Monday, February 4, 2013
The Cyclops (1957)
I've written it before, but Bert I. Gordon is one of my favorite genre directors EVER. I might have been treated badly by the losers at Mystery Science Theater 3000 and laughed at by serious critics, but they can - as you all know - go and fuck themselves hard with a broomstick (no lube!). What's his strength then? Well, he's one of the few that only make movies as entertainment. He doesn't even pretend to put some message in or any deeper meanings. He's a 12 year old boy in a grown mans body, enjoying monsters and special effects, handsome leading men, adorable actresses and action.
His daughter, Susan (who very sadly passed away in 2011) claimed Bert was the best father a daughter could have. And he seems very nice. I bought his charming autobiography (and got it signed to!) and it tells the story of a man who's as interested in making money as making fun movies. That gave his movies a lot of heart and passion.
The Cyclops is a very simple monster movie. A couple of years ago an airplane disappeared over
and now, finally, the girlfriend, Susan Winter (Gloria Talbott) of one of the victims
arranges one final expedition to find the airplane and (probably) the bodies. They
land in a remote valley and finds themselves in the middle of a world with
giant animals - and also a hideous Cyclops, probably Susan's boyfriend in a
mutated state! Will the ever get away from the valley of the Cyclops, or will
they stay there and... DIE?! Mexico
That last sentence is a as silly as the movie itself, but like most films by Mr BIG, this is also one helluva entertaining romp that clocks into just over one hour. That means there's hardly any time for silly romance or unnecessary storylines, just big animals and danger around every damn corner.
The Cyclops (he's not a real Cyclops, because obviously he lost one of his eyes in the airplane accident and then mutated a little bit more to make the other one huge!) is very cool, very impressive make-up work by the legendary Jack H. Young, still today very good and imaginative. But what to expect from a man who worked on movies like
Apocalypse Now, The Brood, Walking Tall and Wizard of Oz?
It's still not Mr BIG's best movie, but here he's starting to find his form of storytelling. He perfected the art of monster movies the years after, cheaper and grittier than most other similar movies of the time, but judging by how famous they still are - for different reasons - I guess he came out like the winner. Hardly anyone talks about Tarantula and Them nowadays, (good movies, no doubt about it), but it's the insanity of Bert I. Gordon's films that comes to mind when good old monster flicks is brought up in discussions.