapons and testing. A dire cautionary tale. What horrors will the next nuclear testing bring us? As Edmund Gwenn says “When man first entered the atomic age, he opened the door into a new world.”

One of my earliest recollections of the film was the startling opening scene which incidentally, I’d love to ask director Jennifer Lynch (David Lynch’s daughter) if her disturbing psycho-thriller Surveillance (2008) was a tribute to that very scene. It’s one of the kinds of poetically visual postcards that remained implanted in your mind for always. This is how it unfolds… A little girl (Sandy Descher) is found wandering the white-hot New Mexico desert clutching a broken doll in a state of shock, by two policemen New Mexico State Trooper Sgt. Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) and Trooper Ed Blackburn (Chris Drake). Near the appearance of the little girl, the officers find a trailer that has been demolished, the top half of the doll’s head now links the child to the torn-apart trailer.

Suddenly there is an eerie sound that begins reverberating through the desert. Without the two men noticing the little Ellinson girl sits up and then collapses once again. The film starts to already build at a suspenseful pace. Next, the officers stumble onto another crime scene, where they discover that Gramps Johnson at his General Store has been killed, his shotgun bent into a U shape, and no money has been stolen. There’s also the same odd reckless destruction at the site.

Ben leaves Officer Drake to stand watch at the crime scene when he begins to hear that same chilling high-pitched echoing once more, and as he steps out into the desert night from the mangled building he is attacked by an unseen assailant.

Evidence collected from the Johnson crime scene, a melange taken from the strange track in the sand, and a sample of formic acid (enough to kill over a dozen men) taken from Gramps Johnson’s body lead Professor Medford to the truth behind the slayings, but he is keeping his suspicions to himself for the moment.

Coroner Putnam: I finished the autopsy on Gramps Johnson. Do you want it technical or plain?

Trooper Capt. Fred Edwards: Just plain, Doc. Get to the verb.

Coroner Putnam: Well, Old Man Johnson could’ve died in any one of five ways: His neck and back were broken, his chest was crushed, his skull was fractured… and here’s one for Sherlock Holmes – there was enough formic acid in him to kill twenty men.

FBI agent Robert Graham (James Arness-The Thing From Another World 1951 and Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke) is called in to investigate since the trailer it turns out belonged to an FBI agent on vacation. Also sent for is well-known Dr. Harold Medford a professor of entomology (Edmund Gwenn) and his daughter Pat played by Joan Weldon soon discover that due to the atomic testing in the desert, the fallout has produced a giant species of ant, generations growing larger and hungrier as their food supply diminishes they are now preying on humans!

While Pat is out exploring the terrain, a hideous head rises up over the dune. Her father, shouts for the men to “aim at the antennae!”  and the giant monster falls down dead.

It’s now up to Chris Kringle oops!!! I mean Dr. Medford and the military and scientists working together to find a way to annihilate the Queen and her drones before it spells ultimate destruction for the future of mankind…

They comb the desert looking for the ant hills. At first, they drop deadly gas down the numerous ant hills in the desert, but the Queen escapes. Eventually, the mutant ants are cornered in a storm drain in Los Angeles, equipped with flame throwers and machine guns the military goes on the final attack with poisonous gas, destroying all the eggs and assuring that there will be no progeny. When they go to investigate within the uncanny tunnels under the desert afterward they find a lot of dead mutant ants, except for a newly hatched Queen and a few winged male attendants.

Dr. Harold Medford:None of the ants previously seen by man were more than an inch in length – most considerably under that size. But even the most minute of them have an instinct and talent for industry, social organization, and savagery that makes man look feeble by comparison.”

Still keeping the invasion under wraps they put word out to police and military to keep eyes and ears open for any unusual sightings or phone calls from the public. Fess Parker plays a pilot from Texas who has been signed into a mental ward because he’s reported seeing giant flying ants who were dive-bombing his small aircraft. Of course, the team knows he’s not crazy, but they can’t let the word out and start widespread panic. So they leave him in there temporarily! Next one of the Queens and her male escorts board a cargo ship and kill everyone aboard. Oh, that poor radio operator who had just enough time to send out the mayday!

Them! works visually as a story framed in openness, where the hostility and alien atmosphere of the desert create as much the dreaded sense of enemy as the ants themselves.

