It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)

it! the terror from beyond space 1958

Good SF suspense movie about a monster loose on a spaceship headed back to Earth from Mars. The screenplay is by SF writer Jerome Bixby.

In January 1973 man has landed on Mars. It doesn’t go well. Colonel Ed Carruthers (Marshall Thompson) sends a message back that he’s the lone survivor. The crew are all dead. The military is going to court martial him and charge him with killing them.

A rescue ship lands to take bring him back. Before take off an emergency hatch is left open where a crew member was dumping excess items onto the planet. Leaving a door open is never a good idea.

The crew all resent Carruthers and believe him guilty. Crewman Joe Kleinholz hears noises coming from a storage compartment and investigates. Caruthers is playing chess with Eric Royce (Dabs Greer) when he hears a scream.

They go to check it out. They can’t find him. Then Gino Finelli disappears. Kleinholz body is discovered hanging inside a duct. Jack Purdue climbs in and finds a passed out Gino barely alive. Now he sees It and fires off a few shots and leaves.

Bullets are a joke and they line the grates with hand grenades. Is that a good idea on a space ship? Guess it’s okay in the movies. It is on the move and the grenades explode.¬† Colonel Van Heusen (Did the shirt company put some bucks into the movie?) opens the hatch to see what happened and gets clawed. Now they try gas grenades. Nope.

An autopsy shows Kleinholz’s body is void of all fluids. Carruthers and Jim Calder think maybe It can be electrocuted. That just makes him mad. Calder ends up being trapped with only a blow torch for self defense. Can they ever come up with a plan to get rid of….It?

The shots of the ship going through space are beyond laughable and the monster is obviously a guy in a suit (Ray Corrigan) but it doesn’t really matter. This isn’t about special effects or a believable looking monster. View it as a suspense film with a SF element and it’s worth checking out.

This was Ray Corrigan’s last movie appearance. He usually played gorillas and other creatures in the 40’s and made numerous westerns in the 30’s as Tucson Smith and the 40’s as Crash Corrigan.


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Copernick’s Rebellion-Leo A.Frankowski (1987)

leo a frankowski-copernick's rebellion

Free food. It’s the end of civilization. The cover makes it look like a comic novel but there’s a lot of death and destruction to keep it from that category. There is humor but for the most part it’s the economic downfall of the world. This was really good and well worth seeking out.

Heinrich Copernick and his nephew Martin came to the U.S. from Germany during World War Two. Heinrich is a bioengineer and the two made a bundle on medical instruments. That was 1999, the start of it all. Heiny engineered tree houses that could grow furniture and food..everything for free. By 2003 it all comes apart.

Trouble starts when some trees eat their human occupants. They forgot that the tree had to be fertilized by using a section as a toilet. Heiny starts making genetic creatures like LDU’s. That stands for Labor and Defense Unit. He also makes gentle Fauns. They’re half girl,half goat and are babysitters and educators. There are also intelligent forms of transportation.

Real estate agents, economists etc. aren’t happy. One agent goes on a talk show at NBC hosted by Patty Cambridge. He agrees to live in a tree house for six months. Of course he says it’s a horrible experience but has some property for sale. Patty is eventually assigned to find Heiny. He’s in Death Valley, now called Life Valley as it’s full of tree houses.

Patty finds him and a Faun named Liebchen meaning no harm puts a spell over her with a drink and she falls for Heiny. She no longer sees him as five feet and three hundred pounds. One of his biggest foes is Major General George Hastings. His family was killed by the trees. He’s out for vengeance. He orders a plane to drop an atom bomb on Life Valley.

Heiny has a few tricks up his sleeve and releases a new weapon the size of a mosquito. Now the world really starts to crumble.

This is an excellent read and the genetic inventions are not that far off. The book has been brought out of obscurity and published in a new edition.

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The Talk Of Hollywood (1929)

the talk of hollywood 1929

A movie producer lost his money on silents now that talkies are in. He decides to make one, This is a comedy with some musical numbers. Some of the jokes will offend the PC police but so what.

J.Pierpont Ginsburg (Nat Carr) has just manged to raise the money for his new picture. He lives with his daughter Ruth and their butler James. He wants Ruth to think of him as a success. At the studio he does some auditioning. This is the scene that’s loaded with jokes some will consider offensive. The writer wants to make some changes but Ginsburg just wants to cut costs.

His big star is Adore Renee (Fay Marbe). (The opening credits says this is Madame Fay Marbe’s talkie debut). Ginsburg is paying her a hundred dollars an hour. She likes to sleep until two in the afternoon. She finally shows up. She does a song and then is joined by a partner for a dance number. Now the chorus line does their thing. Then a scantily clad girl starts a dance number when a male singer comes out and starts his vocal part. Ginsburg says it’s too dramatic and does a number himself after which he fires the singer. One more song from Renee and another appearance from the chorus line.

The director says they got a lot of work done and it looks like a wrap. Then they find out the mics were defective and it all has to be done over. Ginsburg doesn’t know how he’s going to get the money for all those retakes. The cast is ready to quit. When he goes to talk to them his lawyer, who happens to be Ruth’s fiancee, calls his broker. He tells him to sell everything. He tells Ginsburg he found the money but doesn’t tell him how he got it.

It’s all done and time now to show the buyers. They’re gathered in the preview room. The regular projectionist didn’t want to wok on Saturday so a substitute is there. He doesn’t want to be. He’s drunk. The expected results occur.

