309. The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)

Impact invites imitation. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) reaped large grosses and Jim Nicholson of American International Pictures had the option to Homer Eon Flint’s book The Nth Man on a man 10 miles high. Roger Corman was announced as director and Bert I. Gordon replaced him. The actor Dick Miller almost won the part of Glenn and the film spawned a sequel War of the Colossal Beast (1958) the next year. Chores, A Plant That Reviews Music, Non-Permanent Tattoos, How To Be Sensitive, Joel IS 50 Feet Tall, Glenn Stops By, Giant Syringes. “Hey American International House of Pancakes”, “Do you know where your children are?”, “Oh yeah, you WISH!!!” “Get your stinkin credits out of my face!!!” or “I AM BIROC!!!”?


I…like the movie.


Oh, sure. Saw it many times on tv when I was young.


309 Promo.


Mystery Science Theater Hour Wraps on The Amazing Colossal Man (1957).


Best of 309.


On Turkey Day 91, Dr. F introduces The Amazing Colossal Man (1957).

1 Like

The one Rhino VHS that never made it to DVD…


I still have the tape.


Glenn Meets The SOL.


Is He Alive Or Memorex.

1 Like

How To Be Sensitive.

1 Like

I suppose it could be coincidence, but it seems quite stretch to believe that Bert I. Gordon’s focus on size abnormalities in his movies wasn’t at least partially on account of his initials. Much like Robot Monster, this film’s notoriety is in part thanks to regularly being screened by horror hosts across the nation. No surprise on that score, as it has all the traits you expect to see in a 1950s B feature. The abnormal growth of Glenn Manning is courtesy of nuclear radiation, but the pseudo-science doesn’t stop there. Apparently, his heart is growing at a slower rate, which gets explained as being due to the heart being a single cell. I’m not sure if Mr. Gordon misinterpreted some obscure scientific fact or he just pulled it out of his hinder, but Joel and the Bots subject it to considerable derision.

It could be due to either a mediocre acting performance or my own low tolerance for angst, but Manning’s constant bemoaning of his fate makes him come across as a mopey whiner. Eventually he completely loses it, going on a King Kong style rampage in Las Vegas before eventually taking a fatal tumble off the Hoover Dam. Or is it?


This is probably Bert I. Gordon’s best film along with Attack of the Puppet People, the latter of which is pretty much a long Twilight Zone episode. Is it great? No. But, it’s not mind-numbingly bad like Beginning of the End or its ill-advised and unneeded sequel.


One of my all-time favorites! This is the very first episode of MST3K that I taped off TV by way of the Mystery Science Theater Hour. That would explain why I didn’t buy this one when Rhino released it on VHS, which I could still kick myself in the butt over.

But yeah, this one’s fantastic. The movie tries so hard to be profound and super-serious, but by putting its heart on its sleeve and going with a somber tone for such a ridiculous story (that “imagine the heart as one cell” analogy is just dumb as hell), it leaves itself WIDE OPEN for a barrage of trademark MST3K wisecracks.

It sets the tone right away with that great opening with the army guys in a trench waiting for a plutonium detonation (Glenn: “You’ll just have to wait it out-” Servo: “For the rest of your life.”). Joel’s riff over the wayward plane is just wonderful: “Oh, no, it’s Amelia Earhart, she picked a bad time to come back!”

But my favorite part of this is the triple riff when Glenn runs out to save the downed pilot while Army command tries to keep him from running out before the detonation can occur:

Servo with an Irish brogue: “Glenn, this is your Father O’Malley. Come back, boy! It’s not worth it!”
Crow with an old lady voice: “Glenn, this is your first grade teacher, don’t do it!”
Joel: “Glenn, this is your mother. If you stop, I’ll make your favorite dish.”

Then we get into the stuff I love: SUPER-DARK HUMOR. And you get as Glenn lies in recovery at the Army hospital. (Why he wasn’t vaporized by the detonation is beyond me, but whatevs.)

SO MANY GREAT RIFFS as a toasty Glenn tries to recuperate from the explosion:

Crow: “Uh, yeah, never drink while you’re under the sunlamp.”

Joel as doctor: “I think we’ll make him into a pinata.”

Servo: “Hey, that’s pasta! He’s the Amazing Colossal Lasagna now!”

Glenn’s fiancee Carol: “How is he?”
Servo as nurse who’s shaking her head: “He’s not. He’s not anything.”

Reporter to Carol: “If you talked about him, it would help.”
Servo: “D’oh!”

Carol about Glenn: “He still ribs me about my driving.”
Joel: “RIBS! That’s what I’m hungry for!”

But when Glenn starts growing and becoming amazingly colossal? The episode takes off EVEN MORE!

Joel: “Well, you have an all-night bender and your college buddies play tricks on ya.”

Crow as Glenn: “I’m being held in… Barbie’s Malibu Dream House!”
Servo: “Wait until he sees the toilet.”


It’s just silly and ridiculous all over the place, like when you see a giant Glenn and Carol just having a random conversation by Carol’s car out in the open, prompting a hell of a lot of great riffs:

Servo: “Who do you think drove?”

Crow: “Hey, don’t laugh, Glenn, we’re on a fault line!”

Glenn: “I don’t want to grow anymore.”
Joel: “I’m a Toys R’ Us kid.”
Joel: “I’M A TOYS R’ US KID!”

Crow as Glenn stalks off: “Oh, that’s the problem, he was sitting on a bush.”

AND WHEN HE GOES ON HIS BIG UNINTENTIONALLY CAMPY RUN THROUGH VEGAS and throws down the giant cowboy sign and plays with the big crown and grabs a mammoth shoe and launches the huge hypodermic needle (Servo: “And THIS is why lawn darts were taken off the market!”)… I mean, it’s all great.

Even in the movie’s talkier scenes, it feels like this episode doesn’t slow down. A gem of an episode, and it stinks that this one isn’t available on DVD or streaming.


From top to bottom, these host segments are BOSS.

You have Joel trying to get the Bots out of their cardboard fort (Servo: “We are not allowed to fraternize with the hu-man!”), an awesome Invention Exchange that gives us Kevin Murphy as Robert Plant, the Bots showing incredible insensitivity in the face of Joel’s sensitivity lecture, Joel role-playing as the Amazing Colossal Man (“Aaaah! Ooooh! No!”), Mike swinging by the SOL as the Amazing Colossal Man, and a fun “what would you do if you were amazingly colossal?” thought exercise that does not end well for Frank.

A classic, through and through.


All of this!

I think I only caught the first half of the movie on MST3K Hour, so it was a long time before I finally saw the second half. I could quote so much of it. The one riff that caught me off guard and cemented my love of the show was:
Soldier: “Can we smoke, sir?”
Joel (as Glenn): “I don’t care if you burst into flames.”

There’s one riff Joel says when Glenn’s at the hospital that I can’t hear right. I hear “And then it says remove ranch tankle ha ha ha.” This bothers me, so someone with better ears or captions, help?


That’s a reference to a commercial for the Operation game, I think!

I believe he’s saying, “And then it says, ‘Remove wrenched ankle’…”



Most excellent, glad you dig it as you do!


That makes so much more sense. I got irritated at that line, which is jarring for that whole sequence.

“Another unit of blood, please.”
“Any kind. Tap’s okay.”