Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Here's yet another example of a movie poster being far, far better than the film it advertises. It's what I like to call "selling the sizzle and not the steak". In this case, the steak is tough, stringy and hard to digest.

INVASION OF THE STAR CREATURES (1962) may be one of the worst movies ever made, science fiction or otherwise. Believe it or not, it's a comedy, a dreadfully unfunny comedy that is completely and totally devoid of any laughs whatsoever. The comedy team of Robert Ball and Frankie Ray (yeah, I know, who?) are more like two actors thrown together to fulfill the requirements of the script. They try to channel comedy "geniuses"  Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey of the Bowery Boys but fail. The two men have absolutely no comic chemistry, no timing, no give and take like you see in the best comedy duos. They are simply stupid, dull and annoying.

The plot, such as it is, concerns an enormous explosion that occurs near a U.S. military base named Nicholson (a nod to screenwriter Jonathan Haze's buddy Jack Nicholson). The explosion has created an enormous crater and unearthed a hitherto unknown cave (Bronson Canyon). A group of soldiers including our heroes and led by a hep cat, jive talking sergeant, are sent to investigate.

What they find is a hidden space ship containing two Amazonian alien women, Dr. Puna (Dolores Reed) and Professor Tanga (Gloria Victor) and two ambulatory plant men called Vegemen. Let's take a moment to examine the names of these women a bit more closely. Puna and Tanga. Put 'em together and you get "PunaTanga" or "poontang". That's the best joke in this entire mess of a movie.

The women and the alien plant men chase our heroes repeatedly through one cave set. The interior of the ship is cheap and phony looking. The women, who are supposed to tower over the men, are clearly standing on platforms which are visible in some shots. The men eventually escape, return to Nicholson base and recruit help from Colonel Awol (funny, right?). On their return trip to the cave, they meet a group of American Indians (two of which are on horseback). They stop for a long, pointless scene with the Indians which does nothing to advance what passes for a plot.

What happens next? Hell if I know. I stopped watching at this point, figuring I'd had enough of this dreadful piece of cinematic junk. INVASION OF THE STAR CREATURES has absolutely nothing going for it. It's not one of those "so bad it's good" camp classics that bad film aficionados love to embrace and champion. It's painful to watch and I cannot recommend it to anyone, even hardcore science fiction genre fans.

You may be wondering why I've been watching all of these vintage science fiction movies of late. Well, I'm still at home recuperating from hernia surgery and I'm passing the time by watching DVDs that I have in my collection, most of which I've never watched. It's a good way to entertain myself (except when the movie sucks like this one) and clear out my movie shelves. INVASION OF THE STAR CREATURES is on a double feature DVD that I have. The second feature on that disc is INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS. I hope to watch it and blog about it sometime today. Stay tuned.

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