• Craig Hunter

PT - Movies - 026 - Mill Creek Sci-Fi Collection v3








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Intro

Welcome everyone to The Predictably Treacherous Podcast, the Mill Creek Sci-Fi Collection part 3.

We'll be reviewing the movies of the Mill Creek Sci-Fi 50 movie collection and on today's episode we'll be reviewing film 21 through 30.

Here are the links discussed in the episode

The Rating System

What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

"Watch it once"

"Re-watchable"

This will be a 5 part podcast with 10 movies per part.

This is part III

Part III

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

Released: February 1960

Running Time: 58 minutes

Budget: $???

Distribution: MCP Film Distribution Co.

moviedb https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/31634-the-amazing-transparent-man?language=en-US

An ex-major forces a scientist to develop a invisibility formula, with which he plans to create an invisible army and sell it to the highest bidder. However there are side effects to the formula.

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amazing_Transparent_Man

The Amazing Transparent Man is a 1960 science fiction film starring Marguerite Chapman. It is an American B-movie which follows the story of an insane ex–U.S. Army major who uses an escaped criminal to steal materials to improve the invisibility machine his scientist prisoner made.[2] It was one of two sci-fi films shot back-to-back in Dallas, Texas by director Edgar G. Ulmer (the other being Beyond the Time Barrier, also released in that same year).[3] The combined filming schedule for both films was only two weeks. The film was later featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

My Thoughts

opening music 0:01 to 1:12

liked the opening credits and title cards

liked the opening sequence with the escape from prison

liked the premise of an invisibility ray and breaking a safe cracker out of prison to blackmail him into carrying out your schemes. I got a little lost where i thought the ultimate purpose of all this was to rob banks but then the scientist reveals in the final scene that it was to create an invisible army.

Directed by Edgar G Ulmer

from wikipedia

Edgar Georg Ulmer (/ˈʌlmər/; September 17, 1904 – September 30, 1972) was a Jewish-Moravian,[1] Austrian-American film director who mainly worked on Hollywood B movies and other low-budget productions. His stylish and eccentric works came to be appreciated by auteur theory-espousing film critics in the years following his retirement. Ulmer's productions include The Black Cat[2] (1934) and the film noir Detour[3] (1945).

Many of his movies are in the public domain so you can download them for free from the Internet Archive, see the show notes for the details.

I downloaded a bunch of his films to check out because there was something cool about the style of this film and I want to see if his other films have a similar feel or whatever.

What's the Verdict?

"Watch it once"

First Spaceship on Venus (1960)

Released: Feb 26, 1960 (East Germany) / Oct 31, 1962 (USA)

Running Time: 79 minutes (English dub)

Budget: $

Distribution: Crown International Pictures (US) / Progress Film (East Germany)

moviedb https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/17938-der-schweigende-stern?language=en-US

wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Spaceship_on_Venus

Milcząca Gwiazda (German: Der Schweigende Stern), literal English translation: The Silent Star is a 1960 East German/Polish color science fiction film based on the 1951 science fiction novel The Astronauts by Stanisław Lem. It was directed by Kurt Maetzig, and stars Günther Simon, Julius Ongewe and Yoko Tani. The film was first released by Progress Film in East Germany, running 93 min.[4] Variously dubbed and cut versions were also released in English under other titles: First Spaceship on Venus, Planet of the Dead, and Spaceship Venus Does Not Reply.

After finding an ancient, long-buried flight recorder that originally came from a spaceship, apparently from Venus, a human spaceship is dispatched to Venus. The crew discovers a long-dead Venusian civilization that had constructed a device intended to destroy all life on the Earth prior to invasion. Before they could execute their plan, they perished in a global nuclear war.

My Thoughts

This one was produced in the GDR which is really cool. The GDR existed from 1949 to 1990 and was the eastern part of Germany administered and occupied by Soviet forces. Commonly described as a communist state by the West but self described as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state". Go read about the GDR it's fascinating and everything you know about it currently has likely been arrived at through the lens of Western propaganda.

This film looks really good on paper but isn't very compelling to watch. It's hard to get into any of the characters. The characters didn't seem real and i didn't feel any sympathy for any of them. It's dubbed into English, which i don't mind but i does make it more difficult to connect with. it sounds like this, 24:00 to 24:20

There was a lot to like about this film though.

There was an attempt to include a more internationally represented crew including a Japanese doctor, an Indian mathematician, a Chinese biologist/linguist, a French Engineer, a communications guy from presumably an African country (he's black). There was an implied previous relationship between the female Japanese doctor and an American crewman...although, ultimately, the guys in charge, making decisions--the management--were still white European males.