When two young boys go missing along with their father who has taken them out to fly their model airplane they realize that the remaining ants must be lurking inside the huge storm drains in Los Angeles. The army is brought in with flame throwers to burn them and destroy the eggs. While saving the two little boys trapped by the monstrous ants, Ben is crushed in the mandibles

There were only two principle ants built for the film, (Dick Smith is one of the model makers) one which was a complete model and the other which was mounted on a boom with head and legs with levers and pulleys, using this model for the close-ups. Originally planned for a release in 3D the ants were designed to be in color. They were painted a purplish green, and their eyes were painted red and blue. Though all this was lost in black & white, I think the film maintains its powerful visual montages because it remains in B&W.

At the time of the film, Edmund Gwenn had been a beloved character actor who not only brought credibility to the film, he was wonderful at delivering vigorous comedic relief. At times exuding the charisma of the absent-minded professor he could also be direly serious in his delivery. Amusing moments when he is having the darnedest time with his goggle and radio up in the helicopter tempered the suspense with a lightness.

My favorite part of the film is when Ben and Graham are questioning a boozed up old sot (Olin Howlin) who is recuperating on an alcoholic ward, who is being completely yet gleefully disobliging “Make me a Sergeant in charge of the booze!” he sings as he pulls his blankets over his head. Ben and Graham are ready to dismiss the wino when he remarks that he can’t understand how the giant ants were able to get inside those small planes. The old geezer must have been a witness as they remembered that the father and two boys went missing after taking their model planes out for day.

Them! 1954

Robert Graham: Pat, if these monsters got started as a result of the first atomic bomb in 1945, what about all the others that have been exploded since then?

Dr. Patricia ‘Pat’ Medford: I don’t know.

Dr. Harold Medford: Nobody knows, Robert. 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.

A memorable scene among many memorable scenes, once Dr. Medford has figured out that giant ants are the culprits by analyzing residual formic acid at one of the crime scenes, the doctors use the odor to try and bring the little Ellison girl out of her catatonic state (Ann Doran plays a child psychiatrist) The smell does in fact trigger recall in the terrified child who briefly comes out of her state screaming Them! Them! Them! It’s very chilling and quite effective…

Dr. Harold Medford: [addressing a group of government officials] That, gentlemen, is why you are here – to consider this problem and, I hope, solve it. Because unless you solve it, unless these queens are located and destroyed before they’ve established thriving colonies and can produce, heaven alone knows, how many more queen ants, man, as the dominant species of life on earth, will probably be extinct within…

[looking at another scientist]

Dr. Harold Medford: a year, Doc?

We are left with the take away message Dr. Medford sagely imparts to us if we don’t get our proverbial shit together… that we will “vanish from the world’s face and the beasts will reign over the Earth”

Tobor the Great

Man-Made monster with every human emotion

Directed by Lee Sholem. Charles Drake as Dr. Ralph Harrison, Karin Booth as Janice Roberts Billy Chapin as Brian ‘Gadge’ Roberts.

Originally the movie was slated to be directed by Edward Ludwig, and produced by Richard Goldstone in Eastman color using wide-screen Visterama! with a story that was to be about an automatic pilot for space ships and the leading man was to be Richard Carlson. All that changed when Lee Sholem replaced Ludwig and Carlson’s part was given to actor Charles Drake. The film was also filmed on the standard screen instead of Visterama.

Charles Drake plays Dr. Ralph Harrison who resigns from the government space program because he has become disenchanted by the pressures of space travel, fearing that mankind will never make that trip to the heavens. Prof. Nordstrom (Taylor Holmes) invites Harrison to his lab filled out with all sorts of inventive gadgets where he meets Nordstrom’s daughter Janice (Karin Booth). The two scientists do not realize that they have been followed by a spy. Harrison also meets Janice’s little boy nicknamed ‘Gadge’ played by the serious little actor Billy Chapin, who I’ve loved in other films (Night of the Hunter 1955) Violent Saturday 1955, and television appearances. ‘Gadge’ is also a boy genius who has been working on a secret project of his own. Tobor is a bit lumbering and less an anthropomorphic robot and he’s got a block head. What makes Tobor interesting is his capacity for Extra Sensory Perception and how he behaves when faced with love or hate.

Of course Gadge and Tobor form a bond. Except one night while visiting Tobor in the basement he accidentally unleashes the tin man and he smashes up the house before Gadge puts mechanical friend Tobor back.

