This appears to be a discarded alien uniform from Earth vs The Flying Saucers (1956). An amazing image I’ve not seen before, and so I thought I would share it with you. A special thanks to Steve Niles for sharing on his Tumblr Page.
Great things happen when horror aficionados get together. When horror writer, Steve Niles, befriended make-up artist, William Forsche, via Facebook, they realized they shared a love of classic movie monsters and monster make-up. To cement the relationship, Mr. Forsche sent Mr. Niles three discs with thousands of rare, big reference monster photos from his personal collection. Being an extra generous human being, Mr. Forsche allowed Steve to share these images on his Tumblr page, concisely titled, Steve Niles Tumblr.
Many of these images I’ve rarely seen (occasionally coming across one in a horror forum), and some of them I’ve never seen. Because of the rarity of these photos (covering the gamut of horror films from Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera, through the Universal horror classics, to Ridley Scott’s Alien), I thought my readers may be interested in seeing them, too. Steve Niles has been publishing the collection daily, up to the daily Tumblr limit. It’s an absolute wealth of material, and Steve promises he has barely scratched the surface. However, I’ve decided to post some of the shots from The Creature movies (Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, and The Creature Walks Among Us) as I have a personal fondness for the Gill-Man, and I know many of you love these films as well.
Now, enough words and onto the pictures:
That’s it for now, but be sure to check out Steve Niles Tumblr for more images, including images from The Creature Walks Among Us, which I’ve neglected here. Also, give a murmur of gratitude to William Forsche, who allowed Steve to share these images with the world. Lord knows that I appreciate it!
If you’ve wondered where I’ve been as of late, I’ve been visiting Jose and his companion, Stephen (a talking gorilla) at Mephisto’s Castle. I would have been back sooner, but it’s a large estate, with plenty of rooms. It’s easy to get lost. Jose invited me, and he extends a similar offer to you:
Perhaps you’d like to stay a while and have a look around the place for yourself? Be sure to take the lantern with you. These halls can be quite treacherous at times, and you have no idea who (or what) you might literally run into. We have strange guests who like to pop in at odd hours, but pay no mind to them. Just try not to wander too far from the grounds. The leeches out by the lake grow pretty big and there’s no guarantee that the demon trees won’t try to snatch you away.
If you are like me, you first took notice of Hank Patterson as Fred Ziffel, the owner of Arnold the Pig in the TV series, Green Acres. By the time Mr. Patterson took this role he was almost completely deaf. However, the producers were so impressed by his performance that they allowed a dialog coach to sit off camera and tap his leg with a yardstick to cue him for his lines.
If you don’t remember Hank Patterson from Green Acres, you have certainly seen him in one of his slew of TV performances, including a continuing role in Gunsmoke as Hank Miller the stableman. Or perhaps you remember him from one of his appearances in The Twilight Zone, including one of my favorites, “Kick the Can.”
But here at Exclamation Mark, we remember Hank Patterson for his appearances in a spattering of B movie greats. His most prominent role was probably in 1955’s Tarantula with John Agar and Mara Corday. Patterson played Josh (see image above), the nosy hotel clerk who listened in on Dr. Hasting’s telephone conversations. In 1958, Hank made an appearance in another giant spider flick, Earth vs The Spider. He portrayed Hugo, the high school janitor who let the teenagers into the gymnasium where the over-sized spider was supposed to be dead. Of course rock and roll music rejuvenated the beast and Hugo met a grisly end.
Hank Patterson’s roles in these B science fiction/horror pictures were never significant, but he always added a dash of spice, or a slice of reality. In Monster on the Campus (1958) he played the kindly night watchman; in Beginning of the End (1957), Hank is the father who describes his last visit with his daughter before her entire town was demolished by giant grasshoppers; and in The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Mr. Patterson is the drunk who utters the line, “Not another drop! Not another drop as long as I live,” when he sees the 60 foot giant.
When he started out, Hank Patterson had aspirations of becoming a serious musician. However, he ended up playing piano in vaudeville shows until he worked his way to California where, fortunately for us, he made his way into the movies and television. Perhaps Hank is not the biggest name in B movie science fiction and horror, but his presence always adds a touch of cantankerous charm.
From IMDb: (Note: I usually take the film description from the DVD/VHS case. However, in this instance, the DVD case is so full of inaccuracies that I thought I’d avoid confusion and use a plot synopsis from IMDb. – MM) Weird events in the life of atomic scientist Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) culminate in an invitation from the strange-looking Exeter (Jeff Morrow) to work at a secret lab in Georgia, supposedly for the cause of world peace. Other scientists are already there, including the gorgeous Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue). They quickly discover there’s more to Exeter than meets the eye. Is he benevolent? It may take an interstellar journey to find out.
