Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Continuing our 1st Annual 50’s Sci-Fi Summer Trailerganza

This film has been remade several times but I’ll always like the original best.

The film originally had a more downer of an ending so the studio, Allied Artists, made director Don Siegel film a prologue and epilogue that is a little more hopeful. Siegel didn’t like the new version but I prefer it.

You can buy it here for around $15.00.

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The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1954)

Are We Delving Into Mysteries We Weren’t Meant To Know?

Is Mankind Challenging Powers Behind The Cosmic Barriers?

Will Science Unleash The Fearsome Forces Of Lost Worlds?

It’s a shame they don’t make trailers like this anymore.

Like the previous movie in our 1st Annual 50’s Sci-Fi Summer Trailerganza, the special effects in this one are also by Ray Harryhausen. In fact, it was the first movie where he was in charge of the visual effects (he was an assistant on 1949’s Mighty Joe Young).

The movie was inspired by the Ray Bradbury’s story “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” (changed to “The Fog Horn” in later collections), which was published in The Saturday Evening Post in June of 1951. The movie had another title at the time but producers wanted to attach Bradbury’s name to the project and they liked one of the scenes depicted in the story so they changed the title and added the Bradbury credit.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Continuing our 1st Annual 50’s Sci-Fi Summer Trailerganza with one of my favorites. When people think of “flying saucer” movies and the way a flying saucer is supposed to look, this is the movie they think of.

The special effects are by Ray Harryhausen. I love the way the aliens look and the weird hazy force field that surround them and the ship. I was going to say that it’s a movie ripe for a remake but in reality we’ve probably sort-of seen remakes of this film many times over the years (and Mars Attacks is pretty much a satire of EVTFS).

You can get the Blu-ray here.

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Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1958)

Continuing our 1st Annual 50’s Sci-Fi Summer Trailerganza with this classic.

What’s hysterical about this movie – well, there are many things that are hysterical about this movie – is how bad the special effects are. Why are she and the alien transparent in many scenes? And the proportions don’t make sense at all. She has a gigantic hand when she’s sick in bed, which means her body is gigantic. How the hell does she even fit in the house? In a bed?

A bigger question: why am I trying to apply logic to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman?

Yvette Vickers, who plays the woman at the bar who has an affair with 50 Ft.’s hubby, met a sad end. She did a commentary track for the DVD with film historian Tom Weaver which you can buy here.

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You guessed it: this scene never appears in the movie. Great poster though!

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

More of our 1st Annual 50’s Summer Sci-Fi Trailerganza.

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the release of what many would call “the worst movie of all-time.” Hey, it’s better than most of Adam Sandler’s films. Here’s the trailer.

It’s a fascinating movie, not just because of how the final product came out but what happened behind the scenes, from Bela Lugosi dying during filming (and being replaced in certain scenes by director Ed Wood’s wife’s chiropractor, and it’s painfully obvious it’s not Lugosi) to how Wood got the money to make the movie. The special effects and dialogue are, well, amateurish to say the least, but you can also sense that Wood was trying and had a love of the genre.

You may know a lot of this from Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. If you haven’t seen it, take a look. I believe it’s Burton and Johnny Depp’s best movie.

You can buy the DVD here.

Earth vs. the Spider (1958)

Continuing the 1st Annual 50’s Sci-Fi Summer Trailerganza, this flick is also known as The Spider, but that title isn’t half as cool as Earth vs. the Spider. (Note: the Earth really doesn’t go up against the spider, it’s just a small town). They changed the title to something more basic after The Fly became a hit.

This is one of my favorite monster movies. The scenes in the big cave are well-done, and there’s a scene where the spider is awakened by the power of rock ‘n roll.

You can buy the DVD here (make sure you don’t get the 2001 remake). It’s a double feature, teamed with War of the Colossal Beast, another Bert I. Gordon film.

The Blob (1958)

Yes, the theme song really doesn’t fit and Steve McQueen plays a teenager when in real-life he was 27, but this is a great flick. It’s tense, the special effects are done in a way that’s genuinely unsettling, and the whole small town vibe is well-done.

They remade it in 1998, and that movie is well done too, but I prefer the original. At one point Rob Zombie was going to do a remake, but those plans fell apart. There’s also been talk of another remake, this one starring Samuel L. Jackson, but nothing has come of that either.

You can buy it here (the Blu-ray is even cheaper than the DVD).