Release Date: November 6th, 1965 Directed by: Norman Taurog Written by: Elwood Ullman, Robert Kaufman, James Hartford Music by: Les Baxter Cast: Vincent Price, Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Susan Hart, Jack Mullaney
American International Pictures, 88 Minutes
“Igor, you idiot, why must you listen to me when I’m wrong?” – Dr. Goldfoot
Can you have a beach movie without the beach? Well, this certainly feels like it, as it features a ton of scantily clad beauties, as they try and steal the fortunes of rich tycoons. They’re also robots created by a mad scientist and a criminal mastermind in an effort to fund their evil doings.
In a lot of ways, this feels very similar to the Matt Helm movies with Dean Martin, which also featured scantily clad beauties, diabolical mad men and spy shenanigans.
Coming out at the height of the spy and beach movie genres, this utilizes both and also adds in horror legend Vincent Price and beach movie icon Frankie Avalon.
The movie is over the top to the point of being outright parody but it is a strange, amusing picture that may not have been a massive hit but has since developed a good cult following for those who like the varying genres this attempts to mash up. It also got a sequel, which I will review in the near future.
For the most part, this is good, mindless fun. Turn off your brain, kick back and enjoy the awesome batshittery. Plus, for ’60s cinephiles, it’s just really neat seeing Price and Avalon in the same flick.
For some, this will seem like an outdated relic without much in it worth giving a shit about. But those people can have their Academy Award nominated bores. Cool people would rather watch this and leave Ordinary People to the pretentious intellectuals.
Rating: 6/10 Pairs well with: its sequel and other Vincent Price pictures that he did for American International.
Release Date: August 25th, 1965 Directed by: Freddie Francis Written by: Milton Subotsky, Robert Bloch Based on:The Skull of the Marquis de Sade by Robert Bloch Music by: Elisabeth Lutyens Cast: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jill Bennett, Patrick Wymark, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee, Michael Gough
Amicus Productions, 83 Minutes
“All I can say to you is keep away from the skull of the Marquis de Sade!” – Sir Matthew Phillips
I felt like I was going through Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee withdrawals, as it’s actually been awhile since I got to kick back and watch one of their many collaborations. I mean, there were 22 of them and I’ve already reviewed several but I just felt the need to spend some time with two of my three favorite horror legends, especially during this trying COVID-19 self-imposed social exile.
Anyway, I really love The Skull. It’s not the best film with these guys in it and frankly, they don’t share enough scenes but this picture is full of so many great actors from the era, that it is hard not to love. I especially liked seeing Patrick Magee, Nigel Green and Michael Gough pop up in this.
The plot is an interesting one, as it sees Cushing come into possession of the skull of Marquis de Sade. The skull itself is possessed by an evil force, presumably de Sade, and it makes those around it do evil acts. Cushing is driven mad and we even get a moment that shows him murder his best friend, Christopher Lee.
What’s really fun about this movie is how some scenes are shot in regards to the skull. While this is a low budget production and a product of its time, where effects were still fairly primitive, the skull truly becomes its own character because of the simple tricks the filmmakers did.
I love how you see through the skull’s eye sockets in many shots, giving you a first-person perspective of the evil force, as it enchants and takes control of its human vessels. The use of colored light within the skull added a certain mystique to these shots. Also, the way that they made the skull physically float through the air was done to great effect. Even though modern HD televisions make the strings more visible, it still works and most of these effects look really smooth, especially for the mid-’60s.
The tone and atmosphere of the film are also well crafted. The cinematography is effective, especially in regards to the lighting and shot framing. And even though most of the story takes place in what was modern times, it still has a very Victorian feel to it.
Most importantly, this is well acted from all the key players, as they gave this film their all and made it better than it needed to be.
Like most old horror, this relies on the imagination of the viewer. It’s a “less is more” suspenseful thriller that uses your own imagination as its real monster.
While Amicus wasn’t quite at the level of Hammer, the best of their pictures, this being one of them, definitely stood proudly alongside their closest competition.
