Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, December 31, 2007


NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST (1958). Director: Bernard L. Kowalski.

This is yet another early horror/sci fi flick that was influential on the later Alien, while being influenced itself by such films as The Thing from Another World. In this the first man sent up into space in a satellite returns to Earth in his capsule, apparently dead. Later he comes back to life because his body is harvesting a host of alien organisms. A strange energy traps him and a team of scientists in their shabby mountain headquarters as a bizarre bear-like creature with a parrot head bursts in from time to time, and even decapitates the hapless doctor. This, of course, works against John the astronaut's (Michael Emmet) assurances that the alien monster means no harm. Sure. Kowalski also directed the better-known Attack of the Giant Leeches the following year, but this picture requires much more claustrophobic tension than he is able to deliver, although it's certainly watchable and has an interesting plot. The cast does quite well with this material, especially lead Michael Emmet and dependable co-star Ed Nelson. Emmet also played Cal, the rakish character who dallies with Yvette Vickers, in Leeches -- he was a good, versatile actor who did most of his work on television. Alexander Laszlo re-used most of his sometimes overwrought score for this film in Leeches.Six years earlier John Baer, here playing Steve Dunlap, starred on the TV show Terry and the Pirates as Terry Lee.

Verdict: Of interest to 50's creature feature fans and so on. **1/2.

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