I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before on the SDMB, but one of the films from my childhood was Angry red Planet, a film about a trip to Mars produced by Moe Howard’s son-in-law*. It’s low budget, but an interesting flick with much more believable characters than you’d expect, including as the main character a woman who, although embarassing by current standards, wasn’t a complete ditz. They shot the Mars sequences in oversolarized film tinted red, a process called “Cinemagic”. The low-budget efects were done with minatures, rod puppets, and the like.
The climax of the film comes when they try to cross a lake (!!) to see a Martian city, and are attacked by a giant amoeba, which ends up digesting one crew member and almost getrting the arm of the Handsome Male Lead. They manage to get him away, though, tearing off a hunk of Space Amoeba in the process. They blast off, and, en route, find that the alien protoplasm is still alive, and trying to eat The Hunk’s arm, Blob-like.
The solution to saving The Hunk’s arm is ingenious and sounds as if it might actually work, if Space Amoebas existed and were a real hazard. It’s in the best tradition of written SF, and it makes you wonder what the hell it’s doing in a movie this cheap. I suspect that, like a lot of good SF, they found the basic idea in some article and adapted it to the SF premise. The cherry on top is that it’s the female lead who suggests and implements the cure. Take that, stereotypes!
The idea is that the ameoba likes eating The Hunk’s arm, so to get it off you have to persuade it that the arm isn’t hospitable, while offering it an attractive alternative. Carrot AND stick. So they start applying mild electric shocks to the arm, while placing some nice juicy, non-electrical tissue nearby. The Space Ameoba fragment decides that it doesn’t like this annoying arm anymore, and that this non-stinging tissue nearby is tasty, so it migrates off of the Hero and onto the Meat Snack.
Problem solved, and without gobbledegook made-up mumbo-jumbbo (“We used Solution X-0 and that gpt it all off!”) or Blob-like miraculous invulnerability (“It took everythin we could throw at it, but it didn’t give an ijnch! In fact, I think it’s BIGGER!”) leading to Gross Horror (“We can’t find capytain Square-Jaw anywhere! And I SWEAR that thing’s ten times the size it was!”)
Instead, extrapolation and scientific thinking and problem solving. What was THAT doing in a hackneyed film like this? It makes it worth watching.
*Yes, THAT Moe Howard, “leader” of The Three Stooges. Maurer had been drazwing the Stooges for the comic books in the 1950s and married Moe’s daughter. He was laterthe Stooges’ manager, and was instrumental in getting the Stooges into movies after the Columbia shorts stopped getting made, which, together with the showing of the shorts on TV, revived their career.