Category Archives: Bert I. Gordon

Blu-Ray News #294: War Of The Colossal Beast (1958).

Produced and Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Starring Sally Fraser, Roger Pace, Dean Parkin

Scream Factory has announced a July release for another of the “Arkoff AIPs,” Bert I. Gordon’s War Of The Colossal Beast (1958). It’s a sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), with a different cast (the monster’s mangled face hides the fact that it’s a different actor this time). One thing that hasn’t changed are the less-than-special effects. The last scene was shot in color, though the ads give you the impression that the whole movie would be. It ain’t much of a movie, I guess, but it’s a lot of cheesy fun.

It’s great to have another AIP picture getting the terrific Scream Factory treatment. Can’t wait.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1958, AIP, Bert I. Gordon, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray News #277: The Spider (AKA Earth Vs. The Spider, 1958).

Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Starring Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, Eugene Persson, Gene Roth, Hal Torey

I absolutely love the 50s Big Bug movies. So I was excited to hear the big news that Scream Factory’s AIP series (of the Arkoff-controled pictures) will include Bert I. Gordon’s The Spider (1958). It’s announced for an April release.

Bert I. Gordon made a number of movies about big stuff: The Amazing Colossal Man (1957, giant guy), Beginning Of The End (1957, giant grasshoppers), War Of The Colossal Beast (1958, sequel to Colossal Man), Attack Of The Puppet People (1958, a switch to tiny people this time), Village Of The Giants (1965, giant teenagers and duck), The Food Of The Gods (1977, giant rats and wasps), Empire Of The Ants (1977, giant ants, naturally).

Originally titled Earth Vs. The Spider (which appears in the film’s credits), the titled was shortened after The Fly (1958) became such a hit. For those who like this sorta thing, this one’s highly recommended. And isn’t that hot rod up top gorgeous?

Leave a comment

Filed under 1958, AIP, Bert I. Gordon, DVD/Blu-ray News, Samuel Z. Arkoff, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray Review: The Cyclops (1957).

Written, Produced & Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Cinematography: Ira Morgan
Music by Albert Glasser
Film Editor: Carlo Lodato
Special Voice Effects: Paul Frees

Cast: James Craig (Russ Bradford), Gloria Talbott (Susan Winter), Lon Chaney (Martin ‘Marty’ Melville), Tom Drake (Lee Brand), Duncan Parkin (The Cyclops, Bruce Barton), Vincent Padula (The Governor)

__________

The Cyclops (1957) is 66 minutes of one-eyed wonderful-ness. It was the first in a string of pictures from writer/producer/director Bert I. Gordon where regular-sized people became very big, (oftentimes) very ugly, and ultimately very destructive. His other big pictures include The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), War Of The Colossal Beast (1958), Village Of The Giants (1965) and Food Of The Gods (1976). How does all that and Gordon’s initials, B.I.G., figure into the whole auteur theory thing? Of course, let’s not forget his change of pace, Attack Of The Puppet People (1958), where some folks (including John Agar) get smaller rather than larger.

The Cyclops goes something like this. Susan Winter (Gloria Talbott) and a group of three “adventurers” head to Mexico to locate her fiancée, Bruce Barton (Duncan Parkin), who went missing three years ago. They crash their plane in a jungle valley with very high levels of radiation where, you guessed it, all the animals are really, really big. Birds, bugs, snakes, lizards — all huge. Then, along comes a giant bald guy with a really messed-up face and a voice that sounds exactly like Paul Frees grunting and groaning.

The special effects (also by Gordon), well, they ain’t so special. The cyclops and other monsters are often oddly transparent, and it looks like very little thought went into keeping the scale of the creatures consistent from one shot to the next. A papier-mâché rock seems to dress up the oft-used entrance to Bronson Caves, but it actually provides something to superimpose the cyclops behind. (It’s weird to think that the climax of a masterpiece like The Searchers and a slew of movies like The Cyclops were shot in the exact same spot.)

All that, and it’s got Lon Chaney, Jr. in it!

The Cyclops is terrible in all the best ways. There’s a charm to it the movies will never be able to recapture. As Hollywood goes for the bigger, I’m drawn to the smaller (and older). That said, Warner Archive has The Cyclops livin’ large on Blu-Ray. It looks better than I ever thought this cheap picture would ever look. It’s sharp, the contrast and grain are absolutely perfect, and the audio is as clear as it can be. I’m so glad movies like this are getting this level of attention.

In short, The Cyclops on Blu-Ray is easy on the eye (sorry, couldn’t resist) — and highly recommended.

10 Comments

Filed under 1957, Bert I. Gordon, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Lon Chaney Jr., Monogram/Allied Artists, Paul Frees, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #190: The Cyclops (1957).

Written, produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon
Starring James Craig, Lon Chaney, Gloria Talbott, Duncan Parkin

Does my eye deceive me? Could it be that Warner Archive is bringing The Cyclops (1957) to Blu-Ray?

It’s hard for me to decide which I love more, this or War Of The Colossal Beast (1958, the sequel to 1957’s The Amazing Colossal Man) — both of which feature Duncan Parkin as a giant mutant freak in a loin cloth. The main point of difference is that he has just one eye in The Cyclops, naturally, and his loin cloth is more tattered.

I cannot wait to experience the splendor of this in high definition with my own eye(s). No date is set, but I hope it’s soon!

1 Comment

Filed under 1957, Bert I. Gordon, DVD/Blu-ray News, Lon Chaney Jr., Monogram/Allied Artists, Warner Archive