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Clint Eastwood’s (uncredited) screen debut is one of the minor highlights of Revenge of the Creature (1955), the first in the B movie madness program block on the World Movies Channel from December 5, 2009. But there is much, much more...

When post-war traumas, Cold War tensions and spooky space explorations chipped at the cracks of the thin veneer of the plastic-wrapped American dream, B-movies tapped into this quietly simmering hysteria and released the dark demons in the face of the glistening facade of the 1950s and 1960s.

Bloodcurdling impressions of the future and old-school special effects take us back to a time when the imagination of the Hollywood Golden Age conjured the most dreadful visions of the coming times and the evil that would threaten our world.

Dormant for almost half a century, these oft-underrated B-grade horror films of the 50s and 60s are now more like cinematic novelties to be treasured.

Revenge of the Creature (1955) dir Jack Arnold – Dec 5, 2009
In the sequel to Creature From The Black Lagoon, scientists capture the half-man, half-fish “Gill-man” deep in the Amazon and tentatively transport him to an oceanarium in Florida to be studied by scientist Clete Ferguson (John Agar) and ichthyology student Helen Dobson (Lori Nelson). (Clint Eastwood plays a lab assistant – who misplaces a rat in his labcoat pocket . . .) Typical of his previous conduct, the monster becomes obsessed with the beautiful student and after escaping his enclosure, hunts her down and kidnaps her. Now Clete must join the local police in finding and rescuing Helen from her obsessed captor.

The Monster That Changed the World (1957) dir Arnold Laven – Dec 12, 2009
Underwater seismic activity in California’s Salton Sea releases a nest of eggs from a long-extinct sea monster, the hatchlings of which resemble giant snails. The prehistoric molluscs escape into an underground sewer where they procreate rapidly and surface to wreak havoc and feed on the blood of land dwelling beings. The film was inspired by the real life phenomenon of prehistoric shrimp eggs that were reconstituted by scientists after several million years.

It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1957) dir Edward L. Cahn – Dec 19, 2009
An exploration mission to Mars has crashed in space and a team of astronauts are sent to collect the only survivor of the wreck, Col. Edward Carruthers. His fellow crew have been murdered mysteriously but Carruthers’ story of a creature in space being to blame is met with hostility and disbelief. While preparing to return to Earth, a hatch on the spacecraft is unsecured and as they blast off, they realise they are stowing an unwanted guest on-board. The crew’s scepticism of Carruthers’ story dwindles as the body count mounts.

The Angry Red Planet (196) dir Ib Melchior – Dec 26, 2009
Signals are received from a spacecraft of a Mars expedition crew presumed lost in space. Mission control brings the vessel back to earth by remote control but cannot communicate with anyone on board. Upon the ship’s landing, it is discovered that only two crewmembers have returned alive, one with a peculiar green growth on his arm. The other survivor recollects horrific events that took place on Mars, and their encounters with terrifying monsters, man-eating plants and a Martian city.

Tales Of Terror (1962) dir Roger Corman - Jan 2, 2010
an adaptation of three Edgar Allan Poe stories starring horror legend Vincent Price, and Peter Lorre. In Morella, Price plays an alcoholic who is visited by the daughter he blames for his wife's death, 26 years previously. The Black Cat brings sardonic humour to the table with the famous tale of the foulmouthed Montresor (Lorre) who, embittered with jealousy does the unspeakable to his wife and her lover. Then, in Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar a mesmerist, who is employed to keep the sick M. Valdemar in a trance halfway between life and death, falls in love with his patient’s wife.

Journey To The Seventh Planet (1962) dir Sydney W. Pink - Jan 9, 2010
In the year 2001, the UN is the governing body of the world, and humans have learned to live together in harmony. (Optimistic premise!) Most of space has been charted, but for the seventh planet from the sun, Uranus. An international crew is sent to explore the mysterious sphere, which they find to be very strange indeed. On Uranus, they discover that a mysterious and hostile presence is turning their own thoughts and imaginings into mirages. Voluptuous women and childhood memories fill the landscape and soon the men are imagining their darkest and most terrible fears!

The Haunted Palace (1963) dir Roger Corman - Jan 16, 2010
H.P. Lovecraft’s creepily imagined tale The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward is cleverly adapted for film by Director Roger Corman and stars horror veteran Vincent Price. A village in New England is gripped by the terrible curse of Joseph Curwen, a suspected Warlock that the townsfolk burnt at the stake a century ago for putting spells on the young girls of the village. Returning from the dead to torment the descendants of his killers, Curwen will not rest until the last resident has met a terrible fate.

The Comedy of Terrors

The Comedy Of Terrors (1963) dir Jacques Tourneur - Jan 23, 2010
Hilariously mischievous horror duo Vincent Price and Peter Lorre star in Jacques Tourneur’s darkly comic tale of a funeral director (Price) who, struggling to keep his business financially buoyant, creates work for himself by murdering people in their homes. His sidekick (Lorre) helps him in bumping off their landlord who, unbeknownst to them, suffers periods of death-like sleep. Thinking their job is done, the duo of death return home to enjoy their newfound wealth only to be paid a visit from their presumed dead landlord.

Queen Of Blood (1966) dir Curtis Harrington - Jan 30, 2010
Dennis Hopper stars alongside John Saxon in a precursor to numerous similarly themed horror flicks of recent years. The year is 1990 and Earth receives a distress call from an alien spacecraft that has crashed on Mars. Dr Farraday (Basil Rathbone) sends a team of astronauts, including Allan Brenner (Saxon) and Paul Grant (Hopper) on a rescue mission. On the planet they discover there is only one survivor - a deviously vampish alien queen with a penchant for blood plasma! Realising too late, the crew are earthward bound, and they have no idea what they are bringing home with them!

Published November 26, 2009

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Revenge of the Creature

The WORLD MOVIES Channel is available in Australia through Subscription TV providers FOXTEL, OPTUS TELEVISION and AUSTAR. Its easy to get connected

B movie madness:
Saturday Nights on World Movies at 8:30pm throughout December and January

Queen of Blood

Tales of Terror

Terror From Beyond Space

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