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Old 08-14-2019, 07:42 AM
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CalMeacham is offline
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I haven't read the entire thread, so forgive any repetitions (although some are intentional). I've seen several films listed here. Some are weird, but I can't say I love them. Others aren't at all obscure (seriously -- Seven Samurai?). But here's a list of some obscure flicks I like:

The Adventures of Mark Twain -- Will Vinton's only feature-length film in Claymation, and a treat for Twain lovers. It adapts parts of a lot of Twain stories, including obscure ones.

Creation of the Humanoids -- 1960s low-budget science fiction film with some truly awful acting, but very interesting ideas and writing. Definitely worth a look.

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera and its sequel The Lost Skeleton Returns Again. Not really that obscure, I think. But I can name which movies they're spoofing at which point

Kronos -- 1950s science fiction film about a giant robot that invades the earth. Clearly a big influence on Brad Bird, who used bits of it in The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. The story is mind-numbingly dumb, but the special effects, by much of the same team that did Forbidden Planet, is mind-blowing. You wouldn't believe that a plain cubical shape could be made so visually interesting. Too bad it's only in black and white.

Atomic Submarine -- another 1950s SF flick, about the first nuclear sub fighting invading aliens underwater. How is this film not better known? More effects work from the Forbidden Planet team.

Panic in the Year Zero -- 1960s film. The Russkies (not named, but we know it's them) blow up LA with an atomic bomb, and probably other places. Ray Milland and his family are fortuitously out of town, and have to survive amidst the chaos and rioting. Surprisingly well-made drama. How do you cross a line of traffic refugees fleeing the city when NOBODY wants to let you cross?

Operation Moonbase -- Heinlein wrote the scripts for a 1950s TV series that never made TV, but they mashed together what they had into a movie (which Heinlein hated). There are alternating moments of really good and understated science fiction and extrapolation mixed in with things that make you simply cringe. A weird roller coater ride. It features cordless telephones, the casual use of zero-G, the first astronaut (who is a woman), and a female president of the US. But the way it treats its female characters will make you want to rip your eyes out. Or tear up your monitor.

Angry Red Planet -- interesting trip-to-Mars film with a bullet-shaped spaceship. All the scenes on Mars were filmed in "Cinemagic" (which seems to be extremely solarizing of the film, followed by printing onto red stock). It certainly gives the Mars scenes a different and (dare I say it) "otherworldly" feel. Directed by Moe Howard's (of The Three Stooges) son-in-law, who was actually a pretty talented individual. The film also features the most unexpected and scientifically believable solution to a puzzle that still blows me away. Featuring a female astronaut who screams way too much (but actually does things), a woman-eating plant, a bat-rat-spider, a giant Space Amoeba that ingests one of the crew (and has a giant rotating eye), and a suitably weird-looking Martian. Also, a long-shot of a Martian city.

Seventh Voyage of Sinbad -- not really obscure, but one of the first fantasy films I saw in the theater. Excellent special effects and animation, and Bernard Herrmann's score is superb. I didn't notice when I first saw it that Sinbad's ship changes from shot to shot from an Arabian dhow with lateen sail to an 18th century European square-rigged three-masted sailing ship. The first appearance of Harryhausen's fighting skeletons. It also has not one but two Cyclops and a Fire-Breathing Dragon, among other animated delights. The four-armed rubber-limbed dancing snake girl is wonderful.

Jack the Giant Killer -- Producer Edward Small (who did the most successful version of Last of the Mohicans, Witness for the Prosecution, and other films) decided he wanted to copy Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, so he hired the same actors who played the hero and the villain (Kerwin Matthwes and Torin Thatcher, respectively) and the same screenwriter (Nathan Juran, who also directed), but skimped in getting Jim Danforth instead of Ray Harryhausen to do the effects. The animation isn't as good, but the film is entertaining, if more puerile. There's a dragon in this one, too, but his face makes him look less threatening than Harryhausen's -- he looks more like an angry puppy dog. Apparently they later added music and turned it into a musical, something I;'m glad I've never seen. Worth a look.
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Last edited by CalMeacham; 08-14-2019 at 07:43 AM.