20 Million Miles to Earth – Movie review and tribute

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Part of the “Keep Watching the Skies” Blogathon from Cinematic Frontier – Click on logo at right to see more entries of 50’s sci-fi classics!

 

20 Million Miles to Earth

directed by Nathan H. Juranscience-fiction-movies-of-the-1950s-blogathon-04
produced by Charles Schneer
Special effects by Ray Harryhausen

starring:
William Hopper
Joan Taylor
Frank Puglia

 

A US rocket returning from Venus crashes near a fishing village in Italy. Before it sinks beneath the waters depths, a young boy finds a strange figure encased in a gelatinous egg. He trades it to a zoologist and the next day it hatches an amazing little creature. However, this is the 1950’s so rest assured it won’t be ‘little’ for long; it will grow to monstrous proportions. It’s a testament to the amazing work of Ray Harryhausen that the directors of his films are mostly forgotten, but his name and his work lives on. He created a unique creature for this film, part reptilian, part humanoid and part alien, taken from its natural habitat to fend for itself in a strange new world.

Stop-motion animation from Harryhausen (as well as Willis O’Brien) was not Claymation. They did not use clay. They used a metal armature with movable joints, like a skeleton. It was then covered with foam and latex rubber enabling it to hold detail and fixed markings while maintaining flexibility for lifelike movement. For mammals the artists would add hair. You couldn’t get such good detail and movement with clay. Some stop-motion animation involved clay, (Gumby) and others involved wooden puppets (Rankin Bass holiday specials). However, Ymir was made with the aforementioned20-million-miles-to-earth-pic-1 rubber layers and molds over skeletal design. Another big aspect to the magic of stop-motion monster films (one that it shares with Toho’s suitmation effects) is the building of miniature sets. You will see actors running down the street on location, then the monster chasing them on that same street. However, that same street is a miniature version in a studio for which the stop-motion filming can be conducted upon.

Ymir’s humanoid expressions manipulated by the talented and patient hands of Harryhausen, gave the creature empathy. We see shock, disappointment, anger, fear, desperation, all within the reactions of the beast; wide eyes, roars, hand and arm gestures, posture, all used to communicate without words. Because of this, most who see the film feel sad for Ymir’s demise, cringing at the sound of gun shots that bring him down. Ymir’s fight with a zoo elephant brought a special realism to the film and a sense of scale. Ray’s self-drawn storyboards choreographed a tense battle that intercut real elephant footage with his own recreation of the huge mammal.  This was perhaps the greatest creature battle since Kong fought the T. Rex some 25 years previous. Shadows of Ymir will show up in later Harryhausen 20-million-miles-to-earth-postercreatures, the body is similar to his Cyclops in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and his face is similar to the Kraken from Clash of the Titans. The wonderful long tail seems like a prerequisite for the snake-like Medusa. As with most 50s sci-fi/horror, there is a sub-plot following a budding romance concerning, Colonel Robert Calder, the only survivor from the space mission, and the zoologist’ s daughter, Marisa, played by the lovely Joan Taylor.

Charles Schneer was a good friend to Harryhausen and an advocate for his fine craft, working with him on nearly a dozen films. This was Ray’s fourth film depicting giant monsters rampaging through cities. The first was his work under his mentor, Willis O’Brien in Mighty Joe Young. Following that was Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and It Came from Beneath the Sea. Ray and Charles Schneer would move into fantasy adventure films after this, depicting mythological figures in his Sinbad films and other tales of ancient lore.

To younger generations, stop-motion FX doesn’t seem so real. That was part of the charm for our generation. We knew there was an art involved with making these beasts come to life. These FX artists didn’t just copy motions and images from real animals and put it into the creature’s digital repertoire. They infused the model’s movements with their own personality and mannerisms. It’s like the difference between a digital photo of a human face and the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa isn’t perfect and that’s what makes her so. That’s what gives her soul and personality. You can sense Ray’s soul and personality through these films, the creator, the adventurer, the craftsman, and the boy with wide eyed wonder at endless possibilities.

