Saturday, November 19, 2016

Horrors of 1959, Part II

For my 1959 top 10, I had to include far more corny movies than I thought would be the case. And honestly, that because most of the horror movies from 1959 were either about giant monsters, or knew to have a sense of humor about themselves. Welcome to my honorable mentions post following my jovial romp into the horrors of 1959. A much different countdown from my 1960 post, this one is all about making special note of some other movies from the year that either barely missed the list, or are otherwise noteworthy. It's not orderedmore organized, just a list of a few movies I wanted to bring up.

The Bat

This one seems to appear on a lot of lists as one of the better horror movies of the late '50s, and Ireally have to disagree. As much as I love Vincent Price and murder mysteries, this one just didn't quite work for me. It wasn't atmospheric enough to be effectively creepy, didn't have enough self-awareness to be funny, and wasn't well-written enough to be a very good crime movie. It was a movie made up of small doses of good things, but never big enough doses for it to stand out in any particular way. I enjoyed it enough, but by the time it was over, I was pretty happy to move on to something else. Like raking leaves. It's a pretty cheap movie to buy (shipping not included, a seller on Amazon has it on there right now for $0.01), and for a few bucks, it might be worth picking up. But I'd probably give it a pass if it went for much more than that.

The Alligator People

I nearly included this in my all-encompassing #10 slot, but honestly apart from some silliness here and there, I found this to be a much more conventionally interesting and risky film than the other movies I threw on there. Does that mean it should have been on the list instead? Perhaps, but that's what this post is for: helping to flesh out my top 10 and provide some additional context. Ultimately I didn't enjoy this movie as much as several of those other ones, but it felt a lot more complete, and actually gave Lon Chaney, Jr. one of my favorite roles I can recall ever seeing him in. I couldn't recommend this movie to most horror fans, as it takes its sweet time to get to the real punchline, but I still enjoyed the journey. It costs more than it's worth, but you can watch it for free on Youtube.

Return Of The Fly

The original Fly is a classic, and while I was hoping this sequel would follow suit in the way several other horror sequels of the time did (The Revenge Of Frankenstein and The Brides Of Dracula being two prime examples), this movie really did pay the same punch as the first film, and felt very much like a cheap cash-in as opposed to its own creation. I did enjoy it, but it never felt like a complete movie, in spite of the presence of Vincent Price in a major role. As far as horror sequels go, this one falls somewhere around the middle, not really hurting the legacy of the original, but never adding to it. It's worth watching if you enjoy seeing the origins of body horror, but it's nowner near as creepy or visually interesting as the original. It can also be found on Youtube.

4D Man

As far as science experiments gone wrong, 4D Man truly overshadows Return Of The Fly in every way, doing a great job of developing it's characters by giving them an interesting past together, establishing the scientific logic behind its ideas (for us non-scientists, you really don't need to try very hard to do this), and giving you a real reason to care about what might happen to those involved. You feel sympathy for the "4D man", as he is given plenty of time on-screen before anything happens to make him that way. The effects are cool, and the movie covers up some of its inconsistencies in fairly clever ways. Not a sci-fi classic, necessarily, but very nearly wound up on my list anyway. This one is pretty difficult to find, from what I can tell but it can be found on Youtube. Thank God for the public domain.

The Stranglers Of Bombay

As hilarious as it would have been to put four Terence Fisher-directed Hammer movies on that list, it ultimately would have been a very dishonest addition on my part to include this. For starters, I don't see this as a horror movie at all. Secondly, I don't think this one was a particular standout among the Hammer library. Historically it's an interesting film to watch (supposedly, it's one of the company's more accurate movies), and there are some great moments here and there, but the overall product was relatively uneven. Fisher is much better at dealing with color, as the black and white visuals here really don't come to life in the way his other films do. It feels like a movie that is almost pretty great, but just falls short. It costs more to buy than it's worth, though it can be found on DVD in a collection featuring the Terror Of The Tongs, though, which is cool -- in spite of my prior hopes that it would actually be a horror movie revolving around killer kitchen utensils.

So there you have it, several notable omissions from my top 10 of 1959. Definitely not the strongest batch of movies, but I did feel the need to mention them anyway. Several others I've seen didn't even come close to being considered on this list, but they don't seem to be ones people talk much about, so I didn't feel the need to name them here. As always, thanks for stopping by.

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