CREEPY CLASSICS presents...
Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.
Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Carteret, New Jeresey.
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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - TARGET EARTH
Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched TARGET EARTH (1954). This was suggested by by Dave Briggs, Rancho Cordova, CA. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe!
I wasn't able to catch this movie until Sunday...but, it was fun watching it with fellow Monster Bash staffers Barb Heiss, Dan Weber, and of course Ursula! We were doing mailings for Monster Bash 2010 (stuffing thousands of envelopes). For a low budget production, the small studio did a great job with the claustrophobic atmosphere of TARGET EARTH (1954). Denning and Virginia Grey shine in particular. Four main characters are trapped in a deserted, evacuated city. They all wake-up and everyone is gone. Their various reasons differ. One was attempting suicide (pretty heavy topic for a mainstream film in 1954). They discover that the city was evacuated because of an invasion....a far out invasion from the stars (probably Venus Richard Denning conjectures...he had been reading a lot of science fiction magazines!). There are cutaways to the US government and scientists working on a solution with a lot of nutty science, told in a perfectly rational manner, by the great Whit Bissell.
The effects are minimal...only one alien robot is scene...but this all seems okay because the focus of the film is our four characters and trying to deal with their situation and stay alive. They encounter a criminal on the lamb and we end up really caring for these folks and their plight. Low budget, but effective little film. -Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA
Another very enjoyable Saturday night monster movie. Richard Denning stars as one of the lone survivors left after Chicago has been evacuated due to an invasion from space. Robots have taken over the city and the army has to try and stop them.
One of the first sci-fi movies I remember watching on TV. Had to be early to mid-1960's on, I believe, a Yankees Rainout Theater some weekend afternoon on WPIX-11 in NYC. When I started collecting classic DVD's I saw this on the rack at the now-defunct Suncoast Movie store and quickly snatched it up.
I guess the reason I suggested "Target Earth!" for veiwing is that it has always been a fond childhood memory. As far back as I can remember, robots have always been a magnet to me. Anything that had a robot in it would automatically rivet my attention. I can distinctly remember the first time I saw "Target Earth!" on TV when I was about nine years old. That was about fifty-one years ago (yes...I'm one of the old guys.) I remember starting to watch it not knowing anything about the movie, but the mystery of the desolate city kept me interested. The real kicker was when that first shadow appeard on the side of the building. A ROBOT!! I was mesmerized from that point on. Especially when I saw later that those robots could emit a very cool deadly ray from their visors. The special effects were of cousre pretty dated by today's standards but for a young kid in the late 50's they were spectacular. That was the only time I ever saw this movie but it was permanently imprinted in my memory.
Jumping forward many decades later, I always kept this treasure in mind and yearned to see it again. To my delight, about fifteen years ago, I saw that "Target Earth!" it was going to be shown on cable late one night at about 2:00 AM. I stayed up anxious to once again see this icon from my youth. To my utter dissapointment, the "Target Earth!" being shown was actually "Target: Earth", a preposterous UFO "documentary" narrated by Victor Buono! I was devastated. My chance to once again see this favorite was dashed. It wasn't until the DVD version came out that I was finally able to re-watch it. Although the special effects are pretty dated it still held up for me as entertaining and it did indeed bring back happy childhood memories. I even think this would be a good candidate for a remake using contemporary digital effects.
It has a good script and all the main characters are excellent. I'm especially a fan of Richard Denning and Virginia Gray. As a matter of fact this movie follows a similar style as the old Twilight Zone TV show even though it was made years before that show first appeared. (Did it inspire Rod Serling?) I also think the staccato, percussive sound track adds extremely well to the mood of the story. But most of all I remember the Venusian robots! They were so cool to me way back then and even today I can see them as I did as a kid...menacing and very cool!
Hey Bash Synchers!
One of your reviewers from Sonora, Mexico asked if the poster featuring “Kid Hook” and “Twin Spud” was for real. This encounter occurs when Frank and Nora confront each other in an alleyway right after Nora discovers a deceased woman in the street early in the movie. According to boxing records, Kid Hook was a genuine boxer; however, the unusual nature of the poster as it appears in a movie made circa 1954 was that Kid Hook was active in 1925. He had one bout as a professional—a loss.
I’m always a sucker for films that are filmed on location featuring completely deserted city streets. Target Earth greatly benefits from the deserted streets. The cast provides conviction to a situation that at times doesn’t always make sense.
Richard Denning is excellent as always. Kathleen Crowley (who I met years ago at Chiller) provides the simmering sex appeal with a bit of intelligence. Virginia Grey and Richard Reeves are fine too. Their performances are very dated, reflecting the attitude of the 1950’s.
The extremely low budget allowed for only one robot but it is one of the more memorable ones. The films short running time does not allow for the film to drag. The robot breaking into the hotel is extremely frightening.
It’s always fun to see Whit Bissell (whom I also met over 25 years ago) and other B movie regulars doing their standard scientist and army colonel roles.
Target Earth is a fun B movie that holds no pretensions. Its purpose was to entertain and it easily accomplished that goal. I greatly enjoyed the film.
- Bruce Tinkel, Edison, NJ
Hey Fellow Bash Synchers...Dan Brenneis COMMENTATING out here in the middle of the city that`s evacuated and nothing left but deserted streets, vacated buildings, a few dead people and a menacing (AND A VERY CLUNKY-LOOKING!) robot who "holds serve" on our desperate gang of heroes and villians until our fearless Earth scientists (led by the remarkable and intellectual Whit Bissell!) finds a solution to our problem before it`s too late!! (I.E. ULTRASONIC SOUND WAVES!) By using these on the invading robot(s) their glass cathode ray tubes contained within their vision-visors are damaged and the robots are stopped and our planet is saved!!! THE END!
I personally found this film quite entertaining as well when it came to the basic storyline and the character development and interaction (I agree that Richard Denning, Kathleen Crowley and Virginia Grey are all quite good in their roles here) with each other trying to deal with the situation at hand and the film`s central menace. Unfortunately, this film is SADLY let down very BADLY by it`s special effects! (And I am very forgiving when it comes to this kind of film criticism, in general folks, ESPECIALLY when it comes to older movies!) BUT that being said, for me, the lack of an impressive enough looking robot menace combined with NOT ENOUGH ROBOTS invading the city to make a believable menace, well, BELIEVABLE!!!!!, Really hurts this film badly!
I guess when all is said and done, I look at this film as a "THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL" -DONE "LIGHT" (so to speak) -But without the robots! (I consider that film the best of it`s kind ever done) Still, this film is a nice afternoon time-waster (you can do much worse!) My rating: 2.5/5 stars.
Dan Brenneis-Strongsville, Ohio- Monster Bash Staff Member and Lifetime FilmFan Extroadinairre.