"The best of this kind are but shadows..." - Theseus (Midsummer Night's Dream)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Retro-Futurism was Sure to Go: 10 Cool International 60s Sci-fi Trips Streaming on Prime and Criterion


 Lately I've been unable to escape a yen for all things sci-fi mid-60s --the stretch between Sputnik and the moon landing, when an ex-Nazi rocketeer named Werner released, through Disney of all things, a series of speculative documentaries about NASA's plans for ze future: moon landings, orbiting satellites, revolving space stations, little robot-armed one man capsules, and maybe even explorations of Mars and Venus. Movies--from Kubrick's to Margheriti's--took it all as writ. Science later realized a lot of his proposals wouldn't work (like you couldn't duplicate Earth gravity that easy), so these films don't get trotted out too often. But we've got the movies that sprang from them and now they look better than ever, streaming through the ether to your little paper-thick phone!

Von Braun points out his plan for a new space station in a 1955 Disney film. 
This round revolving shape would henceforth be the go-to design
for the next decade+'s science fiction space stations. Sehr gut, Werner!
 
more post-Axis sci-fi: X FROM OUTER SPACE, THE
This era between Sputnik and Apollo became known in comic book circles as the Silver Age: the era when Marvel made superheroes that were complex, with a cohesive universe full of crazy Steve Ditko abstraction. Onscreen, the squaresville atomic caution of the golden 50s lurched into colorful space opera cocktail decadence. Strong female characters no longer had to fight sexist blowhards to be respected as officers. Now they could heads of communications and operations, doctors in astro-biology and chemistry; they could be pretty without having male crew members snicker behind their backs or lick their lips. I've deliberately eschewed any movie from this list that contains even a hint of that type of dated 50s sexism!  I've also avoided any streaming titles of less than watchable quality, though your mileage may vary. So.... What are we waiting for!? The future's not going to get much older!

1. CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS 
(1962) Dir. Wesley Barry
***1/2 / Amazon Image - A

I'm beginning to see what the fuss was about vis-a-vis Andy Warhol's favorite movie. It's fast becoming one of mine, containing everything I love in a film these days and the image quality on the Prime edition is sublime: lots of deep dark colors and grays, extendable tubes, silver eyeballs, skeletons, space age decor, pulp novel skies, heightened theatricality, and spooky analog sci-fi music. I love the total absence of exterior shots and the way it all unfolds over one long night, before backdrops that seem lifted right out off the covers of heady early-60s space age science fiction novels. Don Megowan stars as the Craigis, a member of the Order of Flesh and Blood, a hate group of sorts, out to halt the production of humanoid robots. The robots, with their grey skin and silver eyes, look too human for the Order and they're afraid of getting replaced as the machines grow indistinguishable from the (dwindling due to radioactive fallout) human population. Dudley Manlove is one of the robots, cementing the film's queer-coded message (i.e. 'we're closer than you know, we mean you no harm, and we won't need to stay invisible much longer"). David Cross (no relation) is Pax, the 'clicker' (as the robots are derisively called) in 'rapport' with Cragis' sister Esme (Frances McCann). Cragis tries to get her to stop it, as her rapport makes him look bad with the order, but not everyone is afraid of having all their needs met by a mechanical device while they wait for the inevitable end.

Beautiful to look at and never boring (even if no one seems to ever move), this is clearly some writer's real labor of love. I like to imagine it got workshopped at some off-off-Broadway East Village coffeehouse all through the 50s before making it to the big screen as it's clearly well edited. For all its measured talkiness, it's never dull, uneven, or repetitive. Occasional deadpan jokes ("we did make you a bit thinner,") that land like gentle spiders amidst the vocalizing space age echoes. Shout out to George Milan as Acto, the 'clicker' with the most lines. Able to seem comforting yet otherworldly at the same time, he makes a great team with Dudley Manlove as his right "man". Manlove or no, this is so much more than a Woodian bad movie, not that it wouldn't be welcome at the convention I imagine it plays best watched by oneself, late at night, with a loved one sleeping next to you (as I tend to do). It Warhol were alive he'd be watching it on his phone right now, so serve the cause of Art by watching Creation of the Humanoids... even sooner.


2. WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS 
(1966) Dir. Antonio Margheriti
*** / Amazon Image - A

An instant immersion in a future world of moon bases and orbiting space stations, cocktails, anti-matter bombs, and astronauts soaring through black soundstage space on visible wires onto planets that breathe out through their craters. Giacomo Rossi Stuart (Kill Baby, Kill) is commander Rod Jacskon, tasked with finding the gravitational disturbance that's destroying Earth's weather patterns. Sultry-eyed Terry Sanchez (Ombretta Colli) is head of communications on Gamma One and an organized officer; Rod loves her but his needy cat-eyed fiancee (Halina Zalewski) on Earth happens to be the general's daughter. There's no time for that kind of thing though, if we don't find the source of the disturbance there'll be no Earth to go back to; and--as the ineffective General Norton (Enzo Fiermonte) puts it--"it's not a matter of days, but hours! As with all the best science fiction films, we never even go to Earth at all; we're plunged right out into space almost instantly. Except for the last scene funeral there isn't a single exterior shot; everything is space ships and soundstage planets, full of odd sound effects and eerie music.

The wild planet they find causing the trouble is an uninhabited but impressive red ball, 25 miles in diamaeter, with fields of cold red gelatin quicksand and islands of hairy ground surrounding craters breathing out plumes of cold steam. Going into one to plant anti-matter charges, they find themselves attacked by white tendrils that bleed but repair themselves as soon as Rod stops hacking at them. It's quite a destination.

I love this crazy movie. It has some of the best dubbing ever, matching the lips with weird hesitance and fast-talking when necessary. Dialogue is rich with technical savvy, using the weird pauses of the actors to create mood and drama... rather than just making them sound drunk (though there's that too): "Read your retros - don't get clogged, Mack!" / "Who's got the flagship?!" / "I'm engaged to her, Terry... not that... I want to be."

The imdb score is unfairly low, and perhaps based on old faded VHS pan and scans but the Prime print puts it on a whole other level. The deep greys, blacks and reds that make up the bulk of the colors look really rich and alluring now, making Gamma-1 seem the place to be, way cooler than the Enterprise or anyplace like that. So if space opera style drama and mature adults doing work as an organized group in constant radio communication is your bag, with plenty of women in capable professional positions (Rod doesn't really even try to stop Terry from going along on all the dangerous missions - telling her "it's every man for himself"). This film should be the cornerstone of your spiritual Euro-6os science fiction pyramid. As Commander Rod says "use your retros!" And then seek out the other movies in the Gamma One Quadrilogy.

3. VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN
(1968) Dir. Peter Bogdanovich
*** / Amazon Image - D+

When I can't sleep in a foreign land I like to fall asleep to this crazy movie, with Mamie Van Doren and assorted blondes wearing seashell tops and mermaid fin-evoking hiphuggers, as Venusian mermaids telepathically interacting with cosmonauts from a relatively expensive-looking Russian science fiction film. As the cosmonauts encountering man-eating plants and various dinosaurs, the mermaids watch and sing and wait, and when the cosmonauts shoot down their pterodactyl god (in self defense), they get really mad and start singing volcanos and floods into existence.

The story of this brilliant melange is cinematic legend: Roger Corman acquired the rights to several Russian science fiction films on a trip east and brought in a young Peter Bogdanovich to restructure, dub into English, and shoot surrounding footage for starring Mamie Van Doren and a cadre of her fellow blonde sea nymphs (with great hip hugger green lame flair slacks subliminally evoking mermaid tails -- a truly inspired high-fashion solution courtesy Alice Mitchell). Who cares if it makes sense? With the audio's near constant flow of ocean sounds, eerie pitch-shifting electronic wind mixing with occasional bursts of Keith Benjamin's score, electronic ship and robot noises, and Bogdanovich's hipster narration (as the younger, romantically inclined cosmonaut, replete with allusions to Welles in Lady from Shanghai), the spooky swooping two-note siren's song, all whirling together, it's the best white noise in the galaxy.

Some of the ways Peter (and production coordinator Polly Platt) merged new and old footage is ingenious: a Hollywood-made rubber pterodactyl corpse washes up in the surf for the girls to find, pray over and send back... back to the sea (after its shot in the Russian film).  I love the dopey, near muppet-like voice (uncredited) of Commander Lockhart, and the chef's hat Mamie wears when praying (evoking the hat worn by the one Venusian we see in a reflection at the very end of the Russian version); I love the way the sirens completely blend in with the rocks around them when lolling in the sun (the way seals often do) or the attention to clever details in the underwater scenes (the Russian footage showing nice undersea flourishes like a cloth octopus, merging with our LA sirens spying and undulating).

