Evil scientists turn an unwitting family man into a werewolf and let him loose in a sleepy small town. Made on a shoestring with bit-part actors, this 1956 Columbia melodrama packs some nice visuals and interesting, adult themes. 6/10.
While Basil Rathbone, Herbert Rudley & Akim Tamiroff pull their weight in this talky 1956 monster mash, it’s incomprehensible that Lon Chaney, John Carradine, Bela Lugosi & Tor Johnson have all been consigned to shuffling mutely in the corners. 5/10
Much of the heritage in SF movies comes from non-English language films from the first half of the 20th century, many of which are largely unknown to an English-speaking audience today. Here we list the 25 greatest non-English language science fiction movies made prior to 1950. How many have you seen?
A 1956 cult classic, this gangster-monster mashup with Lon Chaney Jr. as a super-charged avenger suffers from the cutting of most of Chaney’s lines, and with them key scenes. Decent performances & good location shooting make it worth a watch. 3/10
A plastic surgeon believes that by giving a scarred female criminal a pretty new face, he can reform her. The twist in this 1952 Hammer entry by Terence Fisher is that the surgeon gives the criminal the face of the woman he loves, and marries her. 5/10
Percy Stow was one of the pioneers of British trick films, and often took on science fiction subjects in his short films made between 1901 and 1915. In these he showcased high technical quality and a touch of originality.
A well-meaning goofball is injected with a serum that allows him to see future events. Suddenly there is no end of people wanting to take advantage of the kind-hearted tramp. This Mexican 1956 effort is a minor film for comedian Clavillazo. 4/10
A scientist trying to end hunger creates a giant spider that runs amok in a small desert community. This 1955 classic is not director Jack Arnold’s best work, but even so, it’s one of the best giant critter movies of the 50’s. 6/10
Cult director Edward L. Cahn directs SF staple Richard Denning with a Curt Siodmak script in this 1955 consumable about gangster zombies with radioactive brains. An entertaining but forgettable atom age potboiler from Columbia. 4/10
As enthusiastic as it is bewildering, this operatic Mexican 1953 medical horror film is a clunky passion project. Throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, it’s a mix between The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein and Mystery of the Wax Museum. 6/10
A scientist transforms himself to a Neanderthal man and starts molesting women in this cheap and belated mad doctor entry from 1953. 3/10
A contender for the worst movie ever, this 1953 patch-job is a mind-boggling series of failures. Built upon existing footage from an unreleased picture, this one includes spider women, mad scientists and evil dwarfs, and still manages to be deadly dull. 0/10
Often cited as one of the worst films ever made, this 1952 low-budget mad scientist/jungle comedy is better than its reputation – if you can get past Sammy Petrillo’s Jerry Lewis imitation. 3/10
Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe shine in this nutty 1952 screwball comedy where a nutty professor’s chimp invents a rejuvenation serum, with hilarious results. Howard Hawks’ direction overcomes the thin script. 7/10
Edward Jekyll tries to clear his family name by recreating his father’s experiments, but a scandal-hungry society, his friends and even his own sanity seems to conspire against him. A laudable, but meandering 1951 low-budget effort from the pen of Jack Pollexfen. 4/10