Simply because the thirties had been a golden age for Gothic horror movies, so the fifties would do the identical for science fiction. The facility of the atom had undeniably hooked the general public on the wonders of science. This, coupled with the event of rocket energy and the primary main UFO sightings, offered a wealth of exploitable materials for the movie business. The primary movie off the launch pad was to have been Vacation spot Moon (1950), however the phrase round Hollywood had already unfold – area fiction was going to be massive – and the unbiased Lippert manufacturing firm rushed Rocketship XM (1950) by means of whereas the extra pricey George Pal manufacturing was nonetheless being shot. Rocketship XM (standing for Expedition Moon) beat Vacation spot Moon into theatres by no less than three weeks. Starring Lloyd Bridges, Rocketship XM tells the considerably pulpy story of an expedition to the moon that runs off-course and finally ends up on Mars. There, our intrepid heroes encounter a band of Martian mutants that appear to be they’ve escaped from a Flash Gordon serial. Oddly sufficient, Rocketship XM is at this time much more pleasurable than Vacation spot Moon, a fairly sluggish and ponderous movie whose main belongings are the excellent lunar landscapes created by area artist Chesley Bonestell.
George Pal returned the next yr with When Worlds Collide (1951), a movie highlighted by some spectacular particular results together with the inundation of New York by a tidal wave. 20th Century Fox’s entry for the yr was The Day The Earth Stood Nonetheless (1951) directed by Robert Sensible. Based mostly on the Harry Bates brief story Farewell To The Grasp, it revolves round a customer from one other planet whose mission to Earth is to warn the superpowers about their abuse of the atom. To again him up, he has with him a two-and-a-half metre tall robotic named Gort. Performed by the doorman from Graumann’s Chinese language Theatre named Locke Martin, Gort was outfitted with a dying ray able to destroying all in its path. Michael Rennie portrays Klaatu, the benevolent alien who finds the human race a usually unfriendly lot, not eager to be informed what to do. The Day The Earth Stood Nonetheless stays one of many extra clever science fiction movies from the interval, drastically enhanced by Sensible’s assured course, moody monochrome images by Leo Tover and a spine-tingling digital rating by Bernard Herrmann.
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The opposite nice science fiction thriller that yr is The Factor From One other World (1951) produced by Howard Hawks and distributed by RKO. A gaggle of scientists and army personnel are remoted in an arctic analysis station. Someday they uncover what seems to be a flying saucer buried within the ice and, close by, its frozen occupant. The alien is by accident thawed out and goes on a rampage of destruction all through the small camp. Though the movie is credited as being directed by Christian Nyby (Hawks’ editor), it’s usually thought-about as we speak as a Howard Hawks movie. The script by Charles Lederer based mostly on John W. Campbell‘s 1939 novella Who Goes There? fairly bristles with the famed director’s themes – army comradeship, a resourceful heroine and machine-gun quick dialogue. It’s a tightly directed thriller which owes as a lot to the horror style because it does to science fiction, and it’s all of the simpler for the truth that the alien (performed by pre-Gunsmoke James Arness) is glimpsed solely fleetingly for a lot of the image’s operating time.
Simply as Common had led the sector in Gothic horror through the thirties, so they might with science fiction all through the early fifties. When Warner Brothers’ Home Of Wax (1953) appeared in Three-D breaking box-office data, nearly all of Hollywood studios jumped on the bandwagon (some issues by no means change). Common was no exception, dashing It Got here From Outer Area (1953) into manufacturing, a few group of non-aggressive aliens who cease off right here to make some operating repairs on their spaceship. Underneath Jack Arnold‘s course the movie makes imaginative use of the Three-D medium and the Southern California desert places.
