I was up fairly early and finished The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection box set today. There were three movies left and they're all pretty short. I started with the movie that has the very least science fiction in it. Cult Of The Cobra is a 1955 supernatural thriller set in 1945. It starts out somewhere in Asia at a bazaar. No country is identified in the movie and the bazaar looks like a mix of many cultures and places. Some American military guys are taking a look around. They meet a snake charmer who will take them to a secret Lamian snake cult meeting for a hundred bucks. It's dangerous, if they are discovered they will be killed. That's the kind of Asian adventure that I want to avoid. They see a snake lady come out of a basket. She tells a story through her movements. As you can see below that's some story.
One of the guys blows their cover by taking a flash picture. There's some fighting and he runs away after grabbing the snake lady's basket. The rest of the guys fight their way out of the building, after being cursed by snake cult priest Edward Platt (the Chief on Get Smart), only to find their friend near death, bitten by a snake. After being taken to a hospital it looks like he'll live. In the night a cobra comes to finish the job. Saddened, the guys head home, back to civilian life in New York. That's the guys there below.
Left to right we have William Reynolds, James Dobson, David Jannsen, Richard Kelly, Richard Long and William Marshall. All pretty good character actors that did a lot of movies and tv. That's Edward Platt there in the middle, and even though that isn't a very good screen cap, you can seee that he sure doesn't look like he belongs in that scene. What kind of costume is that? The pic on the right is Faith Domergue , the snake lady, and Kathleen Hughes, the love interest between Marshall and Richard Long. She picks Dick and Marshall is a wounded man when Faith moves in next door. Marshall doesn't know she's the snake lady when she screams in the night. He comes running. I've seen enough movies to know to cower under the covers and call the police when there's yelling on my block in the middle of the night. Faith continues to snake out and, picking off the interlopers one by one, she gets the cult's revenge. The guys are slow to believe but eventually the last couple of them fight back and the snake lady is vanquished. It's an ok movie but not a great one. It does serve as a reminder to keep your nose out of occult business. That shit can be dangerous.
Dr. Cyclops is a 1940 film that the Wikipedia says is the first US color science fiction film. It's directed by Ernest B Schoedsack. He directed some good films, here's a few of my favorites from his short list, King Kong, The Most Dangerous Game (1932), The Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young. Dr Cyclops invites another scientist to his Peruvian research lab. It's a shack but no one much mentions that. Dr Cyclops is having trouble with is eyes. Since he strangled his old partner he's been having a hard time seeing what's in his microscope. Dr C asks the other scientist to look at some crystals in his microscope, and after getting an answer he tells the guy to leave. Dr Cyclops is a bit of a dick.
The visitors get mad and decide to see what he's up to, especially once they figure out he's got pitchblend lying about. That means radium which means money. Turns out the doc has been using the power from the mine to run his machine. It shrinks organic matter. He strinks the whole bunch of them and keeps them locked up. He kills the other science guy when he discovers that the effects of the ray are wearing off. The others escape and try to kill Dr. Cyclops. After some adventures, during which poor Pedro is killed, they succeed and vanquish the giant monster. In the last scene they are back to normal and the heading back to civilization. It's a pretty entertaining bit of business. Kind of goofy but fun. The effects aren't too bad for the time and the characters fun to watch, especially the highly entertaining Dr Cyclops as played by Albert Dekker.
The Leech Woman is the third of the trio I watched. It's only science fiction because of chemistry. A cold blooded science guy, Paul Terry, works to create an anti-aging formula. An ancient woman, played by Estelle Hemsley, arrives at his office claiming to be nearly 150 years old. She has a remarkable tale of a cure for old age. She takes a powder and it does seem to reverse the aging process. The solution lies in her village in Africa. For her passage home she tells him the secret. Paul tells his wrinkley wife, Colleen Gray, about the formula and they head for Africa, hiring guide John Van Dreelen. They don't get along too much. The group get to the old woman's village where they are captured. Estelle is about to have the secret formula that will really reverse her age. Typically the anti-aging formula requires someone to die. Killed by jabbing a specially carved ring into their pineal gland. The liquid is mixed with rare orchid pollen and viola instant youth.
The problem with the youth juice? It doesn't last too long, a day or so, then you need to kill again. Colleen gets the chance to take some juice and she picks her hubby as the supplier of the pineal gland fluid. He's pretty mad, at least as long as he stays alive, which is only a short time. Colleen and the guide escape and she kills him when he gets stuck in some quicksand. Back in the USA she starts killing again, appearing as the widow of Paul and the young niece when she can get her wrinkley old hands on some pineal juice. As the young woman she falls for Grant Williams. He returns the interest, ending his relationship with Gloria Talbot. That's Grant and Gloria being watched by the MST3k crew on the right below. It was selected as an 8th season episode of the series.
Gloria confronts young Colleen, left pic above, and gets killed and stuffed in a closet. Guess Gloria didn't see that coming. The police are investigating the death of a sleazy guy. He was one of Colleen's victims and luckily for the investigation he has her name on a piece of paper in his pocket. The police show up just after Gloria got stuffed in the closet and find the body still warm. Colleen, starting to turn old in front of them, panics and jumps out of the window to her death. It's better than the typical fair on MST3K but not by much. Not one that appears in my rotation too often but I enjoy it when I watch it.