 


 

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They recently digitally colorized the film and it looks like they did a decent enough job. However, I still prefer to watch it in b&w, the way Ray made it.

Once again, be sure to check out the Keep Watching The Skies Blogathon for more 50’s movie classics!



Parlor of Horror’s ‘Creature Feature’ reviews

 

My Top 5 Dinosaur Movies, other than Jurassic Park.

one million years BC pic 8

My Top 5 Dinosaur World Movies, other than Jurassic Park

In preparation for Jurassic World, you may want to catch up on the genre of Dinosaur films. For this list I am speaking of dinosaur worlds, not just single dinosaurs that have been awakened in modern times for the purpose of a film. Dinosaur worlds include; Islands, continents, planets, prehistoric times, underground caverns, etc. I’m also talking about real dinosaurs for the most part, animals that once roamed the earth, not fictional beasts created for sci-fi films.

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5) Planet of Dinosaurs (1977)
We got some beautifully crafted dinosaurs in this film. One of the final forays into stop-motion dinosaur extravaganzas, it is a cult favorite for dinosaur fans. The script and plot ain’t so great but the bevy of fantastic creatures make it worth a viewing.
Dinosaurs: Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Rhedosaurus, Ceratopsian, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Kentrosaurus, Allosaurus, and Struthiomimus

planet of dinosaurs dvd planet of dinosaurs pic 23

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4) The Land that Time Forgot (1978)

The dinosaurs in this film aren’t perfect but this film gets the nod for variety of species and prehistoric beasts. The dinos were scale rod-puppets which made interaction with humans minimal, the giant pterodactyl that carries off the caveman being the exception. A good story penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs lands this in the Top 5. Extra points for the awesome movie poster!
Dinosaurs: Mosasaurus, Plesiosaur, Diplodocus, Pterodactyl, two Allosaurus, two Styracosaurus, Ichthyostega,  Triceratops,  Ceratosaurus

the land that time forgot - poster the land that time forgot pic 19

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3) When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)
With Victoria Vetri running around in a dino hide bikini, it would be hard to take notice of the dinosaurs. However, these dinos are noticed because of their fabulous renditions in stop-motion artistry. The stop-motion dinos were the work of Jim Danforth. There’s not a lot of dinos in the film but they are top notch-Danforth’s work in this film rivals the greats, Harryhausen and O’Brien.
Dinosaurs: Plesiosaur, Chasmosaurus, Rhamphorhynchus, A carnivorous dinosaur based on the Scelidosaurus, (and it’s baby). 

when-dinosaurs-ruled-the-earth-movie-poster-1970 When Dinosaurs ruled the earth pic 6

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2) King Kong (1933)
This is the first mega dinosaur-land presented to the public at a time when most people didn’t have a clear picture of what dinosaurs looked like and were just discovering these creatures. The T. Rex is a fast moving, active beast as described by Charles R. Knight, not the slow sluggish reptiles other scientists were in favor of portraying. The film made Willis O’Brien the father of stop-motion special effects and giant monsters, influencing future directors and filmmakers, Ray Harryhausen, Ishiro Honda, Peter Jackson, Steven Speilberg, and Tim Burton, to name a few. Marcel Delgado built O’Brien’s models and was largely responsible for capturing the look O’Brien wanted for the dinos (and Kong).
Dinosaurs: Pteranodon, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, Styracosaurus (edited out), Elasmosaurus and although he’s not a dino, King Kong

King Kong posterkong

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1) One Million Years BC (1966)
Although given moderate praise through the years, this film contains some of Ray Harryhausen’s most impressive dinosaurs. I think the special effects were overshadowed by Raquel Welch and her fur bikini – (the original furkini, accept no substitutes!). But take a look at the beautiful renditions of the Triceratops and Brontosaurus and you’ll see some master craftsmanship. I’d like to mention that the models were sculpted by Arthur G. Hayward with direction from Ray and designed from Ray’s artwork.
Dinosaurs: Archelon, Brontosaurus, Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, Rhamphorhynchus

one-million-years-bc_thumb one million years BC pic 12

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Honorable Mentions:
Valley of Gwangi (1969)
Once again Harryhausen applies his talents to prehistoric beasts with great success.