Communist spies kidnap Professor Nordstrom and Gadge and threaten them with torture unless they turn over their secrets to them. Dr. Harrison who’s been working with the army to track Nordstrom and the boy by following Tobor. Gadge also links with Tobor telepathically. And with no doubt, the world will be safe from the dread Red Scare once again…

Tobor the Great was definitely made as a children’s Sci-Fi/adventure film. But-Mechanical toys are not always a wonderama for boys, I can attest to that just from the space station I built in my basement when I was 9– I’d take appliances apart to use for knobs and gauges, and boy oh boy my pop did NOT appreciate my resourceful imaginative side… at least not at that moment!

Tobor the Great 1954






7 thoughts on “🚀 Keep Watching the Skies! Science Fiction Cinema of the 1950s: The Year is 1954

  1. I LOVE this post! AND…. she’s baaaaack!!!! Woo hoo! What an excellent read. I’ll ashamedly admit to NOT seeing all of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea other than MANY years ago on TV when I fell asleep during it (hey, I was a kid and too tired when it popped up one evening! That’s a mistake I just rectified by snapping up the 2-disc DVD off ebay in the middle of reading your post) . I vaguely recall Devil Girl From Mars as a kid (that sassy Nyah outfit, Laffan’s striking look and the lovely Hazel Court popped into the memory bank from a fuzzy b+w VHS tape way back in the day).

    You NAILED The Creature From the Black Lagoon perfectly (it’s probably my favorite sympathetic minster flick along with 20,000,000 Miles to Earth and yep, The Shape of Water). I’ll have to tell you the story of the hilarious chat I had with two random dudes bitching about Del Toro’s flick because they were SO triggered by their gals liking it too much (lol!)

    THEM! is up there with the best of the best of any genre. It still thrills me to this day and was a definite inspiration (along with classic kaiju flcks) for a series of really fun games in the Earth Defense Force series: https://www.d3p.co.jp/edf5_en/#mv

    I like the Ivan Tors trilogy a lot because while pretty dry on the surface, the attention to detail and plausibility work in terms of making for somewhat believable stories. They’re definitely not the expected camp expected from most of the more fantasy-filled films, but that makes for a nice tonal shift when one wants to watch a sort of “hard” sci-fi film from that era.

    Oof, sorry for such a long reply, lol. I’ll save the rest of the babbling for some point in the future (cue fancy 50’s sci-fi music, perhaps “Radar” from The Day the Earth Stood Still)

    1. Don’t feel bad I haven’t seen it in a while either. Nyah is a hoot with that leather clad suit! You’re right about Tor’s series, he aimed at realism it was so important to him and while Roger Corman was around with his low budget campy horrors which are endearing to this day, the science technology that he put into his trilogy is still very much worth a watch especially for us geeks right! Don’t ever stop your rants… The Last Drive In is the place to let it all hang out and be long winded as all get out. I nearly peed myself – I can’t wait to hear the conversation you had about del Toro’s The Shape of Water. I had certain issues with the film as a private critic who has followed horror classics since the I was little in the 60s being introduced to these wonderful gems. BUT, the last thing I care about was the fact that she fucked a fish man! Really… Can we not all just relax about the way del Toro explored the romance between the Gill Man and the object of his desire just a bit deeper… And she was of the sea herself so it’s not like it’s that deviant. Oh good golly jesus almighty … So when we meet up at the Lowes in Jersey City for one of their horror classic marathons this year, you can share your funny exchange over popcorn if I don’t do a spit take with my Pepsi and get butter all over you! You tickle me –Keep it real my friend I appreciate your presence here! Cheers Joey

    2. PS. I also felt sympathy for the Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth – I hated how he was treated. It’s actually a hard film for me to watch though I LOVE Harryhausen’s work!

  2. Jo, you’ve made the case for why 1954 should be considered the best year for sci-fi.

    (Actually, you’ve convinced me every year in the 1950s is the best year for sci-fi with this series of yours.)

    You’ve given me some new titles to watch, and some old faves that I need to revisit, such as 20,000 Leagues and the Black Lagoon. Time for a 1954 Sci-Fi Movie Party, I think!

    1. I’m glad I’m always giving you ideas for films! I can’t believe I’m finally trying to finish my series Keep Watching the Skies -if you think 1954 was a good year, wait til I get to 1956 & 58 some of the biggies there! There’s so much to cover, and I don’t want to miss saying anything helpful because the decade really shaped our collective consciousness –at least it did mine… Thanks as always for stopping by The Last Drive In, Cheers Joey

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