Prehistoric Creatures: 5 Movies [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

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

Creature
Less than a year before James Cameron's turbo-charged sequel, Hollywood (or its overseas counterparts) still managed to find ways to retread the badly-worn theme of Ridley Scott's Alien, as evidenced in this 1985 low-budget item. When a mysterious canister is uncovered on Saturn's largest moon Titan, a dormant, eons-old monster is released, making lunch of both the explorers who discovered it and the rival corporation's exploration team which investigates their disappearance. The most enjoyable "creature" in this otherwise pedestrian film is the ever-leering Klaus Kinski, who plays the lecherous sole survivor of the previous expedition, but the only real source of entertainment -- the depiction of gooey, gory effects and gratuitous nudity -- is spoiled by inadequate lighting and static camera set-ups. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Killer Shrews
Ken Curtis, former singing cowboy and Gunsmoke's Festus, joined right-wing radio's Gordon McLendon in producing this hilariously bad monster movie about a horde of outsized rodents run amok on an isolated island. The creation of mad scientist Baruch Lumet (father of acclaimed director Sidney Lumet), the monster shrews (portrayed by collies in goofy rubber masks!) escape the lab during a hurricane and devour nearly every other animal on the island before seeking human prey -- including star James Best and girlfriend Ingrid Goude (1957's Miss Universe), who are stranded on the island by the same storm. The survivors manage to escape to safety thanks to some goofy contraptions constructed from trash cans. This one is best remembered by bad-film buffs for its tail-wagging canine stars and a multitude of famous names on both sides of the camera. Curtis and McLendon's companion film The Giant Gila Monster is slightly less ridiculous. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
Astronauts fly to Venus and find the planet filled with dangers gleaned from the epic Russian sci-fi film Planeta Bur (1963). Much of the film was shot on the set of executive producer Roger Corman's film Planet of Blood. ~ Sandra Brennan, 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

Cast & Crew

  • Kent Taylor
    Kent Taylor - Ted
  • Cathy Downs
    Cathy Downs - Lois
  • Michael Whalen
    Michael Whalen - King
  • Image coming soon
    Helene Stanton - Wanda
  • Phillip Pine
    Phillip Pine - George
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