(Rated: E)Product Type: DVD
Reviewer: Alex Morgan
Review Rated: E
Amazon's Price: $ 31.08
Summary of this DVD...
I’m a big sucker for the black and white 50’s science fiction horror movies and get excited when I find one that I haven’t seen before. While searching for something to watch, I happened upon Monster from Green Hell, and BONUS, it’s a giant bug movie! This one featured huge wasps, so I’m thinking Them! (giant ants), The Deadly Mantis (a giant praying mantis), Earth vs. the Spider (a giant tarantula), Black Scorpion (giant scorpions, duh), The Beginning of the End (giant grasshoppers), and the queen of giant bugs, Mothra.
Monster from Green Hell, released May 17, 1957, was directed by Kenneth Crane, in his directorial debut, and produced by Al Zimbalist. Jim Davis, who would go on to play Jock Ewing in the Dallas saga, played the lead Dr. Quent Brady and Robert Griffin stars as Dan Morgan.
The movie opens with an unnamed space agency sending animals and insects into space to see how they react to solar radiation. A rocket carrying wasps goes off course and goes down somewhere off the coast of Africa. Could you be a little more vague?
An African native is killed by paralysis of the nervous system. Dr. Lorentz (Vladimir Sokoloff) states there isn’t an animal that could deliver the amount of poison found in the body.
Then the audience gets to see the monster, which really does not look like a wasp.
The image is superimposed onto stock footage of animals and people running away. Supposedly, in an effort to instill fear and emphasize the size of the wasps, the producers employed an effect used by the Toho Company a few years before in Godzilla, where the creature appears over a hill crest, frightening natives below.
Six months later, Brady and Morgan read about monsters in Africa in the newspapers and wonder if they could be connected to their lost rocket. Just then Brady reveals that exposure to cosmic radiation causes organisms to increase in size.
Just now? It took him six months to figure this out?
Brady and Morgan travel to Africa and are directed to the village of Mongwa, where the first victim was found and diagnosed by Dr. Lorentz.
It takes a week and a half to get an expedition to travel the 400 miles on foot to Mongwa. They expect to make the journey in 27 days. Couldn’t they have gotten a little closer or hired a plane?
Along the way, the expedition is attacked by an angry African tribe, which causes a delay. The attack has nothing to do with the giant wasps. It seems to be included only to lengthen the movie which runs at a whopping 71 minutes. The ambush causes them to add 75 miles to the trek to avoid any more run-ins with the locals.
Running out of water, they come across a creek, but discover it is poisoned. Mahri (Eduardo Ciannelli) know it is poisoned because he finds a dead lion. No explanation. No idea how he can take one glance at a dead lion and know it has been poisoned.
After more days without water and at the point of death by dehydration, a monsoon relieves them of their thirst, but causes them even more delays.
The expedition finally reaches Dr. Lorentz’s clinic, but are informed that the doctor has been killed by the monster in an area the natives call Green Hell.
Before they can continue into Green Hell, their expedition members abandon them. Brady, Morgan, Lorna (Dr. Lorentz’s daughter played by Barbara Turner) and Arobi (Joel Fluellen) travel to a nearby village to recruit more men but find everyone dead. The only clues are giant wasp footprints.
The nearby volcano begins to steam and spout smoke. Hmmm…
They camp for the night at the base of the volcano and Brady explains to the group how the wasp hive forms around the queen, so they must destroy her or else the hive will expand and take over the world. This is followed by more walking and more buzzing noises.
An hour into the movie with only ten minutes left, Brady finds the colony. They lob grenades into the hive, but the explosions only serve to make them mad as hornets.
One of the giant wasps chases them into a cave. Although it cannot reach them, Brady detonates the rest of their stash of grenades and collapses the mouth of the cave. Why? They were safe inside the cave.
Good thing they found another way out! Maybe Brady should have searched for another exit before destroying the only one they knew?
As soon as they emerge, the volcano erupts, and lava destroys the nest.
The closing line: Nature has a way of correcting its own mistakes – Dan Morgan
No, Morgan. Nature corrected YOUR mistake!
The movie was not well received upon release and has a rating of 3.5 on imdb.com. One of many things that probably doomed the film was about 40% of the movie uses stock footage from Stanley and Livingston released in 1939, which contributed to inconsistencies in the scenes involving the expedition to Mongwa.
Other things that do not make sense.
The rocket crashes off the African coast. Brady, Morgan and company do not seem to worry about it. Shouldn’t they contact someone in Africa to alert them? Was their technology so primitive that they could not narrow down the spot where the rocket crashed?
It is only when monsters appear in Africa that Brady and Morgan remember their lost rocket from six months before. Still, no warning or heads-up.
Throughout the movie, there is the fear that the wasps will expand their territory and destroy civilization. But after eight months, the wasps haven’t ventured beyond Green Hell. And there is only a handful of them. Has the solar radiation sterilized them?
As far as good ‘bad’ movies go, it’s worth a watch but doesn’t hold up to other 1950s, B&W, sci-fi monster movies.
This type of DVD is good for...
Fans of black/white monster B-movies.
I especially liked...
It is a big bug movie!
When I finished viewing this DVD I wanted to...
Watch Mothra! Or one of the other similar themed movies.
The cast of this DVD...
includes Jim Davis, who went onto star in Dallas.
Interested in buying this? Support Writing.Com by making your purchase of Monster From Green Hell from Amazon.Com!
Created Jul 09, 2021 at 8:05pm • Submit your own review...