Visual effects guru and B Movie director Bert I. Gordon won the nickname Mr. B.I.G. for his initials and his habit of spotlighting supersized animals in his films. King Dinosaur (1955), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Beginning of the End (1957), Earth Vs. The Spider (1958), War of the Colossal Beast (1958), Village of the Giants (1965), The Food of the Gods (1976), Empire of the Ants (1977). Nature goes postal and the humans are helpless to stop it. Peter Graves, John Agar, Tommy Kirk, Ron Howard, Ralph Meeker, Joan Collins, stardom is no match against process shots. Beat Poetry, The Pocket Scientist, Incredibly Stinky Sweat Socks, X Marks The Spot, Joey The Lemur, The Emotional Scientist Sketch, Robert L. Lippert. “Oh no, Robert Lippert?”, “Pretty sad, huh?”, “Tom Gries and the whole world Gries with him.” “Your careers are finally almost over” or “It looks like the Valdez has been here”?
Invention Exchange. The Pocket Scientist and Incredibly Stinky Sweat Socks.
The Emotional Scientist Sketch.
Trailer to King Dinosaur (1955).
The cruelty to animals and women in this one makes it hard to watch. Sticking fins and things on various reptiles isn’t unusual for movies of this era, but watching them forced to fight each other takes away the fun really fast.
The movie itself is just weird. Here’s some “scientists” sent to
Wisconsin a mysterious planet, and when they get there all they do is complain about their amazing opportunity. Until they nuke the creatures they should be really excited to study. I think they just grabbed some people from the local dive bar and shot them into space for some reason.
Yeah, I have a big problem watching animal cruelty on the screen, so I have issues with this one and with Catching Trouble. Probably won’t be watching them again unless I do another rewatch for completeness’ sake.
Also, the end of this movie is so damn nihilistic. “That island has bad stuff on it, might as well blow it up.”
Finally, a short that isn’t a serial chapter. X Marks the Spot was a hopeless attempt to encourage New Jersey drivers to follow traffic laws. It even goes so far (this being the early 1940s) as to connect it to the War Effort. Because everything was tied to the War Effort at the time, no matter how tortured or convoluted the reasoning.
It tells the story of Joe Doakes, New Jersey’s worst driver. We get treated to a multitude of scenes featuring his careless driving. I’ve got to say that the stunt drivers really earned their pay, as most of the scenes are terrifying to watch. As you might expect, Joe eventually dies and to his horror learns that good driving habits are a key component to getting past the Pearly Gates. What’s more, instead of defending him, his guardian angel unloads about what a hellish nightmare his existence has been ever since he was assigned to Joe. By the end of it all, about the only good thing that can be said of him is that he was never responsible for a hit and run.
As for the feature, it was the solo directorial debut (he previously co-directed Serpent Island with Tom Gries) of Bert I. Gordon. The plot involves a team of four scientists with a wide range of skill sets being sent to a newly discovered planet. Since two of them are men and two of them are women, it’s a foregone conclusion that there will be plenty of nookie. As it happens, the planet is identical to Earth, both in the general environment and the fauna. Only this being a Bert I. Gordon film, much of the fauna is made gigantic thanks to slapdash process photography.
Another reason for bringing the women folk is so they can provide the screaming for when they encounter the huge critters. Dear Gawd, so much screaming. Of course, the piece de resistance is the giant iguana which the film tries to convince us is a T. Rex. No dice, Mr. Gordon. For no particularly good reason, they set off a nuke just before they make the return trip back to Earth.
What makes this host segment so memorable is the expressiveness Trace manages to squeeze out of the puppet through techniques like the angle it’s held at.
What kind of intergalactic team of scientists brings a nuclear warhead with them on a research mission?
Umm… the kind that are fun at parties?
I legit love the Joey the Lemur sketch and think it’s brilliant!
Again I say: The Host Segments Make The Show!
The same kind that throws a weepy tantrum and destroys photographic evidence of a major scientific discovery.
I try to avoid picking on woman protagonists in bad movies who are terrible at hero-ing. It always seems like kicking someone whose leg is already broken (by patriarchy). But I’m just gonna’ say it: these are hands down THE worst heroines in any MST3K show.
But even I won’t go so far as to say that one “hero” was correct to keep literally pushing his “love interest” around and even slam her head into a rock, for Dog’s sake. What a disgusting creep of a not-actor. I hope that later he got rabies and that nobody liked him enough to give him the shots.
The first time I saw this episode, it was probably the first time a movie riffed on MST3K actually made me mad. What a frustrating film.
What angered you exactly? One aspect? Several? Or nearly everything?
The 50s was known as the Atomic Age. A Nuclear this or Atomic that were quite common in Science Fiction then. It became the trendy thing to incorporate in literally everything. Bringing a bomb with them is a symptom of the fascination and novelty of nuclear advances at the time. Same with how these next level vessels in these pictures were powered. Many of them were nuclear. Again a sign of the times.