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Sci-Fi, Vol. 2 [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered
  • Interactive menus
  • Chapter selections

Synopsis

Killers From Space
The Killers from Space in this low-budget sci-fier are a group of aliens bent on conquering the earth. To this end, they overtake the mind and body of atomic scientist Peter Graves, using the poor man as a combination spy and saboteur. When Graves realizes this, he tries to warn mankind, but no one believes him. Marching defiantly back to the aliens' Bronson Canyon headquarters, where the slimy villains are busily syphoning off electrical power from a nearby generator, Graves vows to stop the extraterrestrials at any cost...including his own life (or what there's left of it). The makeup used for the aliens is laughable, but the film works so long as it concentrates on Graves' plight. Produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder, the brother of the more celebrated Billy Wilder, Killers from Space was distributed in the US by RKO Radio. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Brain That Wouldn't Die
An arrogant scientist brings his fiancée back from the dead in this vintage cult horror film. Dr. Bill Cortner (Jason Evers, here billed as Herb Evers) performs medical experiments despite the trepidation of his surgeon father (Bruce Brighton); transplantation is Bill's main area of interest, but he's also had some success using electric shock to restore life to the recently deceased. When Bill causes a car crash that decapitates his fiancée, Jan Compton (Virginia Leith), he spirits her head off to his secret laboratory and keeps it alive with the help of an experimental new serum. Soon, the doctor begins scouring the dives, strip clubs, and suburban streets for an attractive woman whose body he can steal to restore his lady love to her full, ambulatory glory. Meanwhile, back at the lab, Jan grows to hate Bill for refusing to let her die. Developing telepathic powers that allow her to communicate with one of Bill's failed experiments -- a snarling creature kept locked up under the stairs -- she begins to plot her revenge. Things come to a head when Bill returns to the lab with his intended victim: a bitter, disfigured, man-hating figure model (Adele Lamont). The promotional tagline for The Brain That Wouldn't Die was "Alive...without a body...fed by an unspeakable horror from hell!" The film helped provide the inspiration for '80s horror/comedy director Frank Henenlotter's Frankenhooker and Basket Case 2. The former includes a decapitated woman restored to life by her lover, while the latter features both a cameo from Brain star Jason Evers and another character who looks like the twin brother of the monster under the stairs. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

The Giant Gila Monster
In The Giant Gila Monster, most of the plot is given over to a group of hot-rod enthusiasts, headed by nice-guy Chace Winstead (Don Sullivan), who sometimes breaks into song. Before long, the titular gila monster, which is just that -- a real gila monster -- is lumbering about on miniaturized sets terrorizing the community, killing at random, knocking over trains and barns, and in general making a nuisance of itself. When the monster threatens to devour Chace's kid sister, he attempts to dispatch the beast with a hot rod full of nitroglycerin. The Giant Gila Monster was originally released on a double bill with The Killer Shrews. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Radar Men from the Moon [Serial]
In the second of Republic Pictures' three "Rocket Man" serials, the government assigns Commando Cody (George Wallace) to look into a series of strange atomic explosions threatening the United States' defense systems. As Cody discovers, the threat comes from the Moon, whose ruler, Retik (Roy Barcroft), is planning an invasion of Mother Earth due to a severe lack of atmosphere on his own planet. Retik works through Krog (Peter Brocco), an inter-planetary henchman who does all the financing and hiring on Earth. Unfortunately, the hooded lunar visitor fails miserably on both fronts: the preparations for the invasion are severely under funded and the hired guns, such as former prison inmate Graber (Clayton Moore), less than competent. But despite these caveats, Commando Cody and his fellow space travelers, Joan Gilbert (Aline Towne) and Ted Richards (William Bakewell), have to suffer through 12 chapters before finally destroying the threat from the planet Moon. Radar Men From the Moon was filmed between October 17, 1951, and November 6, 1951, on a budget of $172,840. Most location filming, not excluding plenty of stock footage from earlier Republic serials, was done at the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, California. The serial was followed by a brief television series, Commando Cody: Sky Marshal, which retained Aline Towne as Joan Gilbert but replaced George Wallace and William Bakewell with Judd Holdren and William Schallert. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues
A series of mysterious deaths of fishermen and swimmers along a stretch of beach attract the attention of scientist Dr. Ted Stevens (Kent Taylor) and government investigator William Grant (Rodney Bell) -- they both want to know why the victims and their boats all show signs of exposure to atomic radiation, and if there's a connection between the deaths and the nearby Pacific College of Oceanography, run by Professor King (Michael Whalen); and they're also interested in why King's assistant, George Thomas (Phillip Pine), is always lurking around the beach, often armed with a spear gun. Stevens establishes a friendship with King's daughter Lois (Cathy Downs) that turns to romance, but he's principally concerned with finding out about an apparent source of radiation on the ocean floor, and what its connection might be with the unearthly sea creature rumored to be stalking that section of the beach. Helene Stanton hangs around in a fairly revealing (for the time) bathing suit, waiting on the beach for some top-secret information, and Vivi Janiss overacts nicely as a woman with too much on her mind for her own good. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

The Amazing Transparent Man
This appallingly bad sci-fi film about an invisible bank-robber (Douglas Kennedy) was shot back-to-back with Beyond the Time Barrier on the grounds of the Texas State Fair in Dallas. The usual cackling and crime is included, most of which was done better in The Invisible Man. Marguerite Chapman is the film's one bright spot as Kennedy's lowlife girlfriend, but the rest of the characters are annoying and unsympathetic. Unpleasant, downbeat, and badly produced, it is hard to see the appeal of this one, even for genre completists. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

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