THE ANGRY RED PLANET Martian monster mayhem
released 4 July 1959 | PG | Dvd Director Ib Melchior Cast Gerald Mohr, Nora Hayden, les Tremayne, Jack Kruschen
Mars movies were much more fun before scientific plausibility was a concern. Which would you rather watch: a man growing spuds in his own poo, or astronauts legging it from rampaging monsters?
The bonkers bestiary is the main reason to watch this: a giant Venus flytrap; a 40-foot high rat/bat/spider mash-up; the gigantic amoeba, topped with a single constantly rotating eye, whose touch leaves you with a bad case of Swarfegaarm. Another is the decision to shoot the Mars surface scenes with a lurid red tint using a process called Cinemagic, designed to make the liveaction better match background drawings of Martian cityscape and jungle by Hanna-Barbera/ comics artist Alex Toth. The results are quite trippy.
Shame about the dreary bookending sequences, where traumatised biologist/perving target Iris recounts the journey. But thanks to some corny characterisation – especially that of the mission Commander, who spends half his time doing that “proprietorial hand on the wall” thing with Iris, shirt gaping open for a mating display of chest hair – even these have their amusements.
For the Cinemagic sequences, the cast wore white clown make-up, with black lips and black make-up in their nostrils.
The spray tanning machine went crazy.