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The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

USA 1953
produced by
Jack Dietz for Mutual Pictures/Warner Brothers
directed by Eugène Lourié
starring Paul Christian (= Paul Humschmid), Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway, Kenneth Tobey, Donald Woods, Lee Van Cleef, Steve Brodie, Ross Elliott, Jack Pennick, Ray Hyke, Michael Fox, Alvin Greenman, Frank Ferguson, King Donovan, Roy Engel, Wivian Mason, Edward Clark, Mary Hill
screenplay by Fred Feiberger, Lou Morheim, Robert Smith, Eugène Lourié, based on the story The Fog Horn by Ray Bradbury, music by David Buttolph, animation effects by Ray Harryhausen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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An atomic test in the Arctic frees a 10 million year old dinosaur from its icey prison, and as soon as it's out it goes on the prowl ...

Prof Tom (Paul Hubschmid), one of the scientists associated with the atomic tests, has seen the beast and now wants to warn humankind ... thing is, he is the only one who has seen it (apart from a dead colleague), and nobody wants to hear his fantastic story, not even paleontologist Prof Elson (Cecil Kellaway) for whom this could mean the chance of a lifetime. Only Elson's attractive assistant Lee (Paula Raymond) shows sympathetic towards Tom's story, and soon enough the two are able to gather evidence, evidence that make Elson change his mind ... and after a few ships sink by unnatural causes and a lighttower is tipped over by whatever, even teh military seems to be liable to listen to Tom.

Elson goes down to the ocean floor in a diving bell, thinking the beast might be found there ... but unfortunately he's all too right, and the beast swallows his diving bell ...

Eventually, the beast emerges, in New York no less, and wreaks havoc to the city, and of course, bullets and conventional weapons can't stop it ... but then Tom comes up with the idea of shooting the beast with an anti-nuclear isotope - which actually brings the creature down in the end, after a memorable showdown in an amusement park.

 

One of stop motion wizard Ray Harryhausen's first films as the man in charge of special effects - and his effects are nothing short of great, featuring an almost flawlessly animated dinosaur destroying a New York made up from a combination of back projections, blue screen work and miniatures - nothing short of fantastic.

The rest of the film though is decidedly less-than-fantastic, the whole human subplot is nothing more than a cheesy melodrama full of clichéd characters, tired romance and not one unexpected plottwist - and the whole thing isn't even half as (unintentionally) funny and entertaining as contemporary similar much cheaper drive-in fare from the independents.

Still, the film is definitely worth a look, if only for its dinosaur sequences.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD