The Hideous Sun Demon (1959) Reptilian pants monster by day

Since we’re having a major blizzard here on the eastern seaboard, I thought it appropriate to spread a little sunshine in your day! I’d like to share a film that is a “guilty pleasure” of mine.

I love 1950s sci-fi/ horror. There are some films that share equal parts of the genres. The Hideous Sun Demon is one of those atomic-age scare films.

The Hideous Sun Demon (1959) alternative titles Blood on His Lips, Terror From the Sun(  more fitting for people who look like worn-out saddles from too much sun worshiping and tanning bedtime), and The Sun Demon. Directed and Produced by Robert Clarke and Screenplay by E.S.Seeley Jr.

Stars Robert Clarke, Patricia Manning, Nan Peterson, and Patrick Whyte. In keeping with the theme of shapes shifting and transformation films such as werewolves and large cat people.

This film is about a reptilian conversion whenever Dr Gilbert McKenna played by director Clarke himself is exposed to the light of day, the sun. Normally films that evoke fear are set in shadowing night, with beasties lurking in the darkness. Sun Demon depicts the horror and fears in broad daylight, the theme of the monster transformed by the moonlight is actually now inverted, to become a tale of fearing the bright landscape of the day.

On a much more subtle level or perhaps not so subtle considering it is well known of Dr McKenna’s drinking problem. the film can be taken as a cautionary tale about addiction. Now, Dr. Gilbert McKenna happens to also be an atomic scientist who deals with the dreaded radioactive materials. So combining this highly dangerous practice with a highly self-destructive habit makes for a disastrous result. Dr. McKenna causes an accident in his lab, which sets off a chain reaction of exposure to a strange kind of radiation exposure. He literally becomes allergic to the sunlight and when at the mercy of the big old fireball in the sky, he becomes a scaly monstrosity.

Trying to help Gil out are his associates Ann Russell played by Patricia Manning and Dr. Frederick Buckell(Patrick Whyte). They insist on Gil staying out of the sunlight until they can find a specialist who can treat him for radiation poisoning. Unfortunately, Gil has a very strong will and drive to do things his own way, after all, he is an addict.

He goes out one evening and finds a nightclub singer Trudy Osborne ( Nan Peterson)and they start up a little fling on the beach, which leaves Gil exposed to the sun the next morning.

Ann is in love with Gil, but Gil doesn’t seem to notice at all. Because Gil is oblivious to Ann’s feelings, he sneaks out while she is taking care of him. He goes back to find the sleazy Trudy and yet again he’s caught out in the sunlight. This time, once he’s transformed into the scaly demon he winds up killing a gangster named Georgia who happens to be Trudy’s ex-boyfriend.

Inevitably Gil is chased by the police and falls to his death from a high tower.

The fact that Gil is a willful participant in turning into this demon, suggests that it is the subject of addiction and choice that the film is relating to us. Gil could have remained inside during the day to protect himself and others from what he might become, but his urges created a compulsion that ultimately was his downfall.

I can’t take credit for the use of the phrase Pants Monster. Here is the link to their hilarious site!