Rating: 7.5/10 Pairs well with: other Amicus and Hammer horror films. Specifically, those starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
Also known as: Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Monster Zero (alternative US titles), Battle of the Astros, Invasion of Planet X, The Great Monster War (alternative Yugoslavian titles) Release Date: December 19th, 1965 (Japan) Directed by: Ishirō Honda Written by: Shinichi Sekizawa Music by: Akira Ifukube Cast: Akira Takarada, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Keiko Sawai, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yoshifumi Tajima
Toho Co. Ltd., 93 Minutes, 74 Minutes (re-issue)
“[about the victory over King Ghidorah, while Godzilla is outside dancing] A happy moment.” – Controller of Planet X
This is the last Godzilla film of the Shōwa era that I had left to review. While I didn’t watch the movies in order, I did save one of my favorites for last. But honestly, I like all these movies and don’t think there is a bad one in the bunch. Nope, not even All Monsters Attack a.k.a. Godzilla’s Revenge.
What I liked about this film is that it is a true follow up to its predecessor Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and also features the same lineup of monsters, minus Mothra. This also introduces the Xiliens from Planet X, who were (and still are) the best alien villains in Godzilla lore. In fact, they should’ve been regular antagonists throughout the Shōwa pictures but Toho decided to introduce new hostile aliens with almost every movie after this one. Although, I did like the ape and the cockroach aliens, somewhat. But leaving the Xiliens behind, after this film, was a mistake.
Anyway, the plot in this one is interesting, as it sees the Xiliens bring two Earth astronauts to their planet in an effort to get them to agree to let them borrow Godzilla and Rodan due to King Ghidorah being a major nuisance. It’s all a trap, however, as the aliens take control of Godzilla and Rodan and force them, along with Ghidorah, to attack Earth, leaving it defenseless. I guess King Kong, Mothra and Anguirus were taking naps on Monster Island.
Despite its hokiness, I really like the set designs and costumes in this chapter. Everything just looks really unique and seeing just one frame of this film lets avid Godzilla fans know which movie it is. Especially, in regards to any scenes involving Planet X or its people.
The special effects are great and consistent with the other films where Eiji Tsuburaya handled them.
All in all, this is just another really fun chapter in the franchise during its greatest run.
Rating: 7.75/10 Pairs well with: other Shōwa era Godzilla movies.
Also known as: The Eye Creatures (original TV title), Terrors of the Dark (working title) Release Date: 1965 (TV) Directed by: Larry Buchanan Written by: Paul W. Fairman, Robert J. Gurney Jr., Al Martin Music by: Les Baxter, Ronald Stein Cast: John Ashley, Cynthia Hull, Warren Hammack, Chet Davis, Bill Peck, Ethan Allen, Charles McLine
Aztec Pictures, American International Television, 80 Minutes
“[two radar men spy kids necking in the woods] Ain’t science wonderful?” – Culver
Attack of the Eye Creatures is the type of schlock that makes respectable schlock run for the hills. It’s basically a wet turd on celluloid, which is probably why it is only slightly remembered in modern times because it was the focal point of a fourth season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Had it not been for that great show dusting it off, this movie would have been lost to the sands of time. Granted, that might be for the best because even with it getting the MST3K treatment, it’s still a tough one to get through.
This was distributed by American International, who are synonymous with schlock even though they sometimes pushed out good pictures like those Vincent Price and Roger Corman collaborations that adapted the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
However, this was so bad that it was distributed by the TV arm of the company. For American International to not have much faith in putting something in theaters, you know it’s bad.
I’m not even sure what the hell was going on in this movie, as it was hard to stay awake.
Although, the creatures are just so terrible looking that they’re at least endearing and the only salvageable thing from the film. I mean, their design and the execution of that design is pretty deplorable. Essentially, they are supposed to be humanoid creatures made up of naked eyeballs. They looks more like The Stuff from The Stuff trying to fully devour a mannequin. They should’ve titled this movie Attack of the Lumpy Marshmallow Men or Revenge of the Spooge Goblins.
As with all films like this, it is best viewed by watching the MST3K version. At least the riffing is good on this one.
Rating: 1.5/10 Pairs well with: the worst of the worst when it comes to films shown on MST3K.
Also known as: Jaws of the Alien (video title), Space Agent K1 (Germany) Release Date: March 3rd, 1965 Directed by: Hugo Grimaldi Written by: Arthur C. Pierce Music by: Gordon Zahler Cast: George Nader, Dolores Faith, George Macready, Barbara Nichols, Richard Arlen, Richard Kiel, Hugh Beaumont
Hugo Grimaldi Film Productions, Woolner Brothers Pictures Inc., 100 Minutes, 80 Minutes (cut)
I’ve had a lot of good luck lately with watching and reviewing films from classic episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. What I mean by that, is that the last few films were actually enjoyable and not total poop.
