5 items from 2017
The first visitor from outer space in the ’50s sci-fi boom is one very curious guy, dropping to Earth in a ship like a diving bell and scaring the bejesus out of Sally Field’s mother. Micro-budgeted space invasion fantasy gets off to a great start, thanks to the filmmaking genius of our old pal Edgar G. Ulmer.
Scream Factory / Shout! Factory
1951 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 71 min. / Street Date July 11, 2017 / 27.99
Cinematography: John L. Russell
Film Editor: Fred R. Feitshans, Jr.
Original Music: Charles Koff
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
One of the first features of the 1950s Sci-Fi boom, 1951’s The Man from Planet X set a lot of precedents, cementing the public impression of ‘little green men from Mars’ and »
- Glenn Erickson
When Dan O’Bannon first conceived of his science fiction/action/horror story – about an alien hunting a crew through a spaceship – he could little have known that his idea would lead to a multi-billion-dollar multimedia franchise, one that would still be adding instalments over four decades and counting. That simple premise for Alien – which, in its execution, was essentially a haunted house horror film set in space – launched novelizations, video games, comic books and, most crucially, an ongoing film series that now mixes genre and franchise to build its cohesive universe.
Heavily influenced by a range earlier films, such as 1951’s The Thing From Another World, and 1956’s Forbidden Planet, Dan O’Bannon’s initial creation led to a screen villain whose own nature was so detailed, and whose own story was so intriguing, that its evolution has provided the terrifying framework of this sprawling series, which spans space »
- Sarah Myles
Long live Michael Laughlin. Two years after he released one of my favorite early ‘80s oddities, Strange Behavior (I wrote about it here), he was back to unleash the next chapter in a proposed ‘Strange’ trilogy, Strange Invaders (1983). And while the former is a tribute to Mad Scientist films of the ‘50s via an updated Slasher take, the latter tips its fedora to the great Alien Invasion films of the same era. It may not reach the same dizzyingly weird heights, but Strange Invaders is an affectionate romp that captures the feel of those bygone drive-in classics and solidifies Laughlin’s unique voice.
A co-production between Emi Films and Lone Wolf McQuade Associates, Strange Invaders was released by Orion Pictures in mid September stateside to positive reviews and lackluster box office. Returning only a quarter of its $5 million plus budget, this was the Way of the Laughlin – everyone liked his movies, »
- Scott Drebit
For many people, Alien (1979) is the yardstick by which all “creature on a spaceship” films are measured. However, the first few inches on that stick are occupied by It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), an effective low budget shocker that helped write the template still used in sci-fi and horror today. Climb aboard for a 69 minute rocket ride to Mars and back with an unwanted passenger. And no, I don’t mean (insert name or political affiliate you hate here).
Released in August stateside by United Artists, with a November drop in the U.K., It! was mostly dismissed by critics, with the exception of Variety who said, “It’s old stuff, with only a slight twist.” In the B world, that’s as close to a rave as one might get from the mainstream media, and that’s fine; audiences enjoyed the straightforward thrills and somewhat unique concept offered up, »
- Scott Drebit
Kurt Russell is amazing. That’s all there really is to it, quite frankly. Hell, he’s so cool that when he gets cast in a Marvel superhero movie they decide he’s not going to play a superhero. He’s not even going to play a baddie. He’s going to play a planet! That’s right, a planet – in the eagerly awaited Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 Russell will be playing Ego The Living Planet, and frankly there’s no greater compliment to one of the coolest men to have ever walked the earth.
Many readers however may not beaware of his galactic level of cool, however – even after an ice cold performance as Jimmy Harrell, rig supervisor and all-round good egg in Deepwater Horizon, out on 4k Uhd Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on the 30th January courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Sure, recent outings in The Hateful Eight, »
5 items from 2017
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