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
The earliest preserved “adaptation” of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau from 1921 disappoints Wells fans. While sporting impressive actors, the German comedy is marred by a haphazard script and lazy direction. 3/10
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
Based on Shakespeare, MGM’s 1956 epic starring Anne Francis & Leslie Nielsen is a landmark SF movie. The pulpy premise of space explorers saving a virgin from an alien monster hides surprisingly serious and adult themes. 9/10
A treat for so-bad-they’re-good movie fans, this 1955 clunker from ARC/AIP takes place almost exclusively on a California beach where FBI agents hunt movie history’s most incompetent spy and a radioactive sea monster. 1/10
A small group of survivors hole up in a bungalow after a nuclear war, hoping to outlast the fallout and the mutants raging beyond the picket fence. Roger Corman directs the 1955 cheapo efficiently, but it spends too long treading water. 3/10
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
Ed Wood’s 1955 schlocker is a love letter to the film’s star Bela Lugosi and the monster movies of the thirties, and as such it is quite charming, despite its ineptitude. And despite ill health, Lugosi is magnetic in his last first billing. 5/10
Strange deaths occur at an underground US research facility controlled by a computer. Suspicion falls on two helper robots, Gog and Magog. This 1954 Ivan Tors thriller in colour has a great setup, but feels more like a science lesson than an SF film. 5/10
Glorious comic book camp smashes into dull noir drama in this British 1954 cult classic. A must-see for Martian dominatrix Patricia Laffan looking for strong Earth men in her kinky latex outfit, but don’t expect too much. 5/10
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
The disembodied brain of ruthless millionaire Donovan takes telepathic control over the scientist keeping it alive in a fish tank. Based on Curt Siodmak’s novel, this 1953 effort is at its best a taut SF chiller, at its worst a confusing tax fraud potboiler. 5/10