(The above Summary line is not my own but was given to this clunker by the Medved Brothers several years ago in their GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS books.) (*May contain spoilers*) This movie is a BOMB. What started out as a serious attempt to do a good sci-fi B-monster movie was reduced to trivial junk by the incredibly bad special visual effects, among the worst to ever be seen in a movie. This dubious honor goes to Ralph Hammeras, who before this ridiculous mess, had a solid career as a special visual effects artist and cameraman. However the guilt does not fall on him alone. When we think of Columbia Pictures in the 1950s, we must remember B-movie unit line producer Sam Katzman, who endeared himself to no one. Katzman is the real responsible party for making this film a useless dud. We are fortunate that his attempts to obfuscate the fine visual effects work of Ray Harryhausen and Charles H. Schneer on their three black & white classics made while working with Katzman at Columbia, were futile, and Harryhausen managed to keep Katzman from ruining his pictures too by not allowing him into his studio, although he couldn't keep him off the set. Katzman was a bargain-basement low-budget B-movie maestro whose work is for the most part forgettable. It was his decision to force Hammeras into doing the visual effects on a shoestring budget (which looks like about $1.98) down at a low-rent studio in Mexico City because Hollywood was just too expensive for Katzman's budget. The results on the screen are painfully obvious as a fairly good third-rate script was trashed to complete hysterics by the gangly, ugly giant bird-on-a-string which menaces no one but the actors who are painfully annoyed. Film star Jeff Morrow (THIS ISLAND EARTH, 1955, and KRONOS, 1957) told me this film was the biggest mistake of his career, causing him no small amount of grief at the box office and the scathingly laughable reviews. When he signed to do the picture, he had no idea that the visual effects work would be so patently ridiculous. Morrow's acting in the picture is superb as Captain Mitchell McAfee, reminding us of Ken Tobey's performance in The THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951). However, apart from the fine work of supporting character actors Morris Ankrum and Robert Shayne, that's where the praise for this film must end. (Morrow had done such an admirable job in the classic sci-fi B-thriller KRONOS also released in the summer of 1957, which holds up so well even today, though dated, because of its thoughtful, literate script, fine cast, production values and impressive but uneven special visual effects which made the film work so well.) When he went to the premiere screening of the film at the Fox Westwood Theater with his wife Anna Karen and friends, he told me he just wanted to crawl down under the seat and hide when he saw this spindly papier-mache marionette puppet as his character's nemesis. He then got up and walked out of the theater and went to the nearest pub for a stiff drink, and never saw the entire film until several years later on TV. He was still embarrassed by this movie to the end of his days. Incredibly bad, ridiculous mess is now only worth watching to laugh at. A useless waste of all the talent involved, including Hammeras, who could have been doing something much more worthwhile with his time than making this bomb for Katzman. Watch at your own risk - don't let your friends catch you watching this!
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