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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000 -- movie review by Squashpants



TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000 (1958)

This is a true crappy movie of the sort that was sure to show up on the local monster movie program back in the Sixties. It is one of the many pics that were made for the burgeoning drive-in theater and broadcast TV markets of the time.

And it is a lot of fun, IMHO.

It is basically about a time machine of sorts. However, Dr. Erling's time machine does not take him to other times. It brings objects to him from other times. Like THE YEAR 5000 (yes, you have to shout it with full reverb effects). The excitement(?) starts when the over-sized water heater brings back a living mutant woman from THE YEAR 5000.

And, yes, this was MST3Kized, and it was really quite a funny MST3K, as they go.

But even so, the movie stands on its own as a monument to how entertaining a low-budget science fiction movie can be. The players are pretty decent for what script they have to work with. Ward Costello playing the skeptical Dr. Hedges, Joyce Holden playing the housewife-sexy Claire Erling, daughter of the already-mentioned Dr. Erling (Frederich Downs). Playing the mutant babe is a young Salome Jens, looking pretty sweet after she steals the face of a nurse she waylays. John Stratton is there for plot tension and nefarious doings of various sorts, playing Victor, the jealous fiance of Joyce Holden's character.

Some of the things that stand out in TFTY5K are the four-eyed mutant cat that Dr. Hedges dredges up from the lagoon; Jen's sparkly, hypnotic fingernails; the peeping tom handyman who reminds one of Jimmy Carter; a radioactive statue from the future that ends up being dumped in a bucket of water ("Watch out. That thing's hotter than hell!"); the mutant lady's face, when she is not otherwise disguised, which is scary enough to give a tweener the willies.

But the most noteworthy thing, I think, about this movie is the unexpectedly steamy clinch between Costello's character and Holden's. Talk about a convincing job of portraying a hormone ramp-up. You can almost hear the "sploosh". It's no wonder that, after that, Dr. Hedges is seen skipping jauntily while cartoon music plays on the soundtrack.

This movie has charm to burn, and is unintentionally funny to beat the band. I am sure that as a Monster Kid, I was probably delighted and intrigued by the movie when I saw it on the old black and white console (and I am certain that I saw it when I was a teen).

Yessiree, not a bad way to waste some time. Some time FROM THE YEAR 5000!


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