The Human Duplicators, on the other hand, is a return to form for what is the quality of the typical film riffed on MST3K.
At least this one has a cool poster, though. Also, it was trippy as hell in some parts and it featured Richard Kiel, most famous for playing Jaws in the James Bond franchise but also seen in another MST3K featured film, Eegah.
The premise is about a bunch of aliens that clone humans. I mean, I guess the film’s title gives the cloning thing away. But other than the general premise, this is such a mess of a film that it’s hard to pay attention to the shoddy details.
The acting is terrible, as is the direction and the general look of this picture. At least, as far as the cinematography and lighting go. Although, some of the sets were imaginative but that’s probably due to their trippiness and because I was on edibles while watching this. But don’t be fooled, the sets still look like they’re cheaper than a Huddle House hooker in Starke, Florida.
In the end, I can’t recommend this movie but I did enjoy it enough with Joel and the ‘Bots making fun of it.
Rating: 2.25/10 Pairs well with: other bottom of the barrel schlock that owes its continued existence to Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Release Date: December 9th, 1965 (Tokyo premiere) Directed by: Terence Young Written by: Richard Maibaum, John Hopkins, Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, Ian Fleming Based on: the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming Music by: John Barry Cast: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Philip Stone, Martine Beswick
Eon Productions, United Artists, 130 Minutes
“My dear girl, don’t flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for Queen and country. You don’t think it gave me any pleasure, do you?” – James Bond
After Guy Hamilton directed Goldfinger and took the Bond film franchise away from focusing on SPECTRE, Terence Young came back to direct the fourth film and made SPECTRE a focal point once again. And I’m glad because as much as I like Goldfinger, I’d rather see Connery’s Bond duking it out with Blofeld’s minions on a grand stage. Auric Goldfinger just seemed like a chump when compared to a high ranking SPECTRE agent.
This chapter in the franchise also feels a bit like a call back to the original film, Dr. No. Mainly just in aesthetic and geography though, as this film’s big finale takes place in the Bahamas, which draws some similarities to Dr. No‘s Jamaica sequences.
Also, the villain in this is Emilio Largo, one of the all-time greatest Bond villains of all-time. See, I said “all-time” twice to solidify the point. In fact, I ranked him third on a list where I did a countdown of James Bond baddies. The only villains I ranked higher were Blofeld (obviously) and Francisco Scaramanga because c’mon man, that’s Christopher Lee. Largo is just perfect as a top SPECTRE operative and “Number 2” to Blofeld, who Bond would finally face in the film after this.
In a lot of ways, this sets up the big Bond vs. Blofeld showdown that was coming in You Only Live Twice while also being a culmination of the events that started in Dr. No and From Russia With Love. This is a vital chapter in the Connery era, as it acts as a bridge linking the important SPECTRE plot points. Plus, it’s just damn good.
While this Bond film is tropical and beautiful, it also has a grittiness to it. It feels more real than the previous outing. Granted, that’s a bit undone by the hokey speed boat finale but the technology to make that sequence less cheesy, didn’t exist yet. And really, that whole stopping the super speedy boat from crashing is really my only complaint about the film.
I love Connery’s James Bond. I also love Largo, as I have already pointed out. The scenes that the two share together really take this film to a different level though. Red Grant was good in From Russia With Love and Dr. Julius No was solid in Dr. No. But there is just something larger and more threatening about Largo. Sure, he can’t physically match Bond like Red Grant but he effectively uses other tools and plays to his strengths.
Underwater sequences in movies usually suck, let’s be honest. But the ones in this film just work and there’s a lot of underwater stuff. Plus, you get to see Bond literally swimming with sharks and I mean “literally” in the grammatically correct way and I’m not using “sharks” as a metaphor. I mean actual sharks.
Thunderball is better than just being a popcorn movie set in majestic scenery. If you ever wanted to pick a handful of Bond movies to have a mini marathon with, than this should definitely be in that handful.
Rating: 8.25/10 Pairs well with: The other Sean Connery James Bond movies, as well as that George Lazenby one.