Valley of Gwangi poster Valley-Of-Gwangi

 

Dinosaurs (2000)
Despite being a Disney film with talking dinos, it has some great scenes and dino imagery.

dinosaur 2000 poster dinosaur 2000 pic 1

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OK, want to see some more dino pics? Here ya’ go!

Because this post is about Dinosaurs, I’m going to refrain from posting yet another pic of Raquel in her fur bikini. But if you really want to see one look here!

one million years BC pic 3 b

Rare Dinosaur films and where to find them

The animal world dinos pic 13

Rare and obscure Dinosaur films and where to find them

This post is for those interested in special FX, stop-motion animation, and for dinosaur film enthusiasts. The films here would probably not be considered highly entertaining in this day and age without the enjoyment of nostalgia and cinema history. Although some of these can be found on Youtube, my quest was to own copies. You never know when they will be pulled from Youtube because of some copyright dispute.

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The Animal World (1966) – Documentary
The Animal World is a documentary by Irwin Allen (famous for his 1970’s disaster movies, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure) attempting to show the scope of animal evolution from the beginning of time to date. It is all live footage except for a ten minute sequence in the beginning showcasing Dinosaurs. They hired Willis O’Brien for the project who then handed off much of the work to his underling (at the time), Ray Harryhausen. This ten minute sequence featured a Stegosaurus, two Ceratosaurus, a Brontosaurus, a T. Rex and a Triceratops. It is the highlight of the film with some wonderful bloody dino battles and an extinction meteor-hit/volcano sequence. I had originally seen these Dinosaurs on a View Master 3d viewer, because the film itself was rarely played on TV, nor was it easy to get in later years on VHS. Amazingly you can find the entire Harryhausen/O’Brien Dinosaur sequence in the dvd special features of The Black Scorpion.

The animal world dinos small 3 The animal world dinos - harryhausen

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Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955) (1966 US) – Documentary
The 1st time I ever saw this may have been either in school during a science class, or on one of the early educational public broadcast stations, like the ones Sesame Street plays on. Three boys leave the Museum of Natural History, get on a raft and as they float downstream they go back in time. Along the shore we see eras going from the Ice Age to the Age of Dinosaurs as the boys enter periods of misadventure trying to find their way home. This is a hard to get Czeck-made film but I found it on VHS after considerable searching. Hunt for VHS version on Ebay and I-Offer.

journey-to-the-beginning-of-time-poster journey to the beginning of time pic 14

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The Lost World (1925)
The full-length silent movie can be found on the special features DVD of The Lost World (1960) (Irwin Allen). This was Willis Obrien’s first feature film based on the Sir Author Conan Doyle classic adventure. In the end, the crew brings a Brontosaurus back to London.  The beast goes on a rampage through the streets. This definitely feels like a precursor of things to come. Eight Years later, O’Brien would lead his greatest beast into the streets of NYC for the epic film, King Kong (1933).

The Lost World 1925 - pic 5 the-lost-world-movie-poster-1925

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The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1919)
This is another early Willis O’Brien film, a short (approx. 20 minutes). It demonstrates Obie honing his skills at creating/animating dinosaurs while telling an entertaining story (for the time). A man tells his nephews a tale from when he was a boy. There was a mountain top that, if you climbed it, you could see the events of prehistoric times. It has quite a few dinosaurs in it and you can notice the progression of Obie’s rising talents by watching this great little film and comparing it to future movies. It is a silent film so it wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking, but there were aspects I enjoyed. I kinda’ enjoy most things with Dinosaurs, though. You can find the movie in the special features of Planet of Dinosaurs.