The plot was great...check out the full detailed plot on wikipedia.

  • find an extra-terrestrial artifact (flight recorder) tie it back to a real historical event, the Tunguska Event of 1908, but reinterpret it as a space craft crashing rather than a meteor explosion.

  • launch an international mission to Venus to make contact with the Venetians but along the way they are able to decipher the flight recorder and it reveals that the Venetians were planning an invasion of Earth.

  • Based on the novel The Astronauts by Stanislaw Lem who wrote Solaris

What's the Verdict?

"Watch it once"

Horrors of Spider Island (1960)

Released: April 16, 1960

Running Time: 82 minutes

Budget: $???

Distribution: Pacemaker Pictures Inc.

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/31392-ein-toter-hing-im-netz?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horrors_of_Spider_Island

Horrors of Spider Island (German: Ein Toter hing im Netz, "A Corpse Hung in the Web") is a 1960 West German horror film directed by Fritz Böttger from his screenplay, and produced by Gaston Hakim and Wolf C. Hartwig for Rapid-Film/Intercontinental Filmgesellschaft.[1][2][3] The film stars Alexander D'Arcy as a talent agent who invites several girls to a club in Singapore. Their plane ride ends abruptly when they crash-land into the ocean. D'Arcy and the women make their way to an island where they find a larger spider web. A giant spider sinks its teeth in D'Arcy which turns him into a mutant.[4]

The film was released in the United States in 1962, and has been released with various English titles including It's Hot in Paradise, Hot in Paradise, Girls of Spider Island and Spider's Web.[2] It was featured on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1999.

My Thoughts

I liked it. I liked it a lot. The opening scene where the girls are auditioning for modelling/dancing jobs was a fun device that served to reveal something about Gary the talent agent, who is slimy but just the right type of character that you can feel confident that he is going to assemble an array of sexy girls for his business venture in Singapore. Then, the girls are are brought in to be evaluated one-by-one for the project and they are made to show their legs, and dance, and most importantly, let the audience get a good look at them and get invested in the film. That was nicely done. A good first 10 minutes where the premise is established, and the main characters are introduced.

Their plane crashes somewhere over the Pacific but they all survive and they are able to paddle their raft to a nearby island. On the island they find a cabin with a giant spider web and a dead dude trapped in it. They discover that he was a professor and in his diary he discovered a uranium deposit and felt that something bad was going to happen to him. The spider is actually really cute.

Listen to this scene (10:35) where a character is on the phone fielding calls about the plane crash and whether he has any news about the missing passengers. You can very faintly hear a voice prompting the actor his lines just before he says them.

So Georgia is officially in charge of the girls and she and Gary have affection for one another. Another girl, who was formally a stripper, tries to seduce Gary and Georgia catches them kissing. Gary storms off for a walk and gets bitten by the spider and turned into a man-spider and begins stalking the girls.

The girls argue and fight and run around in sundresses and bare feet and legs and shoulders and arms and there is even a bathing scene. Some guys show up on the island to deliver supplies to the professor but the professor's dead and has been replaced by a group of lonely horny beautiful girls and so they throw a sexy party the night before they are going to be picked up by a boat.

There is a final confrontation with the Man-Spider and they end up chasing him with torches into a field of quick-sand and he sinks to oblivion.

What's the Verdict?

"Watch it once"

Assignment: Outer Space (1960)

Released: August 1960 (Italy)

Running Time: 73 minutes

Budget: $???

Distribution: Titanus

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/35611-space-men?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-Men

In 2116, Interplanetary Chronicle of New York reporter Ray Peterson (Rik Van Nutter), launches aboard spaceship Bravo Zulu 88, joining the crew of an orbiting space station. Peterson is assigned to write a story about the "infra-radiation flux in Galaxy M12", but soon tension develops between Peterson and the station commander (David Montresor). He believes the reporter is in the way, calling him a "leech", but he has orders to not interfere with Peterson. A complication arises when Lucy (Gabriella Farinon), the station botanist and navigator, becomes attracted to both the commander and Peterson.

When the errant Spaceship Alpha Two enters the inner solar system, its photon generators are radiating enough heat to destroy the Earth. In efforts to intercept Alpha Two, crew members Sullivan (Franco Fantasia) and space station pilot Al (Archie Savage) sacrifice themselves in separate but futile attempts to destroy the dangerous spaceship with missiles.

