Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ten Statements About....JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET (1962)

"Raaahr!  Eye's a monsta!  Get it?  EYE!  I'VE GOT ONE EYE!"
"Our minds are being probed like mice--lab specimens."

1) I always find the perceptions of the future from the past fascinating--this film supposedly takes place in 2001, and it's nice to know we achieved world peace and turned over control of the planet to the United Nations some eleven years ago.

2) Ahhhhh, John Agar...towards the end of your matinee idol career and still playing the hot-to-trot American stud trying to make out with the...questionably attractive Greta Thyssen. But hey, you're an American actor giving us some recognition factor amongst all these Danes....

3) Even though this is a Danish-American co-production (the notorious Sid Pink was coming from the absolutely peculiar Danish kaiju Reptilicus when he made this), it's hilarious how these Danish actors interpret the racial stereotypes who make up the crew.  Check out the one guy who's playing the Irishman, who among other things believes in leprechauns!

4) Wow...nothing like a Jim Danforth-animated one eyed, pot bellied rat monster to convince you you're experiencing the height of terror. But at least it's original, and not heavily-tinted special effects scenes from Earth Versus The Spider. And dig that roar that is used for both monsters--it's supposedly a repurposed scream from Rodan, but I suspect it's just a guy going 'Rahr! I's A Monster!'

5) Keeping in mind that this is an ultra-low-budget movie from a producer with a reputation for being ultra-cheap, I admit I liked the spacesuit designs they came up with. Yeah, they're obviously jury-rigged, but the person who assembled them took a lot of care to make them seem both striking and utilitarian.

6) So the crew are going to put together a super-acetylene torch to destroy the one-eyed (again with the cyclopean creatures!) Jello-Mold Monster that is the enemy of the film....and they do so by cannibalizing parts and siphoning off liquid oxygen from the fuel tanks? Wouldn't that, like, prevent them from making the trip home, especially given how the script implies that this space trip is seriously micro-managed?

7) I find it hilarious that the creature can apparently manifest desires, and all those desires incarnate as women of questionable hotness dressed more often than not like early 50's pin-up girls, who are then made to be sinister as the film goes on. The problem is that these women are not very good actresses, and seeing them try to act all evil on a dime is silly as all hell--especially when Pink decides to change the lighting on the girls' face to reflect their eeeeevilness.

"Rahr!  I's a monsta...and I come in so many flavors!"
8) the script by Ib Melchoir and Pink establishes early on that the icicles that populate the Uranian surface are so sharp they can tear open the spacesuit, leading to instant suffocation and/or decompression....but when one of the spacemen does rip open his suit, it's okay because it's so cold that the blood spilled would freeze over the tear, re-sealing it....wouldn't there by a dire frostbite problem to be dealt with, what with the temperature being 200 degrees below zero and all?

9) Look, I may rag on this film for some of its questionable special effects--believe it or not, the Danforth rat-thing is arguably a high point of the film--but there's something quaint and charming in a movie that believes it can get away with pin-scratching the film negative to represent laser fire and obvious stop-motion photography to represent the Jello-Mold Monster's terraforming of the spaceship's environment. This sort of poverty-row creativity has gone the way of the dodo in the wake of increasingly inexpensive computer graphics suites, and I almost miss it.

10) Oh, Lord....that theme song. I don't know what element makes it so bad--the pathetic lyrics or the fact that it sounds like it was recorded in the Grand Central Station bathroom.

Overall...a pretty bad film which manages to generate some modicum of a 'so bad it's good' quality...maybe not enough to make it bearable, but enough to maybe sample a bit to see if it's for you...

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