The next yr Jack Arnold directed The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954), a horror thriller a few half-man/half-fish prehistoric monster deep within the Amazon jungles. The three-D shocker was in style sufficient to spawn two sequels, Revenge Of The Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Amongst Us (1956), to not point out the slew of imitations that adopted. Arnold returned to the desert locale for top-of-the-line ‘Giant Bug’ films ever made, Tarantula (1955), a few big spider terrorising a small city earlier than being dispatched by the air drive amid a fireball of napalm. The pilot main the assault was performed by a younger Clint Eastwood who, that exact same yr, additionally appeared in Revenge Of The Creature and Francis The Speaking Mule In The Navy (1955).
Common continued all through the last decade, producing usually above-average science fiction films similar to This Island Earth (1955), The Mole Individuals (1956), The Lethal Mantis (1957), The Monolith Monsters (1957), The Land Unknown (1957), and The Unimaginable Shrinking Man (1957), which stays Jack Arnold‘s masterpiece. Based on the Richard Matheson novel, it tells the story of Scott Carey (Grant Williams), a man who is infected by a radioactive mist and finds himself shrinking. A perfect blend of science fiction, adventure and horror, the film benefits greatly from Arnold’s no-nonsense course, Matheson’s literate screenplay and memorable particular results by Clifford Stine.
Different studios have been exploiting the general public’s urge for food for science fiction movies as properly. A spectacular model of H.G. Wells‘ The War Of The Worlds (1953) was produced by George Pal and directed by Byron Haskin. Although little remains of Wells’ unique setting, the movie is a riveting motion masterpiece. William Cameron Menzies, who had directed Issues To Come (1936), once more returned to science fiction that yr with the comparatively low-budgeted Invaders From Mars (1953), a multi-layered movie steeped in dream-like imagery. Shot solely from a toddler’s perspective, a boy witnesses the touchdown of a UFO. Nobody will consider him at first, however when numerous individuals (together with his personal mother and father) are taken over by the Martian monsters and became senseless slaves, the US Military steps in to save lots of the day. The twist is, on the finish of the movie, all the drama is revealed to be the boy’s nightmare, an ending which was lacking from many prints of the movie.
Even Walt Disney recognised the potential of science fiction and produced Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath The Sea (1954), a multi-million greenback adaptation of Jules Verne‘s basic collection of tales. Starring James Mason as Captain Nemo, the movie was directed by Richard Fleischer (son of animator Max Fleischer) in wonderful fashion, making use of the wealth of know-how out there on the Disney studios. The particular results are certainly particular, particularly the battle with the enormous squid throughout a raging storm at sea, and the manufacturing design by Harper Goff lavishly captures the texture of the unique tales.
Warner Brothers, too, have been eager to cash-in on the growth, they usually did so with The Beast From Twenty Thousand Fathoms (1953). A few prehistoric monster defrosted by atomic testing, the movie is greatest remembered at this time as the primary solo effort by stop-motion maestro Ray Harryhausen. Atomic radiation run rampant was the supply for Warner Brothers’ different main entry within the science fiction stakes of the fifties, Them! (1954), which detailed in virtually documentary trend the story of a nest of ants enlarged to ginogorous proportions following atomic exams.
MGM, as ever involved with high quality fairly than amount, produced one of many key fantasies of the fifties, Forbidden Planet (1956). Set on a distant planet within the far future, the story revolves round an expedition looking for a gaggle of area vacationers misplaced years earlier than. They uncover all that is still of them on Altair IV: Professor Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his lovely daughter Altaira (Anne Francis). However the mysterious planet holds a grim secret and the remnants of a extremely smart tradition, that of the telepathic Krell. Though the screenplay by Cyril Hume owes a lot to William Shakespeare‘s The Tempest, the movie is tricked out with sufficient particular results and spectacular scenes to separate it from its origins. Utterly shot on the MGM sound levels in entrance of large dioramas, Forbidden Planet captures a peculiar temper fairly distinctive for movies of the interval, a temper fairly enhanced by the all-electronic rating by Louis & Bebe Barron. Maybe the only most memorable facet of the movie is Robby The Robotic. Able to producing something from whiskey to diamonds, the robotic is used as a serious character within the story.
