DISCOVER--twelve second-rate 1950s sci-fi movies worth a look

One of my other lists offers the twelve best vintage pulp sci-fi movies ever made. Another lists fifty failures that didn't quite make the grade. But I felt that there were some films that, while they didn't qualify as quality must-see material, don't quite deserve to be thrown in the trash either. In fact, they're quite enjoyable. So here they are.
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1.
The Giant Behemoth (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Marine atomic tests cause changes in the ocean's ecosystem resulting in dangerous blobs of radiation and the resurrection of a dormant dinosaur that threatens London. (80 mins.)
“ One of the many dinosaur films that tried to cash in on The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, this is a competent clone that holds the interest. ” - jonabbott56
 
2.
The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Gor, a powerful criminal brain from the planet Arous, assumes the body of scientist Steve March. Through March... (71 mins.)
Director: Nathan Hertz
“ Who couldn't resist a floating disembodied malevolent brain from outer space with a real bad attitude and the ability to control minds? ” - jonabbott56
 
3.
The Giant Claw (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  
Global panic ensues when it is revealed that a mysterious UFO is actually a giant bird that flies at supersonic speed and has no regard for life or architecture. (75 mins.)
Director: Fred F. Sears
“ The flying beady-eyed buzzard that dominates this paint-by-numbers creature feature from Universal has passed into legend. A must-see. ” - jonabbott56
 
4.
The Hideous Sun Demon (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  
After exposure to radiation, an atomic research scientist finds himself changing into a murderous, lizard-like creature every time he is exposed to sunlight. (74 mins.)
“ Or, as everybody else knows it, The Hideous Sun Demon. A valiant independent production by leading man Robert Clarke with a cool rubber monster suit. ” - jonabbott56
 
5.
The Horror of Party Beach (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  
Sea creatures created from radioactive sludge terrorize a beach community. (78 mins.)
Director: Del Tenney
“ Amphibious monsters run amok in this lively horror sci-fi that is better than it has any right to be. No dead weight, and the scenes showing the monsters forming in the polluted water are excellent. ” - jonabbott56
 
6.
Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A teenage couple accidentally awakens an alien after hitting it with their car. (69 mins.)
Director: Edward L. Cahn
“ Better known as Invasion of the Saucer Men. Would have been a classic if there'd been just a bit more of the aliens, which are wonderful. ” - jonabbott56
 
7.
It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A giant, radioactive octopus rises from the Philippine Trench to terrorize the North American Pacific Coast. (79 mins.)
Director: Robert Gordon
“ Stop-motion sea creature (by Harryhausen) attacks San Francisco. Standard storyline leads to okay final scenes in the manner of Beast From 20,000 Fathoms again. ” - jonabbott56
 
8.
It Conquered the World (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
A well meaning scientist guides an alien monster to Earth from Venus, so that he can rid mankind of feelings and emotions - but only death and sorrow results. (71 mins.)
Director: Roger Corman
“ This is the one with the famous fanged vegetable monster who looks so great in all the stills but so silly on the screen. As with the Saucer-Men and The She Creature, there is far too little of the alien. The surrounding story is quite dull. ” - jonabbott56
 
9.
Missile to the Moon (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  
Escaped convicts Gary and Lon are caught hiding in a rocket by scientist Dirk Green, who forces them to pilot the ship to the moon... (78 mins.)
Director: Richard Cunha
“ Another of those silly Amazon women in space yarns, but it keeps relentlessly on and features some great Ditko-esque rock monsters. ” - jonabbott56
 
10.
The Mole People (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
A party of archaeologists discovers the remnants of a mutant five-millennia-old Sumerian civilization living beneath a glacier atop a mountain in Mesopotamia. (77 mins.)
Director: Virgil Vogel
“ Reasonably entertaining pot-boiler with amusing adversaries who emerge from beneath the ground to attack explorers who find a lost civilisation. ” - jonabbott56
 
11.
The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Giant mollusk monsters attack California. (84 mins.)
Director: Arnold Laven
“ Standard storyline in the Them/Deadly Mantis/Giant Claw tradition, but seriously underrated. Great monster. ” - jonabbott56
 
12.
20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The first U.S. spaceship to Venus crash-lands off the coast of Sicily on its return trip. A dangerous, lizard-like creature comes with it and quickly grows gigantic. (82 mins.)
Director: Nathan Juran
“ Monster emerges from egg and terrorises city as it grows ever larger. The usual plot mostly reserved for dinosaurs and giant sea creatures is employed for one of Harryhausen's stop motion menaces more commonly seen in his mythical Sinbad stuff. This creature came from space, and just for a change, terrorises Italy.


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Obsessed with the popular culture of the 1960s and surrounding decades, Jon Abbott has been writing about film and TV for over thirty years in around two dozen different publications, trade, populist, and specialist. He is the author of several books, including

Irwin Allen Television Productions 1964-1970,
Stephen J. Cannell Television Productions: A History of All Series and Pilots,
The Elvis Films,
Cool TV of the 1960s: Three Shows That Changed the World, and Strange New World: Sex Films of the 1970s.

See his Amazon author's page, and his other lists on the IMDB, all under the pre-fix DISCOVER. ” - jonabbott56 ” - jonabbott56