The Dollars Trilogy, also known as The Man With No Name Trilogy, is one of the best film series there has ever been, capped off by the greatest film ever made.
These films also featured the best soundtracks ever created by the legendary Ennio Morricone.
But let me talk about all three of Sergio Leone’s masterpieces on their own.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964):
Also known as:Per un pugno di dollari (Italy), lit. For a Fistful of Dollars Release Date: September, 1964 (Italy) Directed by: Sergio Leone Written by: Víctor Andrés Catena, Jamie Comas Gil, Fernando Di Leo, Sergio Leone, Duccio Tessari, Tonino Valerii (all uncredited), Mark Lowell, Clint Eastwood (English version) Based on:Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa, Ryūzō Kikushima Music by: Ennio Morricone (credited as Dan Savio) Cast: Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch, Josef Edger, Wolfgang Lukschy, Gian Maria Volontè (as John Wells)
Jolly Film, Constantin Film, Ocean Films, Unidis, United Artists, 100 Minutes
“To kill a man you shoot him in the heart. Isn’t that what you said, Ramon?” – Joe (The Man With No Name)
The first film in the series is the smallest in scope. The story is very straightforward and compared to its sequels, it is pretty basic. It is still a fantastic film on its own and is one of the best westerns ever made. Had Sergio Leone just made this film and not the other two, it may have had the same level of love and admiration that accompanies The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
It introduces us to the character referred to as “The Man With No Name”. In the film, he is casually referred to as “Joe” but it isn’t the true name of this stranger who wanders into town and changes things for the better before leaving.
This film is a template for the ones after it and that isn’t a knock, as it was executed greatly and fits well within the series that this trilogy became. You can tell that Sergio Leone is getting his feet wet with the western genre and for a first effort, this is a magnificent work of art.
It is also a lose remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. It turns the samurai wandering into a Japanese village and switches it to a gunslinger wandering into an Old West town.
Clint Eastwood truly owns the character and the villainous Ramón (played by Gian Maria Volontè) is a perfect foil for the hero.
The movie ends with one of the greatest and imaginative gun duels in film history. In fact, it would go on to be seen in Back to the Future, Part II and would inspire Marty McFly when he had to face his evil foil in a gun battle in Back to the Future, Part III.
Plus, the opening sequence of this film is absolute perfection and maybe my second favorite sequence in any spaghetti western, only surpassed by the finale of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. But those two scenes were incredible bookends to this film series.
Rating: 9/10 Pairs well with: Any Leone spaghetti western.
For A Few Dollars More (1965):
Also known as:Per qualche dollaro in più (Italy) Release Date: December 30th, 1965 (Italy) Directed by: Sergio Leone Written by: Sergio Leone, Fulvio Morsella, Enzo Dell’Aquila (uncredited), Fernando Di Leo (uncredited) Music by: Ennio Morricone Cast: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Luigi Pistilli, Aldo Sambrell, Klaus Kinski, Mario Brega
Produzioni Europee Associati (PEA), Arturo González Producciones Cinematográficas, Constantin Film, United Artists, 132 Minutes
“Alive or dead? It’s your choice.” – Monco (The Man With No Name)
The first sequel expands on the world of the first film. It feels bigger, the plot has more meat to it and our hero gets to team up with a bounty hunter named Col. Douglas Mortimer (played by the always spectacular Lee Van Cleef). The villain, El Indio is played by the previous installment’s villain actor, Gian Maria Volontè.
The two heroes work together and sometimes against one another in trying to take down El Indio and his gang. There are a lot of twists to the story and there is a lot more depth and layers than the plot of A Fistful of Dollars. Leone really found his stride in this film but it still wasn’t absolute perfection – that was yet to come.
This installment is also a bit more humorous than the previous film, in that the relationship between “The Man With No Name” (referred to as “Monco”) and Col. Douglas Mortimer is pretty chummy and entertaining. But this was Eastwood and Van Cleef in their prime, if you ask me. Both are magnetic, charismatic and each brings so much gravitas to any role that the cup was overflowing with masculine intensity.
As the story unfolds and the relationships build, you are left with a pretty lovable tale. Albeit a pretty badass lovable tale.
And as incredible as Ennio Morricone is as a composer, each chapter in this trilogy sees him evolve into something even greater.
