20 Million Miles to Earth
Returning from a mission to Venus a U.S. Army rocket crashes into the sea off the coast of Sicily. Colonel Calder is the only survivor of the crash. Part of the army’s mission on Venus was to bring back a specimen. After the crash the specimen is released from its container and grows quickly in size. It quickly becomes a big threat to everyone in the region. Colonel Calder is forced to call in the army to try and stop the creature before it is too late.
While it is far from a perfect film, I genuinely enjoyed watching 20 Million Miles to Earth. The movie is not particularly deep. In many ways it is your typical giant creature wrecks havoc story. The plot is pretty thin and silly. Despite that it works as a creature movie. The highlight of the movie is the stop motion work of Ray Harryhausen. While it might not compare to the visual effects of today, it is pretty impressive for a movie released in 1957. While the battle scenes are kind of silly, they are fun to watch if you are a fan of giant creature films. The monster is clearly the star of the movie. In some ways you can see the creature being the true victim of the movie as it is mostly just defending itself.
It is a shame that the human characters are not as interesting. The acting is fine, but none of the characters are that interesting. The movie knows that the monster is the star attraction and thus focuses a lot of its time on it. The story usually keeps a pretty quick pace as the humans try to stop the creature. There are some slow moments though that kind of drag down the movie.
If you generally enjoy large creature films, I think you will enjoy 20 Million Miles to Earth and should definitely consider checking it out.
The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock
The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock follows Artie Pinsetter (Lou Costello) and his fiance Emmy Lou Rossiter (Dorothy Provine). While his job is the town’s rubbish collector, Artie’s dream has always been to become a scientist. In his spare time he tries to develop a scientific breakthrough to make a name for himself as a scientist. During one of his experiments, Emmy is exposed and grows to 30 feet tall. While trying to find a way to return her to normal size, the two get into a bunch of hi jinks as the town and army soon discover what happened.
The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock is probably most known as the last film Lou Costello ever made before his death. It is also one of his few movies that doesn’t feature Bud Abbott. The movie was made as a parody of movies such as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and other sci-fi “growth” films.
I ultimately found The 3o Foot Bride of Candy Rock to be a pretty average film. There are some things that I enjoyed. The movie is quite silly as it tries to parody films like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. There are some funny moments in the movie. If you like silly slapstick comedy there are probably some scenes that you will likely find pretty funny.
While some elements of the film still work today, there are parts that don’t. The movie is definitely outdated in some areas. For a movie made in the 1950s, you can pretty much guess how the men and women are portrayed in the film. This is combined with a few other scenes that you wouldn’t see in movies made today. Some of the movie’s jokes don’t really land either which is probably at least partially due to the movie’s age.
Creature with the Atom Brain
Years ago gangster Frank Buchanan is deported back to Italy after a group of law enforcement agents and rival gangsters lead to his conviction. In Italy Frank meets an evil scientist named Wilhelm Steigg who has developed a procedure to reanimate the dead and control them with radio signals. After perfecting the procedure the two return to America to get revenge on those who wronged Frank. After their creatures kill a man, Dr. Chet Walker is tasked with tracking them down and putting an end to their nefarious plans.
I had mixed feelings about the Creature with the Atom Brain. The movie is silly. That should be obvious based on the premise of bringing people back to life with electrical probes and have them still be able to follow pretty complex commands. In a way the movie feels like a zombie film where someone is controlling the zombies. There are parts of the movie that are funny. These moments I doubt were meant to be funny, but end up being funny due to the low budget of the movie and the overall silliness of the premise. If you like silly B-movies I think you could have fun with these elements of the movie.
While the silly moments can sometimes be funny, the movie otherwise can be kind of slow and boring. The movie is only 69 minutes long, and yet at times it still seems kind of long. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the movie is trying to be serious, and yet it would have been better if it played off the silliness more.
If you like schlocky B-movies, I think you may get some enjoyment out of Creature with the Atom Brain. Otherwise I would pass on it.
It Came From Beneath the Sea
In It Came From Beneath the Sea a giant radioactive octopus emerges from the depths of the ocean to attack a submarine. Fearing the threat that the creature poses, the US military works with two scientists to try and figure out what the creature is and how to stop it. They must hurry though as the creature heads towards San Francisco for a new source of food.
The premise behind It Came From Beneath the Sea had the potential to be a good B movie where a giant creature wrecks havoc and has to be stopped. The movie even features the creature/special effects work of Ray Harryhausen who was well known for making creatures for this era of monster movies. The scenes with the creature are by far the film’s greatest asset. While they may seem outdated based on today’s standards, they are quite impressive for their time period.
The problem is that there isn’t much else to the movie. It Came From Beneath the Sea is just a boring movie in my opinion. The creature is not in the movie all that much. It mostly only appears at the end of the film. While the monster scenes are good, the rest of the movie is pretty dull. The characters are boring and the romance element feels like a waste of time. The movie is only 79 minutes long, and yet it feels quite a bit longer than that.
If there was a greater focus on the creature itself, I think the movie could have been quite a bit better. Unfortunately too much time is spent on the worst elements of the story leading to a movie that is just boring.
They Came From Beyond (25:49) – A detailed look at the making of cheap/B Movies in the early to mid 1900s. This special feature goes into quite a bit of detail. Fans of the movie industry and how movies were made (especially older movies) should really enjoy this special feature.
Fantastical Features (14:45) – A detailed look at films created by Nathan Juran at Columbia including a lot of films that Ray Harryhausen also worked on. This includes a detailed look at the making of 20 Million Miles to Earth. If you are interested in the making of old movies and in particular Nathan Juran’s films, this feature is quite informative and something you should enjoy.
Audio Commentary Creature With the Atom Brain with Phoef Sutton and Mark Jordan Legan
Audio Commentary It Came From Beneath the Sea with Justin Humphreys and C. Courtney Joyner
Audio Commentary 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock with The Monster Party Podcast featuring Larry Strothe, Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, and James Goni
With all of these films being created in the 1950s, they are all in black and white. The films are generally not highly action packed and the special effects are kind of dated. Therefore they aren’t the type of films that are going to flourish the best in high definition. Thus there is a limit to how good the picture quality of the films could be. Generally I found the visuals to be pretty good for movies that are close to 70 years old at this point. The picture quality is not perfect, but it is probably the best you can expect from movies of their age.
Buy Sci-Fi From the Vault 4 Films Blu-ray: Amazon
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of Sci-Fi From the Vault 8 Films Blu-ray used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.