The Prime copy is bad, but there is no existing good quality DVD I know of, and frankly that's a shame. I have the Retromedia double disk set that includes the Russian original (Planet of Storms)- which looks the best--and contains more monster footage but the image skips and freezes around chapter 5, right when I wanted to see more of those crazy running man-sized allosaurus/T-rex things. Of the three of Corman's Russian adaptations in the set, I couldn't get too far into the achingly dull Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (waaay too much Faith Domergue on the radio); I thought Battle Beyond the Sun was a hootzzz with that way-too-dark space monster and all the cavorting on a tiny rock moon but still, maddeningly dull. I like that though. To make matters worse, the Prehistoric Women on the Retromedia skips in the projector/image! It's burnt-in, so the disk doesn't freeze, but gosh RetroMedia, what a drag! (PS - if you know of a good quality non-skipping transfer of VTTPOPW let me know!) It's worth getting the set just for the great quality of the Russian original, which includes a lot of cogently presented arguments on behalf of the ancient aliens hypothesis. Too bad it freezes up. How convenient.

4. PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES
(1966) Dir. Mario Bava
**** / Amazon Image - A+

Fourth on the bill, Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires is actually the best as far as gorgeous cinematography and clever, if not always successful, in-camera effects (Mario Bava is still ahead of his time). The storyline fuses elements of Last Man on Earth with Invasion of the Body Snatchers and looks forward to Night of the Living Dead, and most notably Alien, which clearly borrowed more than a few things. Wise choice, as it's a gorgeous and fascinating film that would be worth seeing even if you had to see it in Italian without subtitles (and didn't speak it). The plot concerns a rescue mission to a strange foggy planet where the soon-dead crewmen are taken over by fourth dimensional aliens eager to hitch a ride off their dying world. The co-ed crew wear sexy high-collared black leather uniforms with deep yellow trim (the sexiest, coolest and most high fashion space crew uniforms ever), and their ship is a huge minimalist black floored matte and mirage wonder. The outside miniatures make the ship look at times like soap on the rope anchored to the bottom of an aquarium (but that's okay) and the planet is a bizarre landscape or red and blue gels, swirling fog, petrified tentacle tree rocks, quicksand type burbling pits, and weird noises and disembodied voices barely audible in the whooshing winds. The shots of the outside guards looking deep into fog for signs of life are some of the most eerily beautiful in all of science fiction. The dubbing is good (lead Barry Sullivan does his own) and the music is super eerie. It just gets better with every viewing, especially in this HD color-restored super-marvelous shape.

5. TERROR BENEATH THE SEA
(1966) Dir. Hajime Sato
** / Amazon Image - A+

Thanks to an amazing Prime HD image (sourced no doubt from a terrific Blu-ray print), this is a fun, terrible Japanese fusion of underwater Bondian supervillain lair-trashing and Jules Verne-style fish people enslavement ala AIP's War Gods of the Deep, Japan's Atragon, and Italy's Island of the Fishmen (AKA Screamers - also on Prime). Sonny Chiba a blond gaijin named Peggy Neal (The X from Outer Space - see below) star as a pair of intrepid scientist/reporters who follow fishmen tracks in search of a missing scientist and wind up at the bottom of the sea. Both are so youthfully gorgeous and well-lit you understand their horror when the evil sunglasses-wearing villain (so you can't tell if he's Asian?) starts converting them to ugly fish people. Biloxi-born Neal can't act the horror and revulsion stuff nearly as well as the exuberant marine life photographer stuff, and the inevitable fish people are a bit of a disappointment - all cross-eyed but they're a gas when their mind control radio signal gets jammed up and they run amok shooting and killing everyone. Meanwhile American Naval officer friend (Franz Gruber!) labors to convince the top brass to send a search sub once the pair go missing. He won't take no for an answer! But will he find them in time?

