Warner's Cult Camp Classics: Vol. 1
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (June 28/07)
As campy and silly as one might've expected, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is an exceedingly low-budget affair that relegates the titular event to the film's final few minutes - with most of the preceding hour devoted to the tedious marital problems of an entirely uninteresting couple (Allison Hayes' Nancy and William Hudson's Harry). Infused with an egregiously slow pace and an overall lack of style by director Nathan Juran, the movie hardly lives up to its reputation as a cult classic - although the final confrontation between an engorged Nancy and her cowering husband is certainly quite amusing (albeit thoroughly laughable and ridiculous). The extraordinarily shoddy special effects - could 50-foot Nancy's hand possibly look more fake? - contribute heavily to the pervading vibe of schlockiness, while scripter Mark Hanna offers up choice bits of dialogue that often seem intentionally awful (ie a local sheriff notes that an enormous footprint "wasn't put there by some Japanese gardener.") There's ultimately little doubt that the majority of The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman's enduring appeal is held solely in its title, as the movie has little to offer even the most ardent fan of trash cinema.
The Giant Behemoth (July 8/07)
Though the climactic monster attack within The Giant Behemoth is admittedly fairly effective, one must - in order to get there - sit through over an hour of pompous conversations and interminable sequences in which characters plot their next move. The story - which follows several unusually dull figures as they must discern the safest way to destroy an enormous (and radioactive) monster - moves at a snail's pace, with director Eugene Lourie emphasizing elements that couldn't possibly be less interesting (ie there's a prolonged sequence in which several scientists perform a series of tests in real time). Such shenanigans can't help but feel like filler, as even the most patient viewer will find themselves wishing that Lourie would just get on with it already. Let's face it, the majority of folks watching a movie called The Giant Behemoth just want to see an impossibly oversized monster wreaking as much havoc as possible (on that level, there's simply no denying that the film fails utterly and completely).
Queen of Outer Space (July 8/07)
Given that Queen of Outer Space essentially operates on the level of high camp throughout its relatively brisk running time, the film remains consistently watchable even through some of its more interminable sequences - with the end result a '50s sci-fi effort that would certainly be right at home within Ed Wood's oeuvre. Based on an outline by Ben Hecht (!), the movie - set in 1985 - follows three astronauts as they inadvertently find themselves trapped on the planet Venus during a routine space mission. There, the men encounter a society consisting solely of women (led by Laurie Mitchell's tyrannical Queen Yllana) and are quickly thrown in jail on suspicion of plotting the planet's destruction. With its garish sets and colorful costumes, Queen of Outer Space is very much a product of its time (ie one of the men refers to the women as a "bunch of dames") - although it seems thoroughly unlikely that even 1950s audiences would've taken any of this silliness seriously. The performances are as over-the-top as the subject matter, and - while the movie seems tailor made for Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment - there's ultimately too little here to hold the viewer's interest to warrant an actual recommendation.