With both crew members now dying from their attempts, Peterson uses Space Taxi B91 to get aboard the errant spaceship. His goal: to disarm Alpha Two's photon generators. Once inside, he is directed to disable the spaceship's computers and shut down all power sources. He soon finds himself trapped inside when the emergency hatch is also disabled by the power loss. [Note 1]

Despite orders from the high command not to intervene, the commander and his assistant disobey and attempt to intercept the out-of-control Alpha Two and rescue Peterson. They are finally able to reach the reporter as he is collapsing and bring him back safely. With Alpha Two now safely redirected away from the Earth, Peterson wins Lucy's affection and the commander's respect for his heroic actions.

My Thoughts

Thank god for Wikipedia because it fills in some of the plot details that I missed watching the film. The main notion is that the reporter is sent to the space station and there is tension between the commander and him because the commander feels like the reporter is going to get in the way and slow down their work. By the end, the commander learns that the reporter is actually a valuable contributor to the success of the mission.

The film has a vision of the future with man having a permanent presence in space on a station with artificial gravity and cigar shaped space ships that can take off and land and there is an overall feeling of ease of living and lack of struggle that makes it feel like they are just living and working on Earth. They are able to move about the space station without difficulty and without wearing space suits. They somehow make their own fuel so are able to fly around space and land and take off from planets as they please. No one is suffering from any obvious psychological issues that i would expect from people so isolated from Earth.

All of these things just make it feel so unreal.

The audio and video quality is on the poor side and it's dubbed into English.

What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

Colossus and the Amazon Queen (1960)

Released: Sep 8th, 1960 (Italy) / 1964 (US)

Running Time: 98 minutes (Italy) / 84 minutes (US)

Budget: $???

Distribution: Galatea Film, Glomer Film, Alta Vista

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/91587-la-regina-delle-amazzoni?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_and_the_Amazon_Queen

So you have Rod Taylor as the often down on his luck, crafty, scheming guy and Ed Fury as the strongman who uses strength to solve all problems.

A couple of thieves want Ed Fury on their ship to protect merchandise so they hire Rod Taylor to get this done. He tricks Ed Fury and somehow they end up on the ship and then on an island with chests of gold and a buffet table on the beaches. Seems suspicious. The crew eats the buffet and passes out because it's drugged and the thieves split.

During the night, while the men lay passed out on the beach, a band of warriors collects the men, except for Ed Fury who was dragged away by some guy he helped earlier or something...

Ed is woken up lying amongst some trees by a talking parrot and he and the guy who helped him go looking for the rest of the men to free them. They encounter a woman bathing in a stream and get captured by a bunch of warrior women and thrown in a cell with the rest of the men.

Now we get the women training in their absolutely slammin' outfits and it's revealed that the women are a matriarchal society with all traditional gender roles reversed with women occupying military, political, and leadership roles and men occupying more domestic roles.

The woman have a sexy group ritual dance that is supposed to arouse the men who are forced to watch. Then two lady political rivals have a jousting match for power. Then many sexy ladies in striped swimsuits each picks out a man for herself to presumably procreate with.

If it's 1960, a time before free and plentiful access to pornography, and you're a teenage boy, i could definitely understand why you would go to see this movie. There are lots of lovely and aggressive warrior ladies in slammin' outfits showing lots of skin and the premise is that they are looking for men to procreate with...

If there was supposed to be some kind of social commentary about matriarchy vs. patriarchy it was lost on me. Let's listen to this confusing clip 21:14 to 23:18

The one woman is authoritarian and she wants to execute a man who did something. The other woman wants to free him. The authoritarian woman challenges the other to combat. Is the film suggesting that under matriarchy, women would act as violent, barbaric and authoritarian as men do under patriarchy, and would subjugate the men, as men do to women under patriarchy.

This is followed by a scene of men portrayed as overly effeminate while in discussions of a domestic nature.

25:52 to 26:25

So it's like the film just reversed the gender roles without considering that women in charge might lead to an entirely different dynamic, like a more socialist society rather than a militaristic authoritarian one.

What's the Verdict?

"Watch it Once"

I liked this Italian actress Dorian Gray, who played one of the main characters. She was a total fox. Wikipedia says she offed herself by gunshot in 2011.

Gruesome.

Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)

Released: April 19th, 1961

Running Time: 101 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: SpA Cinematografica, Comptoir Francais du Film Production

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/42576-ercole-alla-conquista-di-atlantide?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_and_the_Conquest_of_Atlantis

My Thoughts

This is one of those instances where you're watching a Sword and Sandal flick and you're not really sure what the title of the film is, is it "Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis", or is it "Hercules and the Captive Women", or is it "Ercole Alla Conquista Di Atlantide"? well, i guess it's really all three...and the main character is Hercules but you're not sure of the names of any other characters and you're definitely not sure what the central plot is.

