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

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST (1958). Director Bert I. Gordon. Written by George Worthing Yates.

The Amazing Colossal Man, now played by Dean Parkin (in make up very similar to what he wore for Gordon's Cyclops), reappeared in the sequel War of the Colossal Beast. Manning somehow survived his fall into the damn and floated down to Mexico, where he lifts trucks carrying food off the back roads and hides out in the mountains. His sister (Sally Fraser) convinces an Army Major (Roger Pace) to fly down and search for him. [Considering the number of trucks he's carried off, you would think dozens of people would have seen him by now instead of one frightened boy.] As usual, the effects are very cheap, but Gordon manages some effective bits, especially when another truck containing the major and a local sergeant is pursued by the humongous legs of the giant, as well as his tug of war with a dozen privates, and his rampage through an airport. Now and then there's a very cleverly handled shot. Despite some of the intentional humor of the film, it's rather depressing, especially when Manning, his mind clearing enough to recognize that he's become a danger as well as a freak, commits suicide in front of his horrified sister by clutching some power lines. Albert Glasser's score for both pictures is very good, particularly when it is creating suspense and eeriness in the sequel. Taken separately or together, these are reasonably entertaining flicks for the monster movie devotee.

Mark Hanna, who co-scripted Amazing Colossal Man, also scripted Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958). Two actors in that epic, William Hudson and Roy Gordon, also appeared in Bert Gordon's Colossal Man films. Hudson is "Handsome Harry," the unfaithful husband of Alison Hayes, in 50 Foot Woman and Dr. Lindstrom in Amazing Colossal Man. Roy Gordon is the Mayor (uncredited) in Colossal Beast and Doctor Cushing in 50 Foot Woman. These two actors certainly had their hands full with very big people! A remake of The Amazing Colossal Man was announced in the 1990s but it never materialized. [The less said about the television remake of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman the better.]

Verdict: If you dig it, dig it! **1/2.

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