Rating: 9/10 Pairs well with: Any Leone spaghetti western.
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966):
Also known as: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (Italy) Release Date: December 23rd, 1966 (Italy) Directed by: Sergio Leone Written by: Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Leone, Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli Music by: Ennio Morricone Cast: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, Aldo Giuffrè, Mario Brega, Luigi Pistilli
Produzioni Europee Associati (PEA), Arturo González Producciones Cinematográficas, Constantin Film, United Artists, 177 Minutes
“You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” – Blondie (The Man With No Name)
In my opinion, this is the greatest film ever made. It is perfect and truly has no flaws. Sure, westerns aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but some people eat laundry detergent because the Internet tells them to.
Clint Eastwood (The Good) is back, as is Lee Van Cleef (The Bad) who plays the evil Angel Eyes. Eli Wallach (The Ugly) joins them and becomes one of the best characters in cinematic history.
This is a three hour epic and not a single moment of film is wasted. Each segment serves the story well and fleshes out these dynamic characters. Everyone is given a chance to play off of each other and each exchange between characters drives the story forward and strengthens the relationship between all three men.
Even though Clint Eastwood’s “The Man With No Name” is the hero of this series, it is Eli Wallach’s Tuco Ramirez that is the actual star of this picture. He goes from annoying but funny bandit to a lovable and tragic character that you find yourself cheering for by the time this thing is over.
This film is a perfect example of how to develop characters well but with a minimalist approach. Their backstory doesn’t need to be spelled out in every detail. You can hint at their past, drop clues and come to conclusions based off of the emotion the actor wears on their face at certain points. Eli Wallach really gave an Oscar caliber performance here but these sort of films are ignored by elitist Academy snobbery.
The cinematography, the geography, the interiors – all are perfect. This film takes place in a massive and dirty world and it really feels like the American West, even though it was filmed in Europe in 1960s spaghetti western fashion.
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly plays like an old opera in its level of scope, story and violence. While the violence isn’t over the top, it serves a real narrative purpose and has a gritty authenticity about it that no other director has been able to capture since.
There isn’t a single thing about this movie that I would tweak, edit out or even try to expand on. I keep saying “perfect” and “flawless” because those are the only words I can even use to describe this untouchable film.
This is Sergio Leone’s magnum opus and the man was one of the greatest directors to ever live.
Rating: 10/10 Pairs well with: Any Leone spaghetti western.
Also known as: The Black Door (working title), The Head That Wouldn’t Die (alternate) Release Date: February 25th, 1962 (West Germany) Directed by: Joseph Green Written by: Rex Carlton, Joseph Green Music by: Abe Baker, Tony Restaino Cast: Jason Evers, Virginia Leith, Eddie Carmel
Sterling Productions, American International Pictures, 82 Minutes
“Nothing is unbelievable if you have the nerve to operate.” – Dr. Bill Cortner
In the long list of movies featured in episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, this one has the distinction of being the first episode to feature Mike Nelson as its star. He replaced Joel Hodgson, who left after the previous episode Mitchell. It is also a hard episode to track down for some reason, as it wasn’t streaming on Hulu or Amazon Video, where I watch most of the old MST3K episodes these days.
This film was completed in 1959 under the title The Black Door. However, it didn’t actually get released in the U.S. until it was paired with Invasion of the Star Creatures, as a double bill.
The plot follows a mad scientist that does crazy experiments. He keeps body parts alive while separated from the body. He has some hulking, deformed brute that he keeps in a closet, as well as the living yet severed head of a woman named Jan Compton. Eventually, he abducts a model ex-girlfriend with the plans of chopping off her scarred head and replacing it with the severed head of Jan’s. Jan protests and the doctor covers her mouth with tape. The brute then attacks the mad scientist, bites a chunk out of him that kills him and in the battle, accidentally sets everything on fire. The brute carries the abducted girl to safety though, so at least she’s not burnt to a crisp. Jan on the other hand, isn’t so lucky.
The story is bizarre and insane but that’s not uncommon for AIP pictures. It’s pretty standard fare, actually. However, this was a film definitely worthy of getting riffed on MST3K. The plot is dumb, the effects are terrible and even by the low standards that AIP was famous for, even this was probably below their normal tripe.
