At last, the “Sid Pink Trilogy” is available on DVD! Sid got his ticket punched when his “Angry Red Planet” did well at the Saturday-matinee box office, and went on to direct the (in)famous “Reptilicus”. (See my reviews of THOSE two, also here on Amazon.) Enamored with the Danish locations of that film epic, Pink decided his next film, “Journey to the 7th Planet”, would be made there, too. The entire film was shot on a 22 by 44 foot soundstage (except for the stock footage and “special effects”) for a total cost of $75,000 – and $25,000 of that went to Agar and the female lead, Gretta Thyssen! As a result, we get a spaceship with a wood-plank floor, a few scrap ejection seats, and LOTS of primary-color displays. Pink picked Uranus as the destination because he believed that it was unknown enough that he could depict ANY sort of environment and be able to get away with it. The plot owes a lot to Ray Bradbury’s short story “Mars is Heaven!”, wherein the crew of a ship landing on Mars is greeted by family and relatives in an old-fashioned front-porch-and-lemonade village. In “Journey”, the crew meets up with assorted Danish femme fatales in a thatched-roofs-and-cocoa Danish village, all manifestations of a giant cave-dwelling brain intent on hitching a ride back to Earth with the ship. Fans of “Reptilicus” will recognize most of the rest of the cast, all of whom needed to have their voices dubbed because of their Danish accents. Superb print, outstanding rendering of the hallucinatory color schemes, and great fun all around.
“Invisible Invaders” was entirely new to me, and if you excised the stock footage, the film would be about 20 minutes long. Although willowy John Carradine gets top billing and a prominent feature on the cover, he’s on-screen for less than 2 minutes. After being killed in an explosion at an atomic-weapons plant, invisible aliens who have been living on the moon for 20,000 years take over his body (as if there would be anything left to take over.) Hey, *I* didn’t write it, OK? These “invisible invaders” shuffle around looking for corpses to inhabit so that they can carry out nefarious deeds of sabotage, since they don’t actually have any weapons of their own. It’s up to John Agar (wearing an ill-fitting flight suit and a flight cap seventeen sizes too small for him) and co-star Philip Tonge to find a way to defeat these poseurs from their underground bunker (actually the same cave in Bronson Canyon that “Robot Monster” was filmed in!) Again, a really nice, clean print (except for the stock footage, which varies wildly in quality) and a painless way to pass an hour. Recommended for all you fans of John Agar *and* the immortal Sid Pink.
Just one question – why is there an empty pair of shoes on the cover of the DVD case?
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A two-for-one send up of silly b-movies. Alien invaders and space exploration make up the themes of these tales of exploration and caution.
Invisible Invaders si about some aliens who have made themselves and their stuff invisible. Atomic testing on Earth has pushed them to wanting to take over the Earth from their nearby base on the moon. They will use the bodies of the dead to further their plans. Either Earth must surrender or they will destroy all humans. John Carradine is excellent as an animated corpse. Although he is only on screen for a short time, his voice is used for most of the alien communications. A small group in a scientific bunker must find a way to stop the invaders before all humans are killed.
Seventh Planet has a UN exploration team in 2001 traveling to Uranus to search for life. None has been found on the nearer planets. When the arrive they find themselves in a small region of German forest complete with village and beautiful women. But the real answers lie on the real surface of the planet. It was funny to see then traipsing though a forest and claim they still had not found any life (talk about not seeing the forest for the trees). The pseudo Earth history is laughable at this time and sexism is very strong. But it still has its moments with monsters, special effects, and outrageously bright color added because its in color (I love the spider with mustard and ketchup for blood).
B-movie fans should rejoice to get two movies for a reasonable price. The only disadvantage of this DVD is that each film is on a different side so you can’t watch them straight through. But it does mean that the picture quality is very good. The only special features are subtitles and the original trailers.
This is a wonderful double dose of silly sci-fi features from 1959 and 1962, the golden era of the genre. John Agar is a principal in both, and in both cases plays his role in his typical, formulaic, yet understated, way while chaos erupts around him and he takes on various monsters, including one with a “honeycomb cyclops brain”.
In “Invisible Invaders” invisible invaders from the moon take over the corpse of scientist John Carradine who brings extra-terrestrial warnings from space to the protagonists of the film. (We also get to thrill to many Carradine voiceovers.) The Earth is engulfed in a stock footage war, but fortunate for us all, the brilliant cast is able to figure out not only how to make the aliens visible (it involves a latex bath, in part) but how to destroy them as well. (Whew!)
In “Journey to the Seventh Planet” John Agar and friends venture to Uranus in a ridiculously roomy spacecraft and discover lots of hilarious stock footage monsters (I am especially fond of the spider) and a brilliant opponent that can alter nature based on the memories of the humans. It is like a more primitive episode of “Star Trek” featuring John Agar as Kirk. This one is hysterical. It is set in the peaceful world of 2001, which is ruled by the brilliant and wise United Nations, and where everyone is happy and prosperous and there is no more war. (I will pause to let you collect yourselves now: I told you it was silly.) The film was made by the infamous Sid Pink in Denmark, with a mixed group of Danish and American actors. The result is a peculiar spectacle where only some voices are dubbed, It also features music you have no doubt heard in other movies of this ilk, most notably in “Zontar, The Thing from Venus” (also starring Agar, of course.)
This is a great little package of early cold war nostalgia, and I recommend it highly to anyone who likes B-movies.