ghost of slumber mountain pic 2

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Dinosaurs, The Terrible Lizards (1970) – Wah Chang’s, – Documentary
The Terrible Lizards is a docu-film showing the life of dinosaurs, created and produced by Wah Chung. It was most likely a very good documentary at the time but now seems more applicable to children‘s viewing. A lot of the science is now dated but the visuals are interesting. Another interesting aspect about the film is one of the models was later used as the star dinosaur in the 1970’s children show, Land of The Lost (1974) (Grumpy). Wah Chang worked visual and special fx on a multitude of sci-fi movies including, Planet of the Apes (1968), The Time Machine (1960), Jack the Giant Killer (1962) and Star Trek (TV Series), and of course, the Land of the Lost TV series (1970‘s). He was also an un-credited puppet designer in both, The Black Scorpion and Tarantula. I hope to on day get a better quality version but for now, you can see the whole “Dinosaurs” documentary here on Youtube:

Gallery 1: The Animal World

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Gallery 2: Journey to the Beginning of Time (1966)

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Gallery 3: The Lost World (1925)

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Gallery 4: The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1919)

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Gallery 5:  Dinosaurs, the Terrible Lizards (1970)

The Call of Cthulhu (2005) – Movie review

The Call of Cthulhu pic 14

The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

HPLHS Films

H.P. Lovecraft is considered by many to be the father of 20th century horror. His writing has influenced many horror fiction authors and his books and collections continue to sell to new generations of horror fans looking for the thrill of terror. However, by Hollywood’s standards most of Lovecraft’s works are considered un-filmable; partly because of the grandiose descriptions of ancient cities and cultures, partly because most of his stories are told with multiple flashbacks, and partly because much of his The Call of Cthulhu pic 8stories are the contemplation of ideas and concepts thought about by the main characters. Most Lovecraft stories adapted for film are re-written, quite often completely, leaving only the title, character names and most basic concepts in their wake.

Back in 2005, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society decided to focus on the most faithful adaptation of a Lovecraft story attempted to date. Sean Branney and Andrew Leman set their course unto a world unknown (much like Lovecraft’s characters themselves) and produced an extremely interesting project in “The Call Of Cthulhu”. With Branney adapting the screenplay andThe Call of Cthulhu movie Leman directing, what was birthed is a very ambitious project by a devoted and determined crew.

The Call Of Cthulhu is a period piece set in the time in which Lovecraft wrote the story, 1926. For an interesting decision, Branney and Leman set out to shoot the film mirroring a motion picture that would be filmed in the 1920’s – that being a black & white, silent movie. To stay within their limited budget they employed a multitude of ingenious and creative techniques to tell the story of Cthulhu and the ancient city of R’lyeh and in my opinion they did so with stunning success.

If you have an appreciation for black & white image, Cthulhu is a silver screen gem of chromatic artistry and beauty. The grainy, old style film seems to add a convincing realism to the story. They follow the account of a man entrusted to care for his uncle’s possessions which include a case file on the Cult of Cthulhu, for which the nephew is advised to destroy. Intrigued, the nephew delves into the file which takes him around the world exploring strange and ghastly phenomenon that coincide with the alignment of a chain of heavenly bodies. The alignment of these stars will signal the rebirth of an ancient culture and the return of The Old Ones lead by the monstrous god, Cthulhu. The final investigative file recounts The Call of Cthulhu pic 9the fatal voyage of the crew and sea vessel, Alert. This segment of the film reminds me of my favorite black & white adventure epic, King Kong. Cthulhu likewise is an epic adventure and feels big as it ventures to the four corners of the world to discover the hidden secrets of the ancients.

It is quite interesting to watch the special features because you gain a real appreciation for the ingenuity and resourcefulness put forth to complete this epic adventure. The composite scenes are wonderfully crafted and the swamp set is impressive. Bringing the sea vessel, Alert, to life was a vast undertaking and it is quite interesting to see the techniques engaged to achieve the task successfully. The whole crew was phenomenal, from the set designs to the wardrobe and make-up. The music was crafted perfectly for a silent movie, a symphonic masterpiece in of itself. The cast fully delved into the 1920’s silent era of acting which employ quite different techniques than today. Matt Foyer is exceptional as ‘The Man’ discovering his uncle’s obsession and slowly getting absorbed by the case file his uncle had warned him about. Noah Wagner is also notable as Captain Collins, as he leads his crew to inevitable doom at the hands of the monster. And of course Cthulhu is represented by stop-motion animation similar to perhaps the early silent work of Willis O’Brien.