Mark says: This Island Earth is one of my favorite science fiction films of the 1950s, and in fact, of all time. It has everything a B movie enthusiast could want, starting with a stellar cast.
Rex Reason (The Creature Walks Among Us) is Dr. Cal Meacham, a capable scientist with a sonorous voice that commands authority. This is my favorite role for Mr. Reason, and unquestionably the role for which he is most remembered. Faith Domergue (It Came from Beneath the Sea, Cult of the Cobra) plays fellow scientist and love interest, Ruth Adams. Ms. Domergue is ideal as the sensuous genius. Finally, Jeff Morrow (Kronos, The Giant Claw) is Exeter, the alien agent on mission from the distant planet, Metaluna. Ironically, Exeter exhibits more human qualities and pathos than our hero, Dr. Meacham. Morrow is a veteran of 1950s B movies, and though I’m not always impressed with his performances, he really shines here as a human sympathizer from outer space.
In smaller roles, Robert Nichols (The Thing from Another World) is Meacham’s assistant, Joe Wilson. Joe’s attitude towards his boss can be characterized as “adoring.” This aspect was picked up by Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996), with some humorous results. Lance Fuller (The She-Creature, Voodoo Woman) is Brack, Exeter’s assistant, who is less than sympathetic to the human cause. The Monitor of Metaluna is played by Douglas Spencer, who I most fondly remember as Scotty in 1951’s The Thing from Another World. Rounding out the cast is Russell Johnson (Attack of the Crab Monsters, It Came from Outer Space) as Steve Carlson, one of the few people at the alien compound who has not been subjected to the Metalunan “Thought Transformer.”
Besides a great cast, This Island Earth features some stunning visuals and special effects, enhanced with vivid color created by the three-strip Technicolor process. Though simple by today’s standards, the creative matte paintings, colorful sets, and miniatures are some of the best of the era. We are also treated to a cool flying saucer and lots of impressive explosions. For me, the limited technology lends to a heightened sense of fantasy, and I would argue that these effects stand up even today.
From the DVD case: They came from deep beneath the earth’s surface: grotesque, reptilian creatures covered with slime, forced from their subterranean lair by underground nuclear testing. Setting up an almost impenetrable dome of fog over L.A. to lower the city’s temperature and make the surface more habitable, they’ve emerged from the sewers and cesspools, impervious to attack and mad as hell. Now, Los Angeles has been evacuated, its empty streets shrouded in a permanent twilight. Except for a small band of survivors, the Slime People have the city all to themselves. Holed up in a television station, pilot Tom Gregory, Professor Galbraith, his daughters Lisa and Bonnie, and marine Cal Johnson have been left behind doomed to a fate worse than death, unless they can find a way to penetrate the wall of fog that imprisons them.
Mark says: Robert Hutton (Invisible Invaders, The Colossus of New York) stars in and makes his directorial debut with The Slime People. Hutton’s inexperience as a director is painfully evident from frame one. Any chance the film had for building suspense is blown in the first few minutes of footage. Without buildup or fanfare, we are introduced to the creatures as they emerge from their sewer lairs. The monsters, undoubtedly, are the highpoint of this movie, but exposing them so early on seems premature and demonstrates poor showmanship. Or perhaps the philosophy was to hook the audience immediately before they could walk out from this talky and mostly non-action filled flick.
Though released in 1963, The Slime People seems more at home with the cheapie science fiction fare of the latter 1950s. All the elements are here: a cheesy premise, subpar acting, rubber-suited monsters, and an exceedingly low budget. Hutton states the budget for the film was $56,000, with three or four thousand dollars going to the creation of the Slime People costumes alone. Still, he was able to bring the movie in under cost, allowing the excess money to go for advertising. Roger Corman himself couldn’t boast more efficiency. Well, maybe.
From the DVD case: Devil’s Island escapee Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) poses as a shop proprietress and uses secrets of miniaturization to turn humans into elusive minions who inflict revenge on all who sent him to prison. Tod Browning (Freaks) directs. Maureen O’Sullivan co-stars.
Mark says: The Devil-Doll begins with a ludicrous premise: Paul Levond escapes prison after 17 years vowing to get revenge on the three former partners who framed him. Lavond’s fellow escapee, Marcel, is a scientist who leads Levond to his laboratory. Marcel and his wife, Malita, have been working on an experiment to shrink living creatures. Marcel’s wants to shrink every creature in the world as a way to combat overpopulation. Marcel believes if he can shrink everything down to 1/6 its size, the world will have six times the food on which to live. The drawback is that the shrunken subjects (only dogs, so far) lose their own wills and have to be guided by mind control, effectively turning them into slaves. While Marcel is attempting to miniaturize his servant, Lachna (Grace Ford), he falls ill and dies. However, the experiment is a success and Malita vows to carry on her husband’s work. Malita begs Levond to assist her in this venture. Levond realizes he can use Malita and her miniature people in his plot for revenge, and moves the operation to Paris, where his former partners are still enjoying their wealthy lifestyles. Because Lavond is a wanted man, he takes on the guise of “Madame Mandilip,” an elderly woman and kindly doll shop owner.