On the coronary heart of most of the ‘alien invasion’ movies of the fifties was paranoia, a paranoia fed every day by the tv broadcasts of the Home of Un-American Actions hearings happening in Washington. Spearheaded by the megalomaniacal Senator Joseph McCarthy, these hearings ruined the careers of many Hollywood personalities as one-by-one they have been hauled earlier than the committee, their lives and movies examined in minute element in an effort to hyperlink them with both Communism or Communist-backed organisations. It was an enormous Purple scare. The most effective of those metaphorical science fiction thrillers is Invasion Of The Physique Snatchers (1956) directed by Don Siegel. On this finely honed chiller, aliens take over the our bodies of odd individuals, turning them into unthinking impassive meat-puppets. With a minimal of particular results, Siegel creates a claustrophobic nightmare of a movie by which anybody could possibly be an alien invader. The theme was explored in subsequent options, most notably the minor basic I Married A Monster From Outer Area (1958).
In the direction of the shut of the last decade it was obvious that science fiction was operating out of steam as the only foundation for unbelievable movies and producers began to deliver again horror. Whereas such late entries as I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957), It The Terror From Past Area (1958), The Blob (1958), The Fly (1958) and George Pal‘s The Time Machine (1960) were all based in science fiction, what really attracted the audiences were the horrific aspects of the films. This was further underlined with the success of The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957) produced in England by Hammer. Supposedly a remake of Frankenstein (1931), it starred two actors new to the genre: My old friends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Where James Whale’s unique had been restrained within the displaying of the extra horrific points of the work of Physician Frankenstein, the Hammer movie broke new floor depicting the gory particulars on-screen.
Hammer, Cushing and Lee have been hot-to-trot and, to additional exploit this success, they regrouped for The Horror Of Dracula (1958), a vibrant retelling of the Bram Stoker basic, decked out with lavish (if low price range) manufacturing values, a compelling efficiency by Lee because the vampire rely, and workmanlike uncluttered course from Terence Fisher. As soon as extra the emphasis was on bodily grue and violence although, by as we speak’s requirements, this early Hammer horror appears slightly tame. However for the time, the components labored marvelously, and for almost 20 years the studio produced a collection of options which, for probably the most half, proved in style with worldwide audiences. Cushing got here again for the primary Frankenstein sequel, The Revenge Of Frankenstein (1958), Lee made The Mummy (1959), and the 2 paired up for a splendid model of The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1959) during which Cushing provides a spirited efficiency as Sherlock Holmes whereas Lee portrayed Henry Baskerville.
Whereas Hammer have been scoring factors with their Gothic remakes, one Hollywood producer was taking discover – Roger Corman. All through the fifties Corman directed all method of exploitation movies, from gangster melodramas to horror and science fiction thrillers. A few of the extra lurid titles embrace The Day The World Ended (1955), It Conquered The World (1956), Assault Of The Crab Monsters (1956), Not Of This Earth (1956), The Undead (1956), The Viking Ladies And The Sea Serpent (1957), Teenage Caveman (1958), A Bucket Of Blood (1959), The Wasp Lady (1959), The Little Store Of Horrors (1960), The Final Lady On Earth (1960) and Creature From The Haunted Sea (1960). As evidenced by this sampling of Corman titles, the younger filmmaker made low cost fast footage which glad the seemingly insatiable urge for food of the principally teenage audiences of the time. In some instances Corman churned out films in only a matter of days on tiny budgets. From the start of 1955 to the top of 1960 he had directed a minimum of thirty-one options.
With that tremendous feat in thoughts I’ll ask you to please be a part of me subsequent week when I’ve the chance to current you with extra unthinkable realities and unbelievable factoids of the darkest days of cinema, exposing probably the most daring shriek-and-shudder shock sensations to ever be discovered within the steaming cesspit generally known as…Horror Information! Toodles!
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