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The Hideous Sun Demon (1959); Combined thread
Topic Started: Jul 21 2007, 05:40 AM (78 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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The Hideous Sun Demon (1959) Dir. Robert Clarke

Pacific International Enterprises
74 min. / B&W / 1.85:1

ITB Strange Science Cinema #148

A famous atomic scientist accidentally drops an isotope (whoops!) and is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation that oddly enough doesn't kill him - but when he's exposed to sunlight, he turns into a scaly, horrifying lizard man with big, huge teeth and a bad attitude. Unable to find love with either his female colleague or a saloon floozy with a huge chest, he begins to mope around in dark basements but darn it, cops keep arresting him and dragging him into the sun.

Another very cheap, very enjoyable programmer from the late 1950s. Robert Clarke (who'd been in The Man from Planet X) had just made The Astounding She-Monster and figured if anybody could make money from a movie as cheap and awful as THAT, why, if he lavished a little attention and care on a movie, he could do okay. He went to USC and took a screenwriter's class, met a bunch of film students, and got them to help him out (for free, no doubt). In the end, he turned down what he considered an insulting offer from American-International to distribute the film, went with some small company that went bankrupt, and saw no money from the project at all, a lesson of caution (or something).

I always figured that the film (from a story by Clarke) was a play on The Wolf Man - a pathetic guy turns into a monster in sunlight instead of moonlight - but Clarke told Tom Weaver (who's written a whole book on this thing!) no, it was inspired by the Fredric March version of Jekyll and Hyde. Frankly, Clarke looks uncomfortable and hot in his creature suit, which covers much of his body in big, plastic-looking scales while his face looks like Martin Scorsese with a mudpack. He spends much of his time (when he's not the Sun Demon) in a bar trying to pick up some blonde floozy with very impressive boobs who plays the piano. No, no, her boobs don't play the piano, you big silly. The floozy does, by sitting behind the piano and flailing her hands wildly in the general direction of the keys while warbling "Love Theme from the Hideous Sun Demon". It's hilarious, and the scenes belong in the Bad Movie Hall of Fame. Apparently, they couldn't afford proper sound equipment or dubbing, because much of the film sounds as if the people were speaking to each other in the back of a big, empty 18-wheeler. And watch for the scene with the Sun Demon and the rat -- classic! In fact, there are 2 or 3 definite shock scenes in the film that work very well, and it's interesting as a change to see a daylight monster in a cheap horror film.

Million-dollar Dialog:

Supportive female colleague: "Dr. Hoffman's been studying radiation poisoning for a long time. He's been able to cure LOTS of people!"

The Hideous Sun Demon was released by Image on DVD way back in 2000. Good print but it's presented unmatted - blow it up on your TV and all that space over everyone's head will disappear.

Also on the Program

For the kiddies, a trio of Paramount cartoons, including Baby Huey manhandling that fox again in Party Smarty (1951), a bank-robber tries to kill an elephant (it's complicated) in Mike the Masquerader (1959), and Buzzy the Crow hurts Katnip a lot in Better Bait than Never (1953). We enjoyed trailers for upcoming feature films The Cosmic Man and First Man into Space and our next serial, Blackhawk! Woo-hoo! Oh, and that reminds me - we did see the final episode of The Shadow today, too. A fine, fine serial.
Edited by Laughing Gravy, Dec 2 2017, 08:21 PM.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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The Batman
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Who is it available from, LG?
Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
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Laughing Gravy
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Image Entertainment
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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The Batman
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Thank you, sir.
Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
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AndyFish
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I really liked this one, it reminded me a bit of MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS.
I love the scene where he takes the floozy to the beach in the middle of the night, they get crazy and then when he comes to in the morning he realizes that falling asleep on the beach was probably a bad idea since the SUN tends to rise-- so he jumps up and takes off -- leaving her there without any clothes.

THEN, following an afternoon sleeping away his troubles he stumbles into the same bar and is suprised when she's upset -- and best of all some of her goon friends decide to work him over in a fight scene that was choreographed by (I think) Jim Henson's muppets. I've seen harder punches thrown at pre-K recess.

Fun way to spend an hour or so. But it made me wonder, did audiences in the fifties go to these horror films expecting the same basic plot of all these films? Or were they too busy ducking under the seats during air raid drills to notice?
Andy
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Laughing Gravy
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I saw these films in theatres during re-releases in the mid-1960s; although we had air raid drills in school, we never had one during a movie. And scenes of brutality always shocked us, 'cause we didn't see them that much. Not only the scene in which the Sun Demon picks up the rat and squeezes it in his bare claw, but another scene I remembered well for many years, the scene in which a deputy takes an axe in the face in Monster on the Campus. I also remembered the demon coming through the trees in Curse of the Demon. To us kids at the time, they weren't cheezy movies or stupid movies or films to be made fun of; Attack of the Puppet People and Earth vs. the Spider, just to name two films I saw back in the day, were solid entertainment with genuine suspense and scares. And how we loved to look at the posters and stills that adorned the outside of the theatre! Oddly enough, if there were lobby cards, I don't remember seeing any. Just posters and stills.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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LaneCarson
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This wonderful cult sci-fi film was written, produced and directed by leading man Robert Clarke.
Clarke was no stranger to cult sci-fi: he had starred in two of the most important works of the legendary director, Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man From Planet X (1951) & Beyond the Time Barrier (1960)
The above mentioned Ulmer films were briefly discussed in the Westerns section under the Edward G. Ulmer "out West" thread (in reference to The Naked Dawn)
Trev
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Don Diego
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There was also a redubbed parody of this film. Image released the two of them together a while back.
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LaneCarson
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Of course the parody must be dismissed outright
But one wonders why Clarke (apparently) assisted with the (spoof) project
Does one come to a point where one parodies one's own achievements?
Apparently back in 1959, the film was a true labour of love:
"Stated in his biography that the horror movie he produced/directed/wrote was made for less than $50,000, including $500 for the rubberized lizard suit he wore. He shot the movie over 12 weekends to get two days' use of rental camera equipment for one day's fee" (IMDB)
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Laughing Gravy
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I rewatched this and rewrote the review to show off how much better I've gotten at this sort of thing. *cough cough*

I have the parody and maybe I'll watch it someday.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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