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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

THE PERILS OF NYOKA


THE PERILS OF NYOKA (1942). 15 chapter Republic serial. Director: William Witney.

This is a rousing, well-done cliffhanger serial that's supposed to take place in a desert land but looks more like sunny California. Who cares -- if you want logic, look elsewhere. Nyoka (Kay Aldridge) is on a search for her father, and for the Tablets of Hippocrates, which are supposed to impart the secrets of banishing all ills from mankind. Looking for the tablets for her own evil purposes is Vultura (Lorna Gray, pictured), whose henchmen include Charles "Ming the Merciless" Middleton and Tristram "Rocket Man" Coffin. However, Aldridge has hunky Clayton Moore of Lone Ranger on her side so she's not complaining. In the meantime, Gray shows off her shapely legs in her revealing costumes. Vultura has Satan, the dumb, hokey gorilla to aid her, while our heroine has Jitters , an adorable monkey, and Fang, a German shepherd, to help her out. Highlights include Satan literally bringing the house down by smashing at some pillars; Vultura putting Nyoka to the rack; a bit with some descending spikes; Nyoka suspended over a fire pit by her own father; a swinging pendulum that nearly cuts a bloody swathe through Nyoka; and -- best of all -- a thrilling bit with our lass being blown out of a tunnel and off of a cliff by a sudden wind storm! Vultura and Nyoka have some great cat-fights in every other episode. Ken Terrell of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman also has a small part, as he frequently did in these things. Ditto for William Benedict. Highly effective musical score and a great theme. NOTE: This was rereleased as Nyoka and the Tiger Men; it was not a sequel.

Verdict: Great fun! ***.

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