Overall the movie is pretty bad but from here on out it’s a lot better than the first fifty minutes. No problem seeing where it’s going but Carr is very good in his performance so that makes it worth watching. Renee can be annoying in her musical routines but they fit the time period. This was her first and last talkie appearance. She appeared in two silents as a dancer.

Fay Marbe

Fay Marbe

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The Perfect Big Band-Jimmie Lunceford


Twenty-four tracks offering seventy minutes of one of the era’s greatest Big Bands. Collectors have all of this but if you’re new to Lunceford this will make you a fan.

Highlights include: “Rhythm Is Out Business (Theme)”, “For Dancers’s Only”, “Margie” and “Tain’t What You Do.”

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The Crimson Kimono (1959)

the crimson kimono 1959

Written, Directed and Produced by Sam Fuller this starts as a crime movie about the murder of a stripper and gets bogged down in a story about a love triangle and bigotry.

Stripper Sugar Torch heads back to her dressing room after her act. There’s a gunshot. She opens the door and sees a man with a gun. She runs off but is shot down in the street. Detective Sgt.Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) and his partner Detective Joe Kojaku (James Shigeta) investigate.

Sugar was planning an act where she’d dress as a Geisha. A karate expert and a warrior would fight over her. There’s a painting on the wall of Sugar in a crimson kimono. Thanks to a lead from eccentric alcoholic artist Mac (Anna Lee) Charlie finds Chris Downs (Victoria Shaw). She painted the picture of Sugar. It was the idea of a man named Hansel.

Meanwhile Joe is trying to find karate expert Shuto. He was going to be part of the act. As things progress someone takes a shot at Chris.¬† For her protection she moves into the apartment shared by Charlie and Joe. They’ve been best friends since the Korean War. Charlie falls for Chris.

One night Charlie goes to meet an informant named Ziggy (Walter Burke). He shows him where Hansel is staying. Charlie missed him by ten minutes. Back at the apartment Chris and Joe realize they’re meant to be and the triangle has formed.

The movie concentrates more on that aspect than the murder case. Of course it causes a split between the two best friends. After a Kendo battle where Joe gets too aggressive and knocks Charlie out he ends up telling him about Chris. Charlie gets a look in his eye that Joe misinterprets as bigotry and storms out.

It was interesting how that whole scenario was played and how self doubt and jumping to conclusions can cause numerous and even unsolvable problems. The quick ending takes place at the annual Nisei Festival in L.A.’s Little Tokyo. It tries to be two movies in one and falls flat as it tries to make a point.

Glenn Corbett frequently appeared in TV episodes. He took George Maharis’ place on “Route 66″ in the 1963-64 season.

This was James Shigeta’s first movie. He shared a Golden Globe award as best Newcomer with Troy Donahue,Barry Coe and George Hamilton in 1960.

Soap fans know Anna Lee as Lila Quatermaine on “General Hospital.”

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The New Black Mask No.3-Edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli & Richard Layman

matthew h bruccoli & richard latman-the new black mask number three

There are eight editions in this series. This edition has six stories from 1980,85). There’s also a short interview with Donald E. Westlake and an excerpt from his novel, “Good Behavior.” Also included is an excerpt from Jim Thompson’s “Ripoff.” Favorite stories:

“A Pity About The Girl” (1985) – Two men now middle aged meet again in Paris. One saved the other from the Nazis who invaded his farmhouse. Also saved was the man’s young daughter. How times have changed.

“Breaking Even” (1985) – Clark Howard – Dewey Taylor is a reporter on the way down. He’s covering a murder trial in a small Alabama town. He covered the defendants’ last trial ten years ago. He was charged with the ice pick murder of his wife and got acquitted. This time he’s charged¬† with the murder of his boss. He’s convicted and gets the death penalty. In a jailhouse interview he tells Taylor he really did kill his wife but this time he’s innocent.

“The Grabber” (1985) – Isak Romun – A serial rapist-murderer has been gunned down by the police. The story is told via flashback when one girl lives through the ordeal. Back to the present. A reporter tracks down the significane of the numbers 666 that were on the wall where the criminal was shot down.

Other authors: Linda Barnes, James O’Keefe, John Ball.



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Branded (1965-66)

Chuck Connors as Jason McCord

Chuck Connors as Jason McCord

Jason McCord was kicked out of the army following a court martial accusing him of cowardice. He was the only survivor of the Battle of Bitter Creek. He covered up for the commander actually responsible for the massacre. Now he wanders around trying to restore his good name.

Opening episode:January 24,1965 – “Survival” w/Alex Cord – Going through the desert to the next town McCord comes across a dead horse. Later he sees a man almost done for. He’s Jed Colbee (Alex Cord). He was on his way to town to join his wife and young daughter and then join a wagon train.

McCord nurses him along. Colbee starts thinking only one of them will make it. At night when he looks for firewood Colbee comes across a skull. As soon as McCord falls asleep, Colbee gets on the horse and threatens McCord at gunpoint. Then he tosses the gun back to him, apologizes and rides off.

A Navajo comes across McCord and takes care of him. He says he’ll accompany him to town so he can kill the man who left him to die. Meanwhile in town, Colbee leaves the horse at the stable and gives the man enough money to care for it for a few weeks. Shortly afterwards the stable man gives Colbee his money back saying the horse’s owner showed up. McCord, sensing trouble, straps on his gun.

Connors is excellent and this is well worth seeking out.

Among many of his TV roles, Alex Cord played Michael Coldsmith Briggs III on “Airwolf” (1984-86).

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