Category Archives: Edward L. Cahn

Blu-Ray News #108: The Four Skulls Of Jonathan Drake (1959).

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Directed by Edward L. Cahn
Starring Eduard Franz, Henry Daniell, Valerie French, Grant Richards, Lumsden Hare, Paul Wexler

If people would stop and think for a second that we live in an age when an Edward L. Cahn picture like The Four Skulls Of Jonathan Drake (1959) gets a high-end Blu-Ray release, maybe they’d quit freaking out about the sorry state our world is in. There is hope indeed. (However, if someone wants to organize a Cheap Movies Matter march, I’m in!)

Fake politics aside, this is one of those movies I saw repeatedly growing up, and it left quite an impression on me. Paul Wexler with his mouth sewn shut is an image seared into my brain — thanks to the stills in all the monster movie magazines and books I hoarded as a kid.

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Edward L. Cahn is a director whose work I adore — from stuff like Girls In Prison (1956) and Dragstrip Girl (1957) to cheap Westerns like Flesh And The Spur (1956) to all those terrific monster and sci-fi movies — Creature With The Atom Brain (1955), It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958), Invisible Invaders (1959) and so many more. I’ve never seen his 1933 picture Laughter In Hell, but it boasts one of my all-time favorite movie titles. Cahn doesn’t transcend his material the way Fred F. Sears or Paul Landres sometimes do, but he goes at these silly things absolutely seriously, and it always seems to work for him. (He would’ve been an ideal director for the Batman TV show.)

Shout Factory have this listed for a Spring release. I can’t wait to butt heads with The Four Skulls Of Jonathan Drake again.

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Filed under 1959, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward L. Cahn, Shout/Scream Factory, United Artists

Blu-ray News #59: Invisible Invaders (1959).

invisible_invaders_poster_02Directed by Edward L. Cahn
Starring John Agar, Jean Byron, Philip Tonge, Robert Hutton, John Carradine

These 50s sci-fi movies are really well-represented on Blu-ray. (It’s a shame the new Japanese Blu-ray of The Thing turned out to be the 81-minute re-release version.) Well, here’s another one — Edward Cahn’s Invisible Invaders (1959), a very cheap, quite short and surprisingly effective bit of hokum — with a bit of anti-nuke stuff tossed into the mix.

Invisible Invaders LC7John Agar’s a scientist. John Carradine is conked out in a lab explosion. And the producers were certainly glad the aliens turned out to be invisible. Maury Gertzman, who shot some great stuff for Universal in the 40s and early 50s, makes this thing look far better than it should. Can’t wait to see it in anamorphic high-definition this June. All 67 minutes of it.

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Filed under 1959, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward L. Cahn, John Agar, John Carradine, Kino Lorber, Uncategorized

DVD Review: Creature With The Atom Brain (1955).

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Directed by Edward L. Cahn
Produced by Sam Katzman
Story and Screen Play by Curt Siodmak
Cinematography: Fred Jackman Jr.

Cast: Richard Denning (Dr. Chet Walker), Angela Stevens (Joyce Walker), Lane Chandler (Gen. Saunders), Charles Horvath (Creature), Michael Granger (Frank Buchanan), Gregory Gaye (Dr. Wilhelm Steigg), Pierre Watkin (Mayor Bremer), Tristram Coffin (District Attorney McGraw)

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Creature With The Atom Brain (1955) is a sci-fi/horror picture from Sam Katzman. For some of you, that’s all you need to know. I’ve always found it a lot of cheesy fun, with some genuinely creepy moments.

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An ex-Nazi scientist, Dr. Wilhelm Steigg (Gregory Gaye), has created a gang of radio-controlled zombies — with electrodes in their brains and atomic juice in their veins. Unfortunately, Steigg’s experiments were funded by Frank Buchanan (Michael Granger), a gangster who decides he wants to use the zombies for his own revenge.

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Richard Denning is one of the authorities trying to get to the bottom of the strange killings and kill off the lumbering atomic monsters. (Isn’t he always?) It all climaxes with the atom-brain creatures battling it out with the cops.

Governor (on television): “As Governor, I am declaring a state of emergency. All police facilities have been alerted to prevent any further crimes by so-called atomic creatures.”

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With Creature With The Atom Brain, we get another example of Edward L. Cahn’s solid B-movie work. I don’t think he ever made what would be called a really good movie, but he knew his way around this sort of thing — keeping things moving fast enough to keep you from realizing just how silly it all is. This one goes a step further, thanks to DP Fred Jackman Jr., to include some dark, creepy scenes of the zombies making their way toward their next victim. Cahn worked for Katzman’s unit a lot, and while he didn’t have the touch of Fred F. Sears, another of Katzman’s favorite directors, he made sure fans got plenty of what they came to see.

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The new DVD from Mill Creek Entertainment, billed as a 60th Anniversary Edition, isn’t the picture’s first release. It was part of Columbia’s terrific four-movie Katzman set. This is the same transfer. Sharp as a tack, with superb contrast and clear audio. These movies, dumb as they may be, were made by real pros. Unfortunately, the transfer is full-frame instead of its original 1.85 framing. But it looks so good, and the price is right — so who’s complaining? If you like this kinda thing, I certainly recommend it.

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Filed under 1955, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Edward L. Cahn, Mill Creek, Sam Katzman

DVD News #37: Creature With The Atom Brain.

Creature With Atom Brain LC

Directed by Edward L. Cahn
Produced by Sam Katzman
Story and Screen Play by Curt Siodmak
Starring Richard Denning, Angela Stevens, S. John Launer, Michael Granger, Gregory Gaye, Linda Bennett

Cahn, Katzman and Siodmak are a B-movie Dream Team and this one’s a lot of cheeseball fun — with Nazi scientists, gangsters and zombies. Mill Creek Entertainment will release a 60th Anniversary edition DVD in a couple weeks. I would imagine this will be the same transfer Columbia used for their Katzman set, which was nice but full-frame.

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Filed under 1955, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward L. Cahn, Mill Creek, Sam Katzman

Blu-ray News #36: Curse Of The Faceless Man (1958).

Curse Of Faceless Man LC2

Directed by Edward L. Cahn
Starring Richard Anderson, Elaine Edwards, Adele Mara, Louis Van Rooten

More wonderful junk comes to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber — Edward L. Cahn’s Curse Of The Faceless Man (1958) is due by the end of the year. It’s about a petrified body from Pompeii that comes to life and crushes the skulls of whoever it comes across.

Faceless It Twin poster

It originally played with It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958), already available from Kino Lorber. Sounds like a good way to spend a high-def evening.

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Filed under 1958, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward L. Cahn, Kino Lorber

Blu-Ray News #25: It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958).

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Directed by Edward L. Cahn
Starring Marshal Thompson, Shawn Smith, Kim Spalding, Ann Doran, Dabbs Greer, Paul Langton

By now, everybody knows that this plays like a 50s low-rent version of Alien (1979). But the fact that it’s a pretty solid little suspense picture is overlooked — or maybe nobody’s paid enough attention to really notice. It’s a long way from The Thing (1951), but I’ve always really enjoyed it.

I’m overjoyed that it’s making its way from beyond space to my Blu-ray player, in its proper framing, thanks to the folks at Olive Films. Can’t wait.

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Filed under 1958, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward L. Cahn, Olive Films