It’s October so it’s tradition for a lot of people to load up on their horror movies. Personally, I do this all year but October kicks it into overdrive. This month we’re gonna feature a ton of recent releases from my favorite home video label: Scream Factory. Each week we’ll take a few of their releases from the decades and highlight them here.
First up, we’re looking at the creepy classics from the 50s-60s that Scream has graced us with over the past few months.
The Man from Planet X (1951)
From the farthest reaches of space it came … is it friend or foe?
After a ship from a distant world lands on the moors of Scotland, intrepid reporter John Lawrence (Robert Clarke, The Hideous Sun Demon) and the brilliant Professor Elliot (Raymond Bond) set out to investigate. Their journey brings them face to face with the ship’s pilot – an alien from a dying planet that pleads for their aid. But Elliot’s unscrupulous colleague Dr. Mears (William Schallert, The Patty Duke Show) has other plans entirely for the interplanetary visitor – plans that could decide the fate of two worlds.
Also starring David Ormont and Margaret Field, The Man From Planet X is pure 50’s drive-in goodness, straight from B-movie master Edgar G. Ulmer (The Black Cat, Detour).
NEW High-Definition Transfer Taken From A Fine Grain Print
NEW Commentary By Author Tom Weaver, Joe Dante, David Schecter, And Film Historian Dr. Robert J. Kiss
NEW Commentary By Film Historian Gary D. Rhodes And Actress Arianne Ulmer Cipes
Who does’t love a classic alien vs human movie?
The Vampire (1957)
“Tense direction… builds steadily in suspense!” – Variety
The patients are sick… but the doctor is a real sicko! When a small-town physician (John Beal) accidentally swallows experimental bat serum pills, he’s soon up to his Hippocratic Oath in blood-thirsty desire! Transformed into an undead fiend, the doctor finds himself sucked into a dark and sinister world – where he must save patients by day… and suck their blood by night!
NEW High-Definition Film Transfer From A Fine Grain Print
Original Theatrical Trailer
Just as cheesey and fun as it sounds.
“Ingenious and intriguing!” – Variety
“She’s a living doll!” changes from a flattering expression to a terrifying reality when a certifiably deranged maniac creates a shocking device that shrinks people to foot-high figurines!
Mr. Franz is a kindly, old, silver-haired doll-maker … who turns people into living puppets! He then forces his human re-inventions to put on parties and sing to him! But one day, tired of being toyed with, the puppets launch an attack, and suddenly Mr. Franz finds he’d better stop playing – and start praying – because the miniature moppets are hell-bent on revenge!
Directed by cult filmmaker Bert I. Gordon (Empire of the Ants, The Amazing Colossal Man), the film features an all-star cult movie cast including John Agar (Nightbreed, The Mole People, The Brain from Planet Arous), John Hoyt (When Worlds Collide) and Susan Gordon (Picture Mommy Dead).
Unfortunately, the Puppet People won’t be scaring you in time for Halloween. You can grab this tiny terror flick on November 14!
The Angry Red Planet (1959)
“… THE ANGRY RED PLANET is a charming and fun-filled 82 minutes.” – DVD Drive-In.com
With Martians like the leggy and very hairy “batratspidercrab,” plus flesh-eating plants and a rolling amoeba with rotating eyes, you’ll think twice before jumping into a spaceship – no matter where it’s headed.
When an Earth rocket lands on Mars, the crew finds the planet not entirely dead. As these well-armed scientists begin to explore, they are attacked by unbelievably horrific and demented creatures at every turn. Battling for their lives, the survivors make it back to their ship only to discover intelligent life – and a warning they’ll never forget!
NEW HD Transfer Taken From The Interpositive
More wonderful sci-fi horror fun with this one.
He was the custodian of the icebox that kept the skulls crisp and fresh!
The sins of the fathers rest heavily on the heads of the sons – literally – in this fun-filled fright-fest that’ll keep you “awake and screaming through many a traumatic night” (Variety)! Faced with an age-old family curse that beheaded their forefathers, two brothers attempt to unravel the family plot…even as sinister forces attempt to put them into it.
NEW High-Definition Transfer Taken From A Fine Grain Print
This one is fun and great for a light night. Need only see a super bendy knife to know that.
The Manster (1959)
Before you started eyes, a man will change into a monster!
An American reporter in Japan becomes the unwitting guinea pig in the experiments of a research scientist in this tale of ambition gone berserk.
Larry Stanford assigned to a story on evolutionary theorist Dr. Suzuki visits his secluded laboratory high in the mountains for Japan. Unwittingly injected with an experimental drug, Stanford becomes increasingly bitter and irritable towards his boss and his wife. Then one day, the appearance of a third eye on his shoulder hurls the reporter into a state of terror. The eye soon develops into a second head setting in motion a rampage of mayhem, madness and murder.
THE MANSTER (aka THE SPLIT) was originally released as the second half of a double feature. The first film was a dubbed version of Georges Franju’s horror classic, EYES WITHOUT A FACE (re-tittled THE HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS).
I feel like a lot of horror from the fifties involved experiments gone awry.
Island of Terror (1966):
“ISLAND OF TERROR has a fantastic ending which is genuinely exciting.” – British Horror Films.co.uk
On a tiny island off the coast of Ireland, a new breed of terror is unleashed. In his quest to find a cure for cancer, a research scientist conducts an experiment involving mutated cells. But this attempt to benefit humanity becomes a nightmare that threatens the entire human race.
The tranquil island is suddenly rocked by the mysterious death of a local farmer. When he is found in a cave, not a trace of bone left in his body, he has been reduced to a horrible, shapeless mass. Enter eminent pathologist Dr. Brian Stanley (horror icon Peter Cushing, Brides of Dracula, The Gorgon ) and Dr. David West (Edward Judd, First Men in the Moon), a brilliant bone specialist. Working together in a desperate race against time, they must find a way to destroy the seemingly indestructible, ever multiplying horde of bone-eating creatures before the mutant monsters kill everyone on the island and spread like a deadly plague across the entire planet! This chilling horror film is directed by the talented Hammer Films veteran director Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Mummy).
NEW High-Definition Transfer Of The Film Taken From The Interpositive
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian Dr. Robert J. Kiss And Blogger/Actor Rick Pruitt
More experimenting in the sixties! Still a fun watch.
A lot of these early horror films aren’t exactly scary but they are still fun to watch. It’s cool, at least to me, to see what kinds of things scared people and how the horror genre evolved from the science fiction tinged films of the past to what we have now. Scream Factory has released all of these lovingly as usual and with some nice features, where available.
Next week we’ll highlight recent titles from what many feel are horror’s greatest decades: 70s and 80s.
Keep an eye out for more horror goodness all month and feel free to give us your feedback and favorites in the comments!
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.