From Hell It Came [Blu-ray]
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Beware Tabonga! On a remote South Seas island, no one is safe from this hideous...and unique...monster. Tabonga is part man, part tree, all doom. Formerly an island prince, he was unjustly put to death by a witch doctor. Now he’s returned to life with roots, branches and a vengeance. Against natives. Against visiting American scientists who investigate the tree’s radioactive green sap. Against anyone unwise enough to expect a tree to stay put. A macabre medley of creature feature, Polynesian kitsch and Atomic Age cautionary tale, From Hell It Came is the killer-tree movie you woodn’t want to miss!
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THE STORY: Xenophobic politics favor heavily in this sappy story of a young island prince accused of consorting with the Evil White Man (gasp!) by his tribe's twitchy witch doctor, his power-hungry second-in-command, and the prince's own two-timing wife. Railroaded through the tribal judicial system, the innocent prince is summarily staked to the ground and then staked through the heart with a ceremonial dagger, but not before swearing revenge - from beyond the grave if necessary - on those who wronged him. Once his body has been stuffed into a crude coffin and vertically buried in the local graveyard, the weaselly witch doctor & his backstabbing cronies all congratulate each other's cruel, crafty cleverness. But soon the barren cemetery is surprisingly sprouting some decidedly UN-natural new flora... in the form of an unusual-looking, vaguely man-shaped tree stump. But wait, this is no ordinary tree stump shaped like a man, complete with a frowny face & bad bird's nest hairdo. Oh no my friends, it's that legendary South Seas spirit of vengeance, that terrifying tree monster: Tabonga!
THOUGHTS: There's no way to say it other than that this film is just absolutely ridiculous. The script is so crappy it should have been written on toilet paper. The production design is atrocious. The blaring musical score is over-the-top obvious. The direction is stiffer than a 2x4. And the actors in this cinematic sliver are all as wooden as the titular tree terror, with the island 'natives' being especially cringe-worthy. (The men have apparently perfected a tropical palm tree Pomade, which they all slather on by the canoeful, while the women, despite being thousands of miles from the nearest cosmetics counter, sport more make-up than the members of KISS! And dig that crazy island witch doctor, the first native South Seas medicine man with a Bronx accent!) Still, there's just something about this film. I mean, honestly, how can you NOT have a goofy smile plastered on your face watching a movie that prominently features a man-shaped tree shuffling around aimlessly terrifying doughy guys in flowery skirts??? The creation of (criminally un-credited) legendary B-movie monster maker Paul Blaisdell, "Tabonga" is an memorable menace, indeed. Too bad he didn't branch out and star in other films. Tabonga is what Guardians of The Galaxy's beloved "Groot" would have probably looked like, had GoTG been made in the 1950's or 60's. In fact, I'm firmly convinced that the design for Groot, (who made his original appearance in November 1960's issue of Tales to Astonish, a mere three years after this film came out), was directly inspired by Tabonga. [Check the picture.] Simply stated, the Tabonga is what makes this movie worth watching. Everything else about this unfortunately NOT one-of-a-kind flick just stinks to high heaven, and I'll leaf it at that. FROM HELL IT CAME would make the logical first film in an oldies 'Killer Tree' triple feature home movie marathon, along with the sadly unavailable NAVY VS. THE NIGHT MONSTERS and MAN-EATER OF HYDRA, both of which feature bark far worse than their bite.
THE BLU-RAY: The hi-def transfer for FROM HELL IT CAME comes to us from Warner Bros. Archives branch. The picture is mostly clean and stable, though some crush (video noise) is present throughout most of the film. The frame has been formatted to fill 16x9 TV's, but there doesn't appear to be too much of the picture that's lost so, given the eclectic nature of this flick, I don't feel it's too sacrilegious of W-B to have tampered with it to fit modern TV screens. Audio is strong & stable, the mono soundtrack clean & level. No bonus content except a so-so copy of the film's theatrical trailer, which erroneously credits the monster as "Bawanga" ? FROM HELL IT CAME is best summed up by Ed Naha, in his delightful 1975 movie monster movie reference book, Horrors From Screen to Scream, thusly: "And to hell it can go."
I don't know what they were thinking when they came up with this crazy plot. A prince is executed and buried upright in a box of wood that sprouts into a crabby looking tree with unblinking eyeballs and the need to kill. The things they thought radiation could or would do during the heyday of atomic testing is absolutely ludicrous. Giant tarantulas I can accept but angry trees that stroll around looking to get even with anyone even remotely connected to their gratuitous demise (and subsequent reincarnation as a tree), is more than a little farfetched. Although why anyone would want to return as shrubbery is beyond me. At any rate, havoc reigns supreme even if logic never rears its head as this horrible tree of vengeance seeks retribution. (Cue maniacal laughter.)
As for production value, there's not a whole lot of attention to detail here, the props look like they'd been used a dozen times in other movies like this. The casting wasn't top of the line (although I did enjoy Linda Watkins performance as Mrs. Mae Kilgore). The dialog could have used some sprucing. And the tree could have looked and acted more menacing (less like a Muppet).
Be that as it may, how can you hate a movie starring a walking tree? Yes, it's crap, but it's crap with a purpose........to make people laugh. I enjoyed it. But then, I had low expectations to begin with.
keep IT, THEM and THINGS coming
LIKE THE TITLES BELOW IN THE PHOTOS.
warner please release the follow sci fi classics on blu ray
The Green Slime, Trog, The Giant Behemoth, The Black Scorpion and Attack of the 50 ft Woman.
they would sell very well.
Pop the Popcorn, and get the family together for some cheesy sci-fi fun. What makes these silly movies Gems, is the seriousness of the actors who stay "In Character" throughout the film. If you can get this film for 15 bucks or less, it is worth having, just for the hilarity of the monster scenes.
20 bucks is a bit steep. I paid it. But my collection is large, and I was curious about this movie, after reading all the positive amazon reviews. It's easily worth 10-15 bucks. Let your budget be your guide.
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