He does, of course, but then it all gets really wonky with its editing.  We get all sorts of odd gaps, like asides and pauses that make no sense in the usually frenzied editing scheme of an 'underwater lair about to implode' kind of climax. I mean the pauses between reactions that actors and directors presume the editor will snip off in order to 'time-image' action continuity (i.e. the general space of time between a shot of someone looking at something / to what they're looking at). When the gang are trying to escape and battling the bad guy's minions for space on the emergency elevator, this sluggish pace as each new emotion is formed on the actor's faces, is super aggravating. But once you've seen it enough times that the weird pacing doesn't bother you, I imagine it will scale bad movie heights. I already love the way Chiba has to carefully fight with the monsters so as not rip the obviously very thin plastic trash-bag style material used to make the monster skin; and the way the fights drag on while the professor and Neal just stand there, looking aghast, rather than doing anything to help, for minutes on end.

But hey, I'll watch whatever Peggy Neal and Sonny Chiba drag doomsday out forever if they want when the quality of the image is this divine. Everyone in the underwater lair wears white tunics, and Neal's hangs on her just perfectly; beaming with vitality and poise, flipping her short bob of a blonde hairdo, she's a perfect visual counterpoint to Chiba, with those deep dark eyes that all but drown any viewer foolish enough to gaze in them too long. Watching them be each dabbed with some wet gauze flakes that are supposed to be scales, just around the sides of the face. is a tad upsetting but nowhere near as bad as her tantrum at the end! Priceless moments like these make it imperative that you come along when Peggy Neal and Sonny Chiba discover there's TERROR BENEATH THE SEA.

---------
 6. BATTLE OF THE WORLDS
Il Pianeta degli uomini spenti / Translation: Planet of Extinct Men
(1961) Dir. Antonio Marghereti
**1/2 / Amazon Image - C- / D+

There is a stand-alone version of this on Prime (the "Comic Book Edition") but it's been so yellowed by someone's idea of color grading (for the old yellowed newsprint effect of old comics?) I find I prefer the "Double Doses of Sci-fi: Hostile Planets and Doomsday" version (starting on the 0:17 mark - ending 1:22) It's a shoddy looking analog transfer clearly taken from a VHS tape but--as with the above Planet of Prehistoric Women--there is no good HD upgrade available. Take what you can get, and say thank you to the nice Prime.

Sort of the grandpa of Margheriti's 1966-7 "Gamma One" Tetralogy (its title should not be confused with 1966's War Between the Planets or War of the Planets as those are all separate films), here is an aged, vaguely portly Claude Rains, hamming wildly but never less that magnetic and dubbing his own voice throughout. Such a team player, he sells the dialogue like its Shakespeare and even wears a space helmet during the big climax, racing around like a kid in a candy store through all the miles of alien tubing and red gel lights. A lovable but aloof intellectual curmudgeon who tends his garden in the house next to one of the 'best' observatories in the world, his Professor Benson is a mix of Mycroft Holmes and Peter O'Toole doing Henry II, a mathematician physicist is so brilliant he can just write an equation on the floor in chalk for the world's leaders to see via camera phones, and the world is saved. Meanwhile the young people fawn and stand around in awe and then saddle up when it's time to ride out of orbit and take on "the Outsider." Mario Migliardi's score smoothes over any soft patches and giving the rocky island scenery a proto-giallo sense of class. One can dream of one day seeing this look as good as the above War Between the Planets. What else is the stuffing of the stars, Professor?

7. LIGHTNING BOLT
Operazione Goldman / Operation Goldman
(1966) Dir. Antonio Margheriti
*** / Amazon Image - A-

As with some other features on our list, above and below, we're still exploring the uninhabitable vastnesses and it's still a trip, man, and in this, a superior example of one of the countless spy movies that proliferated in the mid-60s (from Goldfinger and Thunderball), we get both rocket topplings and a trippy undersea lair powered by an undersea volcano. Figures it's from that inexhaustible mastro Antonio Margheriti, as it's got the same sense of spontaneous termite energy as his "Gamma One" films. Packed in amidst the quips, drinks, and car chases lurks some exciting footage of real-life Nasa rocket failures seamlessly interwoven with spy Anthony Eisley's staggering around in front of an ocean of fire. The rest of the time he's either being shot at by a lovely blonde (Wandisa Guida) or trying to score with his lovely handler, Captain Flanagan (Diana Lorys) in what's supposed to Florida but sure looks Mediterranean. Action highlights also include a long chase/brawl through a brewery from the loading docks all the way down the grain silos. And that underwater lair is a major trip. Mid-60s Bond imitations could be stodgy with endless travelogue footage, stripteases, comic relief, static plot-heavy dialogue, trite pick-up lines and fashions so dated and sexist you can smell the cheap cologne in the air even now, but Lightning Bolt is worth standing in the rain for. Riz Ortolani spy music is on-point and on-message throughout and the sublime HD prime print makes the old new again.

(PS Just don't let it convince you to try others in Prime's vast mid-60s European faux-Bond arsenal, most are incorrectly formatted, just for starters. Operation Kid Brother starring Neil Connery isn't bad, even if it has a shockingly imitative Morricone score.)

8. FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER
(1965) Dir. Robert Gaffney
**/ Amazon Image - A

I couldn't let you leave the gates of Prime without first unearthing some American trash from the period, like this, which has the same kinetic weird nouvelle-pulp energy we fist saw in Rollin's Viol du Vampire and Franco's Diabolical Dr. Z., and Japan's The Manster albeit while still staying as gosh-darn American as apple pie (filmed in Puerto Rico!). The plot follows a pair of aliens--the bald pointy eared, vaguely Uncle Fester-meets-Jon Lovitz Dr. Nadir (Lou Cutell) and the aloof Princess Marcuzen (Marilyn Hanold)--as they abduct a bunch of women to zap back to their home planet (their side has won a nuclear war but now all the women are sterile), threatening any resistors with their pet space monster - Growl!. Meanwhile, there's lovely black-and-white footage of driving past NASA's gates and a press conference with their newest astronaut, who--alas--freezes halfway through the Q&A - and so we find the secret: he's a robot! When his ship crashes (thanks to alien toppling powers), Frankie falls to earth a burnt amnesiac who proceeds to run amok until his creator (the great James Karen!) and his girlfirned find him and turn him against the marauding aliens who happen to have landed right nearby. Puerto Rico seems like quite the happenin' spot. FMTSM gets a bad rap in some circles but I think it's just goofy enough to be fun without being campy (it knows the best approach is to always play it deadpan straight up rather than falling back on Goldfootian-camp). Never before has military footage from our Air Force and Army training maneuvers been so seamlessly interwoven to indicate a coordinated attack on a parked UFO. And the Prime print is stunning, revealing once again that good black-and-white cinematography is ageless, as are mid-60s plaid bikini bathing suits. And snap your fingers along to the end song by The Distant Cousins! 

Now Come with me to Criterion Channel...!

9. THE X FROM OUTER SPACE
Uchû daikaijû Girara
(1963) Dir. Kazui Nihonmatsu
*** / Criterion Image - B-

With a happy astro-theme song and groovy lounge soundtrack (courtesy Taku Izumi), cheerful blue colored outer space backgrounds, and cute if unconvincing space miniatures and sets, X is set in that once-seemingly inevitable future of permanent bases on the moon, operated by a United World Order where young people of both genders hold high-level positions on orbiting space stations and meet after hours at the space lounge to dance and be interrupted by urgent news. Here we got cute blonde gaijin astrobiologist Lisa (Peggy Neal) as the girl in a group of four bound for Mars, stopping off on the moon to party with cute Michiko (Itoko Harada), whose got a crush on Capt. Sano (Shun'ya Wazaki), who crushes on Lisa (Neal) who likes him too but knows Michiko crushes so much harder. Franz Gruber sports a goatee as a high-ranking scientific advisor (he also counsels Lisa when hearts gets too heavy). Planetary danger erupts when Lisa collects a tiny alien spore she found stuck to the ship's tail fin and brings it down to earth in one of those sample jars that alien spores tend to escape from when everyone is off having cocktails. This one leaves a chicken size footprint etched in acid and immediately grows kaiju massive; though joyful and triumphant, Guilala's attacks are a bit on the weaker side compared to his more esteemed Toho comrade, but with all the fun jetting back and forth from the moon to Earth, the soap dish UFO visits, the widescreen medium shot compositions, the luminous glowing skin of the two lead actresses, and Guilala's aerodynamic head curling its edges when blasting laser spitballs, you won't mind the soft foggy print Criterion works with.

Grooving at the moon's astro-lounge
The Criterion image is soft but hey - if not for their "It came from Shochiku" Eclipse series, it wouldn't be out on anything but a $60 Japanese import. To think, I may never have known it. And as a result I wouldn't have gone on to hunt down and see Atragon and Latitude Zero on overpriced Tokyo Shock DVDs.  Man, I'm sick just thinking about it, because if there are cocktails being served on space stations or the moon in a 60s science fiction film, I shall be crawling forth, insatiable. Let me know if there are any I missed, and they shall be trampled!

