DRIVE-IN RETRO CLASSICS: SCIENCE FICTION TRIPLE FEATURE (DVD Review)
FROM CORINTH FILMS
Review by Mr. Paws😼
This trio of sci-fi quickies would probably have been lost forever if not for the efforts of Wade Williams, a lifelong film fan who spent a good portion of his career buying the rights to forgotten old B-movies (just in time to take advantage of the '80s home video boom). While none are classics, a couple have since earned a cult following and might even be of minor historical importance to the genre.
1950’s Rocketship X-M is noteworthy for being one of the first films to attempt a realistic depiction of space travel. Quickly - and cheaply - produced to beat Destination Moon into theaters, the plot features a crew of five shooting for the moon but accidentally ending up on Mars. Inevitably, some of the science is humorously dated - as are the constant reminders that the lone female crew member is “just a woman” - but the film is more grounded in reality than most ‘50s-era sci-fi and comes to a surprisingly downbeat conclusion, which was atypical of the genre at the time. Also noteworthy is the cast, featuring a handful of familiar faces, including Lloyd Bridges, Hugh O’Brian and Noah Beery, Jr.
|"Most ladies enjoy my dirty limericks."|
The Hideous Sun Demon is the worst of the lot. Sort of a backwards werewolf story, the plot has yet-another scientist (Robert Clarke) exposed to radiation which transforms him into a scaly, murderous monster whenever he’s exposed to the sun. The performances, dialogue and creature effects are uniformly terrible, which might’ve been good for a few shits & giggles if not for the fact that the film is absurdly padded out to feature length by interminable stretches of our “hero” getting frisky with a gangster’s girlfriend. Amateurishly made, it also sounds like the whole thing was shot using a single on-set microphone.
The picture quality varies from film to film. Rocketship X-M sports a pretty clean image, while the other two feature brief segments that the ravages of time must have rendered irreparable. But hey, it ain’t like anyone’s pining for 4K editions of these titles. For the most part, they look and sound pretty good for their age. These films may not be "classics," but they're certainly retro.