Tuesday, October 05, 2010
31 Days of Halloween - Day 5 - Movie 1
Robert Clarke, who starred in The Man From Planet X not only stars, but also conceived of, produced and co-directed The Hideous Sun Demon (1959). This movie which reverses the usual man into monster trend of having the moon as an activating agent, is about an alcoholic scientist who is exposed to high doses of radiation at the lab and now changes into a scaly reptilian creature whenever exposed to the sun. The monster still has enough intelligence to remain dressed, drive a car and remember his own address, but is surprisingly violent. The scenes of violence are all suggested more than shown but have a brutality to them not usually seen in this sort of movie from this time period.
Clarke is rather good as the suffering scientist and puts his all into scenes where his character laments what has happened to him. The rest of the cast ranges from fair to amateurish at best. Clarke stages some good action sequences, particularly at the climax and makes good use of his miniscule budget. the monster suit by Richard Cassarino (who also has three roles in the movie including the cop who follows the monster up the tower in the climax) is actually pretty good, and most of the time it is carefully lighted so that the wrinkles caused by bunching up at the joints doesn't show too often.
The real drawback to this movie is the screenplay which is poorly structured, contains implausible science which is further strained by lengthy explanation scenes involving textbooks and slide shows. Most of the characters come and go with no rhyme or reason, some, such as the radiation expert called in to help the afflicted scientist, completely superfluous as they make no contributions whatsoever. Clarke's character begins the movie romantically involved with his assistant Ann (Patricia Manning) but flees from her when his condition appears, only to get involved with Trudy (Nan Peterson) a voluptuous singer/piano player at a crummy bar, who later disappears from the movie for good while Ann reappears trying to help him.
I can't really recommend this movie. It's exactly the kind of movie that used to fill Saturday afternoon UHF broadcasts way back when, which means it's truly disposable entertainment at best.