First up in our black and white double bill, a 1957 movie called From Hell It Came. I really thought I hadn't seen it but I had, back in 1992. At least I have a notation in my Week at Glance that says I was over at Sperhauk's and we watched "most of it" at Friday Night Movies. I have no idea what "most of it" means 18 years later. Maybe we bailed before the movie was over, or more likely we had a media failure. I had pretty much forgotten the movie and it was like seeing it for the first time. You'd think I'd remember the monster. It's a murdering man-size tree! Sperhauk picked up the dvd from Warner Brother's "print on demand" Archive Collection. They don't put much more than the movie on the disc with a generic menu and they charge 20 bucks a pop for a dvdr. These old movies rarely turn up anywhere but Turner Classic Movies so there isn't much oportunity to see them. There are a ton of torrents out there from the look of it but that's not something I do. Too much stuff to look at as it is.
Some science guys are on an island where the natives have suffered accidental fallout from one of those atom bomb test blasts that the USA was blowing off in the South Sea Islands of the Pacific. I mean, who knew there might be some wind? The natives have some sort of plague on top of the low level radiation and the science guys have brought white man's medicine. The natives are a superstitious bunch and the new chief, our main bad guy, has them convinced that the chief's son has murdered his own father with the white man's medicine. In reality the bad guy did the killing and now he's chief. He's a real dick, that guy. He had the help of the witch doctor, who's totally against the white man's medicine, and the wife of the dead chief's son, who's hot for the new chief. The son is railroaded, convicted, and sentenced to death. He's staked out while this is going on and a couple of guys wait with a big pointy knife and a mallet. Before they drive the fancy skull knife into his heart the dead chief's son curses the people who framed him. He will return from the dead and strike them down. Sure enough, it's true. He's planted in the ground and shortly after a tree grows over the coffin. Our dead guy has come back as the Tobonga. You can see the skull knife sticking out of Tobonga's chest so you know it's really the dead Chief's son. And he's ready to start killin'!
The science guys are joined part way into the movie by a gal scientist. That's Tina Carver in the middle with John McNamara on the left and Tod Andrews on the right. Tod's got a thing for Tina but she isn't interested in getting married. What she is interested in is digging up the Tobonga and injecting it with her special experimental formula. They do just that. At first nothing happens but they go away for nearly 8 hours and return to find the lab a mess and the Tobonga gone. He's been shambling about the island gettin' his vengence on. There's a lot of running about and goofy conversation. It often made us laugh. The dialog is as uneven as the directing. Dan Milner was mostly a film editor. He directed a movie in 1935 and not again until 1955 when he directed The Phantom of 10,000 Leagues which would be followed by FHIC.
I love the graphics on the movie posters. Mike had mentioned seeing a resin model kit a few years back. Pretty entertaining monster kit. Eventually enough of the bad guys are tossed into the quicksand and the monster is vanquished. Tod gets the girl and the movie is over. It was entertaining enough, I don't think I'd run out and buy it but I'll certainly keep an eye out for it on TCM.
I couldn't remember a thing about The Curse of the Living Corpse either. I looked in my watched movie list and I had seen it first in 1992. Probably a rented tape or something off American Movie Classics. I rented a lot of movies back in the heyday of the video store. The movie is set in 1892 and there's a family that have just had a death in the house. The head of the family has died and his lawyer reads the will. The man who died had one of those rare medical problems that turn up in horror stories a lot. He might appear dead but he isn't. He was afraid of being buried alive. I can understand not wanting to wake up in a coffin, plunked into the hole, covered with dirt. And bugs. Ick. That dead guy had some stipulations, if they weren't met he'd return from the grave and start gettin' his revenge. So both our movies have curses. Dead guy outlines how each of the beneficiaries will die from his curse. Horribly, in the manner the victim fears most. Of course the stipulations aren't met and the old codger pops out of his grave and the murderin' start. This movie played as a double bill with another Del Tenney picture called The Horror of Party Beach. I think that's the movie people might have seen and might remember. The drive in business did well for him but he quite directing for years, only occasionally producing something. He had been a stage actor who got into assistant directing before turning to producing and directing his own pictures. Keep more of the gross that way. He directed I Eat Your Skin which I saw on Elvira's old series. It's not very good and I didn't care very much for it. My only comment on my Watched Movies List is Yuck. The Horror of Party Beach is pretty silly, especially the monster, but it's typical fair. Nothing outstanding, mostly entertaining.
The Curse of the Living Corpse shows an improvement. There are occasional nice bits of film making. The rest is pretty standard, murder in a haunted house type story. The dialog and acting is pretty entertaining. Bunch of people with excessive baggage or shitty personalities all tossed in together in a situation that leads to murder. The two brothers are a drunken bum and a creditor owing slime ball. They don't get along but the slime ball is boning the drunken brother's wife and the maid. The drunken brother is Roy Schieder in his movie debut. He's ok. The cops are called in and they provide the comedy. They can't solve anything and the corpses pile up. Then the murder is revealed and the quicksand gets him. Both our movies have quicksand and several people in each are sucked to their gritty wet death. I thought the quicksand looked better in From Hell It Came. The curse part turned out to be a fake in the second movie but it made up for it by having a naked lady flopping around in a tub. You couldn't see anything but you might have thought you did in 1964. Both of these movies were worth a look, especially if you're the cheesy horror movie fan type. Too bad Del didn't make but one more movie. Haven't seen it, wonder if he got better. He was showing some talent.