The Call Of Cthulhu may not be a film for the casual horror fan. You may have to have an appreciation for black & white film and nostalgia to enjoy it. If you are a H.P. Lovecraft enthusiast you would definitely want to check this film out. I enjoyed it very much because of both of these aspects.

review of The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) HPLHS Films

reviews of Lovecraft movies: Lovecraft in Film

(review was originally posted on Mantaray Pictures.com)

 

The Top 5 Women in Dinosaur and Fantasy films from Yesteryear

My Top 5 Women in Dinosaur and Fantasy films from Yesteryear

(films 25 years and older)

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5) Jane Seymour – Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger – as Farah
If playing chess with an intelligent Mandrill isn’t enough, she comes face to face with a troglodyte, a giant walrus, and a saber tooth tiger.

4) Victoria Vetri – When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth – as Sanna
She escapes being sacrificed to the sun god, clashes with the dark-haired tribe, and eventually makes friends with a dinosaur, all while just barely keeping her tighter-than-a-glove bikini top on. (note: in the uncut version, the bikini top does come off.)

3) Caroline Munro – The Golden Voyage of Sinbad – as Margiana
The tattooed eye on her hand calls forth the great Cyclops centaur for a battle of good vs. evil. A handful of 1970’s Hammer horror films playing alongside Lee and Cushing and even bigger roles in At the Earth’s Core (Amicus) and Star Crash clinch the spot for her.

2) Fay Wray – King Kong – as Anne Darrow
She is the ultimate damsel in distress, taken by force, but enduring and surviving a savage world.

1) Raquel Welch – One Million Years BC – as Loana
It was the fur bikini that entranced the world. A young Raquel Welch becomes a star despite not a single word of dialogue in the film.

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Honorable mentions:

Jessica Lange – King Kong (1976) – as Dwan

King Kong 76

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Barbara Bach – Caveman (1981) – Lana

caveman promo cropped

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Tanya Roberts – Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (1984) – as Sheena

Sheena-Queen of the Jungle-1984

recommended by Bubbawheat, http://flightstightsandmovienights.com/

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Martine Beswick, also from One Million Years BC (1966)

martin beswick

suggested by Alharron

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Your suggestions for honorable mentions are welcome.

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Also check out:
My Top 5 Women in Sci-Fi flicks of yesteryear

I will be doing a Top Five Women in Horror flicks of Yesteryear soon…

Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956) – movie review

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Rare and Obscure Dinosaur films

Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956) – movie review

This was the first western/dinosaur film mash-up, made many years before The Valley of Gwangi. Both films were based off of a story Idea from Willis O’Brien. It is said that O’Brien penned some of the script under a pseudonym, El Toro Estrella. Although it beat the Harryhausen/Gwangi film to the punch it is not nearly as good. O’Brien was originally going to do the effects for the film but did not for the-beast-of-hollow-mountain-posterunknown reasons. It was directed by Edward Nassour and Ismael Rodriguez and the stop motion effects (and replacement animation) were most likely handled by, Nassour and Henry Lyon, though a clear credit is impossible to find. It stars Guy Madison and Patricia Medina.

An American rancher, Jimmy Ryan, comes to Mexico to find cheap land to raise cattle. He does, right next to a legendary cursed place called Hollow Mountain. The Mountain has never been explored. Soon Cattle go missing and it is said that a giant beast takes them in the night. Jimmy Ryan becomes friend’s with a boy and his father (Panchito and Poncho) and gets into a love triangle with a local gal, Sarita. Soon Jimmy and the rival suitor have to team up to stop the giant beast, an Allosaurus, from destroying the small village and eating their loved ones.

