Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Angry Red Planet (1959)

Don't adjust your T.V. screens.  Yes, that is a ferocious bat-spider you see attacking our fearless astronauts on the planet Mars.  The Angry Red Planet [TARP] is a film that I believe transcends its not-so-special effects.  There is something about this film that is very endearing to me and critics are unnecessarily harsh with it.  Danish-born writer/director Ib Melchior tries his best to give his 1950's audience a grand adventure and I believe he succeeds.  Considering how small a budget he had to work with in this film, the results are impressive to say the least.
TARP is a classic 1950's Sci-Fi adventure with touches of horror.  Gerald Mohr is the unlikely captain of the spaceship in all his male chauvinist pig glory.  The way he treats his femme-fatale subordinate Iris would land him a sexual harassment lawsuit in our day and age.  Nora Hayden is delightful as Iris.  She is the emotional center of the film and gives TARP it's much needed heart and soul.  The other two astronauts are fine as well but are definitely peripheral characters.
TARP is a bit wordy at times, filled with lots of techno-babble.  But that was common in Sci-Fi films of that era.  The ultra red color filter used during the scenes where the crew is on the planet Mars is effective and serves to counteract the terrible monster effects that are right up there with the best of Ed Wood.  Yet, these monsters fall into the "they're so bad they're good" category and are worth a few laughs at the very least.
Give this one a chance.  It's not Forbidden Planet (1956) but its better than it probably has a right to be.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

1 comment:

  1. I just saw this for the very first time this evening, on an over-the-air channel. Like a train wreck impending, you can't look away--you just have to see exactly how bad this is going to get. The Angry Red Planet is a 1959 movie with 1919 production values. Legend has it that Ib Melchior was given $200,000 and ten days to produce this ... thing. I suppose he deserves credit for having pulled off _something_ and for completing the contract, but geez! I don't think I've seen cheesier special effects in any movie, and the editing of the dialog was strictly sophomoric. And I'm talking _high-school_ sophomoric, as it read like stuff I wrote when I was in school and trying to reconcile acne with testosterone. The puppet bat-spider did not, in my opinion, rise to the level of "laughable." The best parts of the movie were the amoeba monster as it swam across the lake and the urban scapes of the Martian city as seen through the explorer's binoculars.

    This is best seen with a six-pack, a best bud, and a stock of chicken fajitas. With bell peppers and onions. And orange rice. And frijoles. And now I'm hungry again ...