10. SOLARIS
(1972) Dir. Andre Tarkovsky
 **** / Criterion Image - B

Tarkovsky's acclaimed science fiction masterpiece (which seems like a 60s film, due perhaps to the slower pop trendshifting behind the Iron Curtain) is set in a future where a space station orbits above an all-ocean possibly sentient planet that causes long dead lovers to re-appear, with amnesia, is based on a novel by Polish sci-fi novelist Stanislav Lem. Slow and long, yet never less than compelling... and certainly no slower than its western counterpoint, 2001 - albeit less tripped-out. My recommendation for newcomers: turn up the volume because the ambient sound gets pretty trippy once you let the slowness hypnotize you, which is what it's for. The long drive through Moscow's tunnels and elevated highways to the the airport for example, becomes otherworldly when you tune into the way the sound of the traffic begins to discombobulate into the rush of rockets and radio static. The slow pans around rooms where Kris's (Donatas Bationis) dead ex-wife Khari (Natalya Bondarchuk) appears in different points in time and space, for example, it's way out there, if you meet it halfway - which isn't easy. I've seen it five times and only managed to stay awake to the end once. With its meaning entombed in its weird mise-en-scene of ever shifting memory, in its refusal to yield a momentous narrative or to promise some wild lightshow climax, but with every edit and mismatched glimpse of things there and not there evoking the bathroom/bedroom rebirthing scene of 2001, as if stretched to three hours and including a girl, a child, and a father, and a film projector, with Jupiter being swapped out for a fictional solar ocean... where was I?

Did I nod off?

But what better film to wake up to, rousing from some odd dream, and to find still playing (as I did last night)? To not have to rewind or scroll back, but to just sit up and keep watching where you woke up from, until you nod off, again. To watch in between bouts of consciousness, to blank out right in the middle of some portentous cosmic revelation realized in the engulfing silence of space, knowing perhaps it's the only or best way to experience it? Too much alertness and it might just seem... zzzz.

--
Adieu to the cautious cocktails and radiation-eating hopes of the space age. Adios to swinging astronauts being hoisted around on wires while saving the day. Dasvidaniya to the idea of a perfect romance with a mystical anima projection in the form of an ex-wife at the prime of her hotness. Such is the realization of Tarkovsky's most surreal film. It takes ideas similar to those in many other older science fiction films (including Ib Melchoir's Journey to the Seventh Planet) and drafts a meaning so high and profound it can use swirls of algae on still water, wind-rustled plants, stormy clouds, trees hanging over empty space, and a beautifully knit autumnal-colored afghan wrap held against the glow of a round space station window, to evoke the inscrutable majesty of that alien otherness beyond even the reach of our sleeping unconscious, past the light behind the dark behind the man behind the curtain, that fractal form of probing consciousness we damage the minute we behold it the way water crystalks change just from our looking at them. Such things lie far beyond the limits of special effects, and even human imagination, to interpret in any concrete form.


So we bid farewell even to the most.... basic.... functions...zzz


 (If you refuse to watch SOLARIS, let the tenth film on this list be Criterion's DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968- Dir. Ishoro Honda) Yeah, boy, Akira Ifukube's pounding score, female aliens (above) turning into rocks, and a full roster of kaiju favorites uniting to really stomp the shit out of Ghidorah. I mean it's like six against one, and they basically curb stomp the poor thing. It's not like he came there voluntarily! He was controlled by the Kilaaks, same as they all were hitherto the signal being broken! Get Criterion channel now!! I also recommend GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (1964), also on Criterion, which has a cool alien possessed princess side plot, and the numbers are much more even --since Ghidorah counts as three monsters at least... because of his three heads.

FURTHER OUT:
For other cool Communist sci-fi films from the 70s that seem like they're from our 60s, I highly recommend these two films from East Germany (avail. only in OOP DVD and sometimes youtube)

Im Staub der Sterne
(1978) Dir. 
*** / DVD image - B-

3 comments:

  1. What about my childhood fave, Wild, Wild Planet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not on Prime so I didn't include it. I'm working on a big feature re- all the "Gamma One" movies and spin-offs, so stay tuned!

      Delete
  2. Great commentary as always. One quibble - Stanislaw Lem was Polish.

    ReplyDelete

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