The film is rather dull at points and the Allosaurus was not all that realistic looking compared to dino flicks to that date. The Allosaurus was cartoonish and looked like a dinosaur that you would see in a children’s show. If you replaced the Allosaurus with a wild animal you would have a grade-z western. There were parts of the film I did like. The scene where the Allosaurus attacked Sarita and Pachito and destroyed the barn trying to get them is interesting, but comparable to what you‘d see in the 70‘s children’s TV show, Land of the Lost. It was not a great film, but being a dino-film completist, I had to purchase it nevertheless. It is currently available on Bluray as a double feature with The Neanderthal Man.

the-beast-of-hollow-mountain spanish poster

 

Creature Features revisited – Dinosaurs Invade (aka: Rex in the City)

the giant behemoth pic 2

A look back at the golden age of sci-fi, the 1950‘s/early 60’s. Our subject today…
Pseudo-Dinosaurs Invade our cities: (aka: The dinosaur films of Eugene Lourie)
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the beast coverBeast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
This is one of Harryhausen’s greatest creations. Eugene Lourie and Jack Dietz approached Harryhausen about creating a dinosaur for their creature feature film. He came up with the Rhedosaurus, a four-legged carnivore. Its head was T. Rex inspired and its body resembled a Komodo Dragon. They brought in Ray Bradbury to help write the screenplay, enabling them to encompass the lighthouse scene, which was a recreation of Bradbury’s story, The Foghorn Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, originally published in The Saturday Evening Post. Thus, came about the title of the independently financed film. They sold the film to WB outright for a measly $4k, upon completion, never realizing that it would become a hallmark of 1950’s sci-fi and dinosaur invasion movies.

Nuclear testing releases the Beast from the artic Ice, where it was frozen in suspended animation for millions of years. A young scientist observing the blast sights the Beast but no one will believe what he claims to have seen. Working with a Paleontologist, he identifies the beast as the extinct dinosaur, Rhedosaurus. After a sighting in Nova Scotia, the beast emerges on the NYC seaport in all its glory, ready to trample its way through Manhattan. There, it stomps cars, eats a police officer, and when fired upon, crashes through buildings, toppling bricks and mortar upon the fleeing people. They finally corral the Beast in Coney Island and our scientist/hero climbs the Cyclone (roller coaster) to the top where he can shoot a poisonous radioactive isotope into an open wound on the Beast. The Beast dies as the Cyclone burns.

The foam latex rubber-over-armature beast model had some impressive detail which really brought the creature to life. Its stride, tail movements, skin textures, expression and eye movements were unique to Ray Harryhausen’s trademark work. Along with his rear projection and masking techniques, this work set him apart from others as the premier monster-maker for years to come. There are some fantastic special features on the dvd including, “the making of the beast” and “Harryhausen and Bradbury” about the working relationship these two men had and how it helped shape the 50’s sci-fi era. The Science: Rhedosaurus was never a real dinosaur. There was an homage to Rhedosaurus in Planet of Dinosaurs -1977.   ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth’ – 1970, has a Dino that is often mistaken for a Rhedosaurus but was actually designed from a pic of a Scelidosaurus.  Rhedosaurus had features and a design more associated with a giant reptile than dinosaurs.

The Beast pic 4 The Beast pic 2
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the giant behemoth coverThe Giant Behemoth (1959)

It seems that Pete Peterson did a lot of stop motion in films as part of Willis O’Brien’s production team, therefore giving O’Bie credit in a lot of movies he did not actually animate. This one and The Black Scorpion are two examples. The film begins with nuclear testing in the deep ocean. Soon after, a fisherman from a small Scottish fishing village dies upon the shoreline with radioactive burns upon his skin and dead fish wash up upon the shore. Scientists, Dr. Steven Karnes sights some kind of serpent in his binoculars. Eventually, a giant carnivorous sauropod with a radioactive death-ray rises in the harbor of Great Britain. First the dino attacks a ferry in a not-so impressive scene where you can tell the monster is a puppet. But when Behemoth steps onto land it is a nice looking stop-animation Dino that stomps cars and tears down loading dock cranes. Best scenes include Behemoth attacking the power lines in an explosion of electric sparks and the dino knocking a building wall down, on top of cowering city folk. The fight against Behemoth is not all that impressive, we see a few stock scenes of moving troops and Navy ships but gunfire is actually limited. Behemoth meets his demise by a small submarine diving underwater and a torpedo hit into the soft lining of the monsters mouth.