While I love movies like this, this one is pretty boring and mostly uneventful, from top to bottom. And it’s not like the cooler stuff that happens is all that unique. Everything in this film has been done and done significantly better. But it is sort of a proto Re-Animator and I still enjoy it enough to revisit it periodically. Still, I can’t in any way give it a decent rating.
And truthfully, I can’t deny the fact that it has to be put through the Cinespiria Shitmoter. The results read, “Type 5 Stool: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (passed easily).”
Rating: 2.5/10 Pairs well with: Really, almost anything from the late 1950s and early 1960s that was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Release Date: October 20th, 1965 Directed by: Bert I. Gordon Written by: Bert I. Gordon, Alan Caillou Based on:The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H.G. Wells Music by: Jack Nitzsche, The Beau Brummels Cast: Tommy Kirk, Johnny Crawford, Beau Bridges, Joy Harmon, Robert Random, Tisha Sterling, Toni Basil, Ron Howard
Berkeley Productions, Embassy Pictures, Joseph E. Levine Productions, 81 Minutes
“I’m hungry too. What’s for breakfast?” – Elsa, “Sheriff, on toast.” – Fred
A movie with Ron Howard and Beau Bridges in it that is based off of an H.G. Wells story? Well, at least it sounds good on paper.
This movie was featured in an early Mike Nelson episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and I guess this was one of the few that I have never seen because I would have remembered this bizarre train wreck of pure, unadulterated awesomeness.
These juvenile delinquents that are overly delinquently and dance like cracked out schmucks every chance they get, come into contact with this chemical that makes living things grow to much larger proportions.
However, before we even get a town ravaged by kaiju sized teen douches, we get to see ducks the size of rhinos dancing around in a nightclub. We also get to see one get barbecued, which was kind of sad because a one ton party duck isn’t just something you skewer, set on fire and cover in Sweet Baby Ray’s! These dumb kids could have paraded that duck around from town to town getting lots of money from curious rednecks and baffled farm folk.
This film is terrible but it’s that extraordinary kind of terrible where it has just enough bizarre kookiness to make it pretty unique and quite entertaining. I can’t realistically give this even an average rating but I was charmed by the absurdity of it and for the fact that it is a fun dumb movie. It’s nowhere near as bad as most of the dreck you’ll see on MST3K and if I were to make a list of best movies to watch that were featured by MST3K, this would be high up on that list.
Village of the Giants is stupid but its a stupid you can laugh at and enjoy.
Release Date: August 23rd, 1965 (UK) Directed by: Gordon Flemyng Written by: Milton Subotsky Based on:The Daleks by Terry Nation Music by: Malcolm Lockyer, Barry Gray (electronic music) Cast: Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Jennie Linden, Roberta Tovey
AARU Productions, British Lion Films, 82 Minutes
“How interesting! This is most interesting!” – Dr. Who
Dr. Who and the Daleks is a pretty interesting piece of pop culture. Really, it is an adaptation of the Doctor Who episode The Daleks. It was made in color and released theatrically but this Dr. Who, is not the Doctor Who.
Horror and sci-fi legend Peter Cushing plays this version of the Doctor but he is not an alien Time Lord, he is a human scientist that somehow built his own TARDIS. This isn’t canon with the rest of the Doctor Who mythos but it did get a sequel, which was also an adaptation of a classic Doctor Who episode featuring the Daleks.
This movie gets a pretty bad rap but I think it’s just because it exists as its own thing. Truthfully, it isn’t that bad, if classic cheesy science fiction is your thing. It certainly looks better than the Doctor Who that was on television, at the time. This is in color, unlike the show and it is actually pretty damn colorful, almost like an Italian giallo film from the late ’60s or early ’70s. There is a great vivid use of colored lighting between the emerald green petrified forest to the hokey yet opulent looking base of the Daleks. Plus, the Daleks are colorful and each seems to have its own unique visual flair. Even the humanoid aliens were colorful.
This is the type of film you’d expect to see pop up on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 but it would definitely be one of the better films they could feature. The former MST3K guys who run RiffTrax recognized this, as they did lampoon this film and its sequel.
I have always really like Dr. Who and the Daleks. I get why other people don’t but I feel as if they aren’t giving it a fair shot because it has major differences with its source material. The film, like the show, is full of fun and adventure and well, it has Daleks.