Despite this preposterous setup, The Devil-Doll is an enjoyable and capable film. Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks) proves a competent director, and the cast is formidable. Lionel Barrymore (Mark of the Vampire) is superb in the duel roles of Paul Lavond and Madame Mandilip. I had the pleasure of seeing this movie without the foreknowledge of Lionel Barrymore’s cross-dressing scenes. I was completely taken off guard when he appeared in a wig, earrings, and frock, speaking in a timbre similar to that of Aunt Bea’s from The Andy Griffith Show. Admittedly, this has a comedic effect, and proves somewhat distracting at first. I mean, here’s the great Lionel Barrymore, crotchety Mr. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life, shuffling about in a shawl and chapeau. However, and this is a testament to Barrymore’s acting, as the movie progresses, his scenes as “Madame Mandilip” become less and less of an issue. Barrymore makes a surprisingly believable old woman, and before long, we are drawn back into the story. Of course, there are still moments when his appearance elicits a chuckle. These moments usually occur when Barrymore is in full or partial drag but speaks in the decidedly masculine voice of Paul Lavond.
Mark says: Scripted by Aben Kandel (here as “Kenneth Langtry”) and producer Herman Cohen, this follow up to I Was a Teenage Werewolf and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, follows a tried formula: An unbalanced adult manipulates a teenage youth (or, in this case, youths) to do his nefarious bidding (see Blood of Dracula for a female version of this theme).
In the case of How to Make a Monster, the dominating adult is disgruntled make-up man, Pete Dumond, played by Robert H. Harris. Pete finds himself out of work after 25 years as the studio’s head monster creator. Harris comes off as slightly eccentric at the outset of the story. However, as the movie advances, Pete’s eccentricity gives way to creepiness, until he gradually flakes out completely by the film’s conclusion. Pete’s teenage patsies are Gary Clarke (Missle to the Moon) in the role of Larry Drake, and Gary Conway (who I will always fondly remember as Capt. Steve Burton in TV’s Land of the Giants) as Tony Mantell.
From the DVD case: When Dracula (Francis Lederer) pulls up stakes from his native Europe and flees across the Atlantic, he tries to fit in by posing as the cousin of an unsuspecting American family. But when he starts sinking his teeth into every red-blooded thing California has to offer, he soon turns the Golden State into a Ghoulish state! (1958,b&w)
Mark says: The Return of Dracula is one of four horror/science fiction films produced by Gramercy Pictures in the latter 1950s. Each picture (The Monster that Challenged the World, The Vampire, The Flame Barrier, and The Return of Dracula) is scripted by Pat Fielder and all, with the exception of The Flame Barrier, rank at least a notch above the standard fare that was being offered at the time.
The theme of an old, family relative arriving to bring evil to a small American town draws inevitable comparisons to Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943). The relationship between naïve and trusting Rachel, played by Norma Eberhardt (Problem Girls) and the worldly Dracula (posing as Cousin Bellac), played by Francis Lederer (Pandora’s Box), invites further comparison to the Hitchcock classic. Pat Fielder, in an interview with film historian Tom Weaver, noted some of her influences:
From the DVD case: A hormone intended to alter the breeding cycle of rabbits overrunning ranchlands instead turn them into flesh-eating, 150-pound monsters. Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun and DeForest Kelly are among the intrepid humans facing the behemoth bunnies. They use guns, flames, and dynamite to subtract them, but the rampaging rabbits know how to multiply. Can anything stop these hare-y, scary monsters? (1972, color)
Mark says: The most amazing thing about Night of the Lepus is that it is not played for laughs. Instead, the film is approached as a cautionary ecological tale regarding the fragile balance of nature. Director William F. Claxton (who directed a lot of television, including several episodes of The Twilight Zone), and a cast of veteran actors, among them, the great Janet Leigh (Psycho, The Fog), treat the script earnestly, as if the premise is not utterly ridiculous. I mean, the movie is about giant, bloodthirsty bunnies. That’s funny, right? Even the book it is based on, The Year of the Angry Rabbit by Russell Braddon, is described as, “a savagely humorous indictment of War, Nationalism and Capitalism.” Savagely humorous! This movie may have had some success if it were created as a spoof of the giant, radiated, mutant bug/animal horror flicks that gained popularity in previous decades, but it is played absolutely straight.
So, how did MGM decide to make a picture like Night of the Lepus? Tom Weaver, in his book, Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes, put this very question to lead actress, Janet Leigh. Her response: