Yes, it’s that time again–but it’s the last time for “SciFi Classics.” I’m a little saddened by that, actually…
Colossus and the Amazon Queen, 1960, color, Vittorio Sala (dir.), Rod Taylor, Ed Fury, Dorian Gray, Gianna Maria Canale, Alberto Farnese, Adriana Facchetti. 1:30 [1:23].
This oneâ€™s strange: Another Hercules-style cheesecake-and-beefcake spectacular (more cheesecake than beefcake, since the Amazons are all great looking warriors in typically minimal outfits)â€”but played for laughs, almost certainly in the original Italian as well as the dubbed version. Light jazz as background music, ridiculous plot twists, you name it. $1, maybe $1.25 if you’re in the right mood.
Eegah, 1962, color, Arch Hall Sr. (dir.), Arch Hall Jr. and Sr., Marilyn Manning, Richard Kiel. 1:30.
Remember Richard Kiel? Jaws? Moonraker? Put him in animal skins, give him a club, have him living in a cave near some Southern California beach townâ€”and you have Eegah, the last of some oversize race of slightly pre-human folks, good at cave drawings but not so much at language. Itâ€™s all downhill from there, with a truly untalented teenager, his girlfriend, and the girlfriendâ€™s scientist dad as the main characters. The teen has a tendency to pull out an acoustic guitar, start strumming, and suddenly thereâ€™s an invisible group of background singers and instrumentalists for his lame ballads. Other than Kiel, lame is the right word across the boardâ€”but watchable in its own odd way. $0.75
War of the Planets, 1977, color, Alfonso Brescia (dir.), John Richardson, Yanti Sommer, Katia Chrstine, Vassili Karis. 1:29.
The seventies? This one should come from the sixties, as only lots of drugs during the screenwriting, filming, and editing could explain this mess. Thereâ€™s a mixed-gender spaceship crew (all wearing pretty much identical skintight costumes); whenever they get in peril and somehow manage to escapeâ€”which happens a lot, because they seem to be incompetentâ€”all of them get out of their chairs and start joyously jumping around and embracing. I would try to describe the plot, but thatâ€™s nearly impossible. I could suggest that the reels got scrambled during the transfer, but I suspect the movie wouldnâ€™t make sense under any circumstances. $0.75.
Destroy All Planets, 1968, color, Noriaki Yuasa (dir.), Kojiro Hongo, Carl Craig, Toru Takatsuka. 1:30.
By all rights, the 50th and final flick on this set should star Gamera and one of the Sons of Hercules in a spaceship flying from a jungle full of unknown beasts to some hidden planet. As far as I know, Gamera and the Herculesians never starred in the same film, so weâ€™ll have to settle for Gamera. This time, the evil conquerors out to conquer the Earth and destroy all earthlings (not the planetâ€”and, incidentally, the sleeve precedes the title with Cosmos, that four-word title being one of five titles for this flick) figure to outsmart Gamera by snatching two mischief-prone little boys (Boy Scouts, or some Japanese variant). After all, Gamera (you knowâ€”the jet-propelled turtle/flying saucer with a really bad breath problem) just loves little kids, so heâ€™ll do anything to protect these two. Even destroy Tokyo, presumably killing a few hundred thousand kids along the wayâ€”well, hey, nobody said Gamera was good on complex reasoning. Neither, apparently, is the U.N. Security Council, whichâ€”given an ultimatumâ€”unanimously votes to surrender Earth to the aliens rather than attacking the spaceship and possibly killing the two kids. I couldnâ€™t make this up if I tried. This film marked a new level of cost savings for special effects in Japanese monster movies: The discursive alien computer can read Gameraâ€™s mind, and decides itâ€™s important to show what Gameraâ€™s done in the pastâ€”by showing twenty minutes of footage from previous Gamera movies, some of it in glorious black and white. Now thatâ€™s clever filmmaking. $1.