Day Eight: Angry Red Planet

Happy Halloween Countdown: Angry Red Planet

Angry Red Planet, a film that captures a bygone age of science fiction and monster movies, an age where men were men, women were women, and Giant Spider-Bat-Mice from Mars were Giant Spider-Bat-Mice from Mars.

A scant three years before President Kennedy threw down the challenge to go to the Moon and a mere nine years before Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, we were still indulging in wild pulp comic-style speculation about the nature of Universe.  Weird monsters lurked everywhere.  Ancient civilizations, impatient with our infantile behavior as a species, were ready to spank us.  Rockets blasted off.  Rayguns fired.  Women with advanced degrees in Astrophysics were expected to serve the coffee.  Two-fisted space heroes fought deadly foes on alien worlds.

Though solidly pulp in nature, Angry Red Planet, like the best science fiction reached in new directions. Its wonderfully bad experiment in “CineMagic”, — a technique was monochromatic positive and negative images are printed on the same film, accentuating contrasts in the image– is iconic.  The scenes on Mars were tinted red, wrapping the Martian environment in an alien and aura.  The creature effects in Angry Red Planet are entertaining and strange.

The story itself is a simple retelling of the Mankind Lands on an Alien World, Gets in a Few Shots Before Escaping with His Cheese Barely Intact. What makes Angry Red Planet so great is its visual weirdness combined with its pulp science fiction flavor.  It’s an EC Comics Weird Science story on the silver screen.   Angry Red Planet is unique; a film chock full of the vices and virtues of its time and one that could never have been made in any other way.

We live in the Nuk-u-lar Age.  Bankrupt, greedy and wallowing in our own apathy, our society is reduced to celebrating the latest flavor of Mountain Dew with which to wash down gobfuls of thick, powdery Flaming Hot Cheetos.  Angry Red Planet reminds us of a yesterday were everything was truly possible and the stars were just within our grasp.

Director:
Ib Melchior
Norman Maurer

Screenplay:
Sidney W. Pink
Ib Melchior

Starring :
Gerald Mohr
Naura Hayden
Jack Kruschen
Les Tremayne

 

Two and a half of five Vincents

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