We Review Some Retro Drive-in Classic Alien Movies Available on Film Movement+
To celebrate the return of aliens to the silver screen in Jordan Peele’s “Nope”, we’ve decided to review a handful of the Drive-In Retro Classic Alien Movies avaliable now on Film Movement+.
The Brain from Planet Arous
The alien terrorist Gor has crash-landed on earth. The plan: conquer and enslave the inhabitants of earth in order to rebuild a ship and exact revenge on the inhabitants of Arous for his imprisonment.
This movie is fun and over the top. The alien designs are simple; Gor and Vol are basically oversized brains with glowing (Black Manta like) eyes. John Agar’s exaggerated movements and expressions make for a memorable performance as a scientist possessed by Gor. Although he doesn’t fire laser beams out of his eyes like the poster suggests, the contact lenses Agar wears during that particular sequence adds to the craziness of this movie.
The Cosmic Man
A mysterious white sphere appears in the town of Oak Ridge, California. Military and science personnel are in awe of the object’s construction and the mysteries it potentially holds for both the advancement of weapons and human knowledge.
The movie is a cautionary tale for the human race. Our fear of the unknown and hubris in thinking we’re the supreme beings of the universe will destroy our ability to expand and co-exists with alien life among the cosmoses. While this is the best made movie in the alien category – in terms of production quality – it is a bit of a snooze fest with its constant exposition of scientific theories and jargon.
The Devil Girl from Mars
Robert Justin (played by Peter Rynolds), an escaped convict, seeks refuge at the Bonnie Charlie Inn. Though he’s traded one prison for another with the arrival of Nyah (Patricia Laffan) a Martian accompanied by her killer robot Chani. She traps the guests with an invisible wall surrounding the inn property. Tasked with the mission to bring back a perfect male specimen to replenish the population of Mars, the guests must not only fight to protect themselves but all mankind.
This movie’s visuals check off all the boxes required to create a pulp fiction novel cover. Nyah is dressed in what can be described as a prototype of Flash Gordon’s Ming the Merciless costume, and Chani is a towering mass of metal armed with an explosive laser blast. The movie struggles to find a balance between the serious and the absurd. I also took issue with the pacing of the story. The movie starts with Robert and Doris (Adrienne Corri), yet the narrative stops and shifts to put Michael (Hugh McDermott) and Ellen (Hazel Court) at its forefront.
Stranger from Venus
A Venusian (alien from Venus) comes to earth heralding the coming of his leaders. He comes with a message of caution to the people of earth. Asking them to be vigilant when wielding destructive technology aka nuclear weapons. The danger is not just for those on earth but also the neighboring inhabitants.
Helmut Dantine is the standout as The Stranger. His performance is terrific, and his deadpan tone allows him to come across as something other than human. That said, it is astonishing how the rest of the cast can be so listless. You would think they were supposed to be the lethargic aliens instead of Dantine. There is no life in this movie… much less intelligent.
The alien being known as Ro-man comes to earth tasked with the mission to destroy the human race. Eight survivors are all that is left of humanity, and Ro-man hunts them day and night in order to compete his mission.
To its detriment, Robot Monster is a sci-fi movie that takes itself too seriously. The story is predictable and telegraphs the ending. Even if you are unable to guess the movie’s ending, you’re in for a story that is both abrupt and unevenly paced.
The planet’s population is destroyed by a Calcinator death ray, which is depicted with flashes of light and the sounds of static that is followed by scenes of prehistoric animals fighting and emerging. The score is surprisingly very enjoyable; however, there are moments where it’s used and undercuts the emotion of a scene thanks in part to the questionable editing choices. The movie does have a couple shocking moments but undoes them by the end.
All these movies and more are available to stream as part of the Retro Drive-In Classics series at www.filmmovementplus.com.
The other categories are: Mayhem, Monsters, Beasts, and Space.
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The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511
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