The audio and the video quality is really poor and it's dubbed into English so it's really hard to follow what's going on from scene to scene...

...thank the flying spaghetti monster for Wikipedia which clarified the plot for me...

a guy wants to go on a trip that could be dangerous and he wants Hercules to come. Hercules has had enough adventure and wants to stay with his wife and son. Guy kidnaps Hercules and takes him on the adventure while his son tags along. Hercules rescues a foxy women for his son and fights some Aryan clones and Atlantis is destroyed by volcanic eruption, or something.

What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

The Phantom Planet (1961)

Released: Dec 13th, 1961

Running Time: 90 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution: American International Pictures

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/27717-the-phantom-planet?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_Planet

My thoughts

opening voiceover 0:17 to 1:40

So some human spaceships are lost somewhere in the solar system. Another ship is sent out to investigate and the ship suffers damage from a meteor shower and accident and captain Chapman finds himself on a meteor occupied by tiny humanoids exactly like Earth humans but smaller, like 6 inches tall. Chapman is initially regular size but when he breathes the atmosphere, he turns small like the natives, who are mostly dressed in O.R. scrubs...at least the laborers are.

The natives put captain Chapman on trial, and convict him, but then allow him to remain free and be a citizen. They assign him quarters and try to integrate him into society, which is about 25 or 30 people, it seems.

One of the elders explains why their society is the way that it is 33:36 to 34:40. They had machines doing all the work and people got lazy with too much free time. This lead to chaos and fighting so the society decided to return to primitive ways while keeping vital technology. What does that even mean? How can you return to primitive ways while maintaining access to some vital technology? Sounds like elites maintain access to vital technology so that they can rule over the masses.

The captain and another main character have a duel over a women. They take off their shirts and have a feat of strength contest with the loser is supposed to be crushed by some "gravity plate" technology. So much for using technology for vital purposes only.

Eventually, the Solarites (fire people) attack the asteroid in their fire ships but they are destroyed, Jack Champan and the brunette fall in love, and Chapman has an opportunity to go back home and takes it. When rescued, Chapman is unsure of whether what just happened, just happened or was just a dream.

social commentary

  • handling of refugees/outsiders

  • machines freed up people's time > lead to chaos > too much free time > returned to primitive ways > kept vital technology

I don't think you can have a society that is both a return to primitive ways and maintains some vital technology.

What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

Eegah (1962)

Released: Jun 8th, 1962

Running Time: 89 minutes

Budget: $15,000

Distribution: Fairway International Pictures

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/31287-eegah?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eegah

Summary:

Roxy is driving home through the desert one night and she encounters a "giant". Roxy's father decides to go out to the desert and look for the giant and when he doesn't show up at his rendezvous, Roxy and her boyfriend go looking for him.

Roxy and her father have been captured by the giant and the boyfriend rescues them. The giant pursues them and eventually shows up at their posh home in the suburbs, disrupting a backyard pool party to try to steal Roxy. The Sheriff's department shots him dead.

My Thoughts

Terrible!

I wanted to like this movie before i watched it but it was so pointless and boring...at least the first half.

here is a scene where Eegah has Roxy and her dad in his cave and Eegah is trying to get Roxy to eat a giant bone with meat on it and her dad gestures to Eegah to get Roxy something to drink from his smoking cauldron of dry ice 42:20 to 43:15

There are several scenes where the boyfriend sings 1:21:00 to 1:21:40

Roxy, is a little foxy!

What's the Verdict?

"Skip it"

Monstrosity (1963)

TV release title The Atomic Brain

Released: September 1963

Running Time: 64 minutes

Budget: $ ???

Distribution: Emerson Film Enterprises

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/37464-monstrosity?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monstrosity_(film)

Plot Summary

Thoughts

25:14 to 25:50 this is supposed to be a girl from England and a girl from Austria. We all know that girls from Austria sound like this (clip "and that is how we say goodbye in Austria, Dr Jones")

Son of Hercules in the Land of Darkness (1964)

Released: March 19, 1964 (Italy)

Running Time: 85 minutes

Budget: $

Distribution:

link https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/85369-ercole-l-invincibile?language=en-US

link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_the_Invincible






Special Thanks

Music for the intro:

Music from https://filmmusic.io

"Sweeter Vermouth" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)





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