Its not the greatest movie of its kind but there are reasons I like it. Firstly, there are not too many sauropod/brontosaurus style dinosaurs in movies. This one closely resembles a Brachiosaurus with longer front legs than rear. Behemoth was made with foam and rubber over armature, with scale impressions from perhaps an iguana pressed into the rubber outer coating. This made for a nice texture overall, but close-ups had much less detail and expression than the work by Harryhausen around that same time. Close-ups also showed some of the flaws in its design like the seams where the rubber parts connected. This film was also directed by Eugene Lourie. The Science: all sauropods were herbivores (no they didn’t even eat fish) and they lived out of the water their entire life.
the giant behemoth pic 5 the giant behemoth pic 4
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gorgo coverGorgo (1961)
A volcano rises in the ocean sending a shipping vessel aground upon a nearby island off the shore of Ireland. There, the crew discovers a legend that turns out to be a dinosaur, with fins on the sides of its head, alligator-like skin and red glowing eyes. They take the creature back to London for a Piccadilly Circus attraction. They corral and enclose it in a caged area where they sell tickets for its viewing to the general public. What they don’t know is that the dinosaur is a baby and big mamma dino is soon smashing London to bits in hot pursuit. As with most of the era’s sci-fi films, Gorgo is a little slow to start, but when it does, massive destruction abounds. Gorgo lays waste to Big-Ben, London Bridge and a half a dozen other British landmarks. Although it doesn’t breath fire like its Japanese counterpart, Gorgo makes up for it with sheer destruction, as it swats its big paws around, crushing the city to ruble. The military response is formidable and there is quite a bit of explosive firepower unleashed against the monster, although the film uses quite a bit of stock footage from the British Royal Navy. Gorgo finally finds Gorgo Jr. and both head out to sea, leaving the Brits to scratch their heads in wonderment.

This British film produced by the King Brothers and directed by Eugene Lourie (Beast from 20,000 Fathoms) is made with highly detailed miniatures and a guy in a suit. There is a lot of destruction in the film as Gorgo devastates the city of London. Gorgo was released during a lull in Godzilla films after the original ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Godzilla Raids Again’ (1955) but before ‘King Kong vs. Godzilla’ (1962). It beat Toho to the punch of putting out a film of this genre in Technicolor. It was first released in Japan (1960), where it was a huge hit, then released to the world-wide audience where it was a big box office attraction. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a really high-quality release of this film to be found on dvd or Blu-ray.
Update: since the posting of this article they have re-released Gorgo on dvd and BluRay, completely restored, and with special features worthy of the films contribution to sci-fi/monster filmdom
Gorgo films-1961-gorgo

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Amazingly, all three of these films were directed by Eugene Lourie. It is said that “Beast…” influenced Ishirō Honda into making “Godzilla” which in turn influenced the making of “Gorgo“. Naturally Godzilla/Gojira would fit quite well on this list, but I think a review of it would be redundant at this point in time.

Both Pete Peterson and Ray Harryhausen worked with Willis O’Brien on Mighty Joe Young. Soon after Ray branched out on his own, while Peterson stayed with O’Brien as part of his production team.
ray harryhausen Pete Peterson
Ray Harryhausen   …………….  Pete Peterson
eugene Lourie
Eugene Lourie

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Stay Away from these:

Reptilicus
The Giant Claw
Even a die-hard monster movie fan like myself find it difficult to get through these films. Cartoon-ish monster designs and mediocre miniature modeling. There is just not enough monster action in either to make up for the poorly written story-lines.
giantclaw reptilicus5
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And, here’s some pics from the three featured films:

The Beast pic 5
the giant behemoth pic 3
gorgo5
The Beast pic 3
Gorgo 4