Roger Corman's Cult Classics Triple Feature: (Attack of the Crab Monsters / War of the Satellites / Not of This Earth)
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Three Films Produced And Directed By Honorary Academy Award Recipient And King Of B-Movies, Roger Corman: With All New Film Transfers From The Negative!
In Attack Of The Crab Monsters, a group of scientists become marooned on an island while investigating the disappearance of researchers who were looking into atomic activity in the Pacific. They quickly fall prey to giant, mutant crustaceans that have the ability to absorb the minds of their prey. Starring Russell Johnson (Gilligans Island), Richard Garland and Mel Welles (Little Shop Of Horrors).
An alien comes to Earth, masquerading as a human, to scout our planet for a new blood source in Not Of This Earth. He needs the blood of humans to take back to his planet of Davana for his dying race. Starring Paul Birch, Beverly Garland (It Conquered The World) and Jonathan Haze (Little Shop Of Horrors). These two films played as a double feature back when they were released theatrically and both films were penned by longtime Corman collaborator Charles B. Griffith, who wrote such classics as A Bucket Of Blood, Creature From The Haunted Sea and Death Race 2000.
In War Of The Satellites, an unknown force declares war against planet Earth when the United Nations disobeys warnings to cease and desist in its attempts at assembling the first satellite in the atmosphere. Starring Dick Miller (Bucket Of Blood), Richard Devon (Blood Of Dracula), Susan Cabot (The Wasp Woman) and a cameo by Roger Corman.
Three of legendary producer-director Roger Corman's earliest science-fiction films--Not of This Earth (1957), War of the Satellites (1958), and the delirious Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)--are featured in dazzling new presentations on this double-disc set. Make no mistake about these films: though they're billed as "classics," they're pure B pictures--the Crab Monsters are ungainly, goggle-eyed constructions, and the futuristic space design of Satellites consists of a few desks and couches--but Corman's particular skill was in translating a clever, watchable idea into a brisk and ultra-cheap feature. As a result, the plots of these films remain engaging and entertaining long after the giggles over the special effects have been stifled; Crab Monsters hinges on the unique notion of the monsters assuming the intellects of a research team (which includes Gilligan's Island's Russell Johnson) after consuming them, while Satellites concerns an alien-possessed astronaut who tries to upend the US space program. Not of This Earth is the best of the lot, an atmospheric thriller about an alien (Paul Birch, with unsettling white contact lenses) who kills to send human blood back to his home planet. Its mix of horror/vampire tropes and invasion thrills makes for a thoroughly watchable feature, and one that Corman found particularly appealing, having remade it in 1988 and 1995. Credit should also go to scripters Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna, both veteran writers for Corman, who crafted the novel concepts behind Crab Monsters and Not of This Earth.
All three films were staples of Saturday afternoon and late-night TV broadcasts, but remained out of circulation, save for poor-quality bootlegs, until now. Shout Factory's presentations are virtually spotless and even include (mostly extraneous) footage shot to fill out syndicated TV time slots. Not of This Earth and Crab Monsters also feature fact-filled commentaries by film historians Tom Weaver and John and Mike Brunas, while Satellites is buffeted by 25 trailers for Corman's films, including early efforts like Creature from the Haunted Sea and his last directorial credit to date, 1990's Frankenstein Unbound. Corman himself offers a brief background on his experiences with the film, while a host of Hollywood talent he nurtured, including Joe Dante, Peter Bogdanovich, Jack Hill, and others, pay tribute to him in a sizable testimonial. In all, it's an essential package for Corman devotees and those with a fondness for '50s sci-fi. --Paul Gaita
Audio commentaries on all three flms with Tom Weaver, John Brunas and Mike Brunas, Authors of Universal Horrors
The Roger Corman Trailer Collection including over 25 trailers Produced and Directed by Roger Corman
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The other special features on the disk that contains "War of the Satellites", has a number of trailers from other Corman films ranging from different genres such as horror and sci fi. Also there is another extra feature with Corman giving a brief history of his movie making career.
Attack of the Crab Monsters has a surprisingly good concept, albeit with big rubbery monsters. I liked the idea of the creatures literally undermining the island they're all marooned on, and their absorption of the dwindling survivors. Yes, the monsters look fake, that's part of their charm. Those of us who grew up watching these types of `monsters' aren't any different than this generation and their CGI cartoony looking creatures.
Not of This Earth also has a creepy concept and an equally creepy alien to go along with it. Love the eyes! It's surprising just how much you can achieve with very little money and even less time.
War of the Satellites is perhaps the cheapest looking one of the bunch (the crew uses lounge chairs with spindly legs during takeoff. Why bother to strap into something that's obviously not even bolted to the floor! I suppose they thought they were `futuristic' enough to serve their purpose). The only thing cheaper than this would be a View-Master! But it was fun. They just don't make them like this anymore. And why would they...
A keeper times 3!
My introduction to Roger Corman movies was the incredibly lame, unbelievably bad "Starcrash," which I bought simply because I had never seen it, and it got many very positive reviews. Strike one. Then I bought the double feature "Up From The Depths/Demon Of Paradise," which I had also never seen before. While marginally better than "Starcrash," these two "Jaws" wannabes were also pretty much stinkers, with nothing to recommend them except for a bit of gratuitous female nudity. Strike two. At the same time, again because of highly positive reviews, I picked up "Attack of the Crab Monsters/War of the Satellites/Not of This Earth," and I finally realized why Roger Corman's films appeal to many people.
If you're already familiar with these three films (I was not), it should be a no-brainer for you to pick up this set. The black-and-white transfers are spectacular, the sound quality is excellent and the commentaries and interviews are icing on the cake. Many people have commented that there have been no quality versions of these movies ever available. Shout Factory has now corrected that situation with a truly outstanding package. If you're a fan of old science fiction movies and have not seen these films, I recommend you give this set a try. You may be, as I was, pleasantly surprised.
My four-star rating reflects the fact that "Attack of the Crab Monsters/War of the Satellites/Not of This Earth" are nowhere near the quality of bona fide five-star films such as "Forbidden Planet," the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" or "Them!." But they are pretty good for what they are--low-budget quickies--and they make no pretense of being something they are not. You can look forward to a few hours of enjoyable entertainment with this set.