THe in­CreD­i­BLe sHrinK­ing man

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SFX - - Reviews - Nick Setch­field

re­leased 13 NOVeM­Ber 1957 | PG | Blu-ray

Di­rec­tor Jack arnold Cast Grant Williams, randy stu­art, april Kent, Paul lang­ton

Blu-Ray de­But An omi­nous white cloud swells be­hind the ti­tle cred­its of The In­cred­i­ble Shrink­ing Man. It’s there on the hori­zon as this “strange, al­most un­be­liev­able story” be­gins, far out to sea but mov­ing at speed, Atomic Age fear made tan­gi­ble for all its bil­low­ing, spec­tral in­sub­stan­tial­ity. This is a Uni­ver­sal hor­ror but the old hor­rors are gone, en­tombed in the time be­fore Op­pen­heimer’s cal­cu­la­tions. Sci­ence – capri­cious, amoral – is the new, in­fin­itely more ter­ri­fy­ing mon­ster.

Adapted by genre king Richard Math­e­son from his own novel, this is a film that sweats a uniquely ’50s para­noia. The car­ni­val-tent ti­tle sells the high con­cept: that mys­te­ri­ous cloud de­liv­ers a “deadly chem­i­cal re­ver­sal of the growth process” on every­man pro­tag­o­nist Scott Carey. Soon our down­sized hero is bat­tling for sur­vival in “a base­ment uni­verse”, wield­ing a nee­dle against a spi­der.

The ef­fects still im­press, an in­ven­tive blend of split-screen, trick an­gles and over­sized props. But it’s the doomy, ex­is­ten­tial tone that makes this a clas­sic. Lit­er­ally los­ing sta­tus in a post-war land of plenty, the Shrink­ing Man be­comes so small he slips through the cracks of the Amer­i­can Dream it­self.

Ex­tras An eru­dite, in­formed au­dio com­men­tary by fan­tasy film his­to­rian Tim Lu­cas; “Au­teur On The Cam­pus: Jack Arnold At Uni­ver­sal”: an ex­tended, well­re­searched doc­u­men­tary; “There Is No Zero: Writ­ing The Shrink­ing Man”: an in-depth con­ver­sa­tion with Richard Chris­tian Math­e­son, son of the writer; a Su­per 8 ver­sion: yes, re­live Arnold’s mas­ter­piece in liv­ing-room-o-vi­sion; trailer and teaser trailer.

Math­e­son wrote an un­made se­quel called The Fan­tas­tic Shrink­ing Girl, with Carey’s wife go­ing on a res­cue mis­sion.

Some­times a glass and some pa­per just won’t do.

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