Vitascope Donation Box

The Liberty Church Arts Fellowship (LCAF) is a fund that pays for a number if artistic entertainment venues each year.  Among them is a professional grade short film.  Last year I was privileged to work on the crew of that film (Special Election) and enjoyed the experience.  Special Election won an Excellence Award at the Faith Based Film Festival in Atlanta Georgia last month.

The annual banquet and auction which is the main fundraiser for the LCAF is coming up and Marie came up with a clever idea for a donation box, themed to the short film project.

We presented it to church Pastor and film Producer today and we was quite taken with it.

Want to know more about the LCAF film project?

Movie Review: Them!

Click to buy

This week’s Classic Sci-Fi Movie selection was another great example of the 1950’s creature features, except this one stands head & shoulder above its brethren.  Movies like Beginning of the End, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Monster From Green Hell, The Giant Gila Monster prove entertaining  in a “so bad they’re good” fashion.  But, despite its Saturday Matinee style title, Them! delivers a crisp and witty script, high quality performances from the actors and some decent special effects – considering that this film was made in 1954. Continue reading “Movie Review: Them!”

Movie Review: Strange World of Planet X

Strange World of Planet XWe watched a movie called The Strange World of Planet X as our Sci-fi Friday movie, which toured theaters under the title The Cosmic Monsters.  It was quite interesting and a refreshing twist on an old theme.

Here we have a group of scientists doing experiments with intense magnetic fields.  The lead scientist is brilliant, dogmatic and a bit mad.  They are funded by the military which hopes to weaponize their research. The happy little crew is stirred a bit with the addition of a new computer operator, who turns out to be an attractive (and smart) young woman.

Of course it all goes awry and ends up creating giant bugs which begin killing people.  Flying saucers have also been sighted and are blamed for the killer bugs and the atmospheric disturbances.  But in fact, the UFOs are there to help.  I’ll leave it there so I don’t spoil it for you should you want to watch it for yourself.

Internet Movie Data Base ( rates it at 5 of 10 stars with 424 ratings and has this to say:

A friendly visitor from outer space warns against conducting experiments with the Earth’s magnetic field, that could mutate insects into giant monsters.

Director: Gilbert Gunn

Writers: René Ray (novel),  Paul Ryder (screenplay)

Stars: Forrest Tucker, Gaby André, Martin Benson | See full cast and crew »


At a small, rural British lab, monomaniac Dr. Laird and his staff create ultra-intense magnetic fields. Inexplicably, the apparatus seems to be affecting distant objects, and to be drawing “extra power” from…somewhere. One night, after a “freak” storm, strange and deadly things start happening in Bryerly Woods, and a strange man from “a long way off” appears in the district…concerned about Laird’s pulling down disaster from the skies. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Movie Review: Them!

This week’s Classic Sci-Fi Movie selection was another great example of the 1950’s creature features, except this one stands head & shoulder above its brethren.  Movies like Beginning of the End, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Monster From Green Hell, The Giant Gila Monster prove entertaining in a “so bad they’re good” fashion.  But, despite its Saturday Matinee style title, Them! delivers a crisp and witty script, high quality performances from the actors and some decent special effects – considering that this film was made in 1954.

The premise involves ants in an A bomb testing area that have mutated over the years from the residual radiation to become enormous.  When they begin attacking people on the fringes of this desert area the State Police are baffled by the carnage of what they assume is a homicidal maniac.  A cast of an odd imprint at one scene is sent to the FBI, the FBI in turn sends a pair of scientists to assist in the investigation.  This father-daughter PHD team identify the marauders as giant ants and we’re off on a thrill ride that involves an attempt to exterminate the nest then chasing rogue queen ants across the country in attempt to prevent them from establishing more colonies, producing more queens and threatening humankind as the dominant species on planet Earth.

The stereotypical ‘absorbed scientist’ (Edmund Gwenn) injects wit into several scenes.  And of course the pretty daughter scientist (Joan Weldon) provides some love-interest for the FBI man (James Arness).  There is a climactic battle scene, and a satisfyingly happy ending culminating with the elder Dr. Medford’s warning that as man moves onto the atomic age, he may well encounter more unknowns.  This may not be over.

As would be expected of a vintage movie, there is no excessive gore, no profanity, nudity or sexual situations that would make it unsuitable for viewing with the whole family.  There are a few scenes where, faced with a tense situation, the characters light cigarettes.

For more information, check out the Internet Movie Database listing for Them!  To watch the movie, you can rent it from Amazon as an Instant Download or buy it on DVD. Either way it’s a great choice for some Saturday afternoon Sci-Fi fun.

Originally published Jan 21, 2012  on CinemaRoll.

Review: The Thing from Another World

thing from another worldThis week’s Schlocky Sci-Fi Friday Movie is one of our favorites; a timeless classic of alien monster invasion.

Arctic researchers witness the crash of a flying object and call in the Air Force.  When they investigate the crash site they find what they believe to be a flying saucer embedded in the ice and retrieve a large humanoid alien who had been tossed clear but also trapped in the ice.  Assuming the creature to be dead, they return to their base with it.  But, of course, it is far from being dead.

At their base the creature revives and goes on a rampage.  The lead scientist is determined to communicate with the alien and bucks the military authority.  The situation gets out of control and several members of the party pay for it with their lives.  The thing from another world, then sets about accomplishing what was (apparently) its ghastly mission.  Some of the scientists seem determined to help. Continue reading “Review: The Thing from Another World”

Movie Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of those movies that leaps immediately to mind when one thinks of great classic sci-fi.  Naturally, modern movie makers must try to better it with a remake.  Here I will compare the original and the remake of this particular sci-fi standard.

The Original

The Day the Earth Stood StillThe original, made in 1951 starring Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Lock Martin, and Frances Bavier, has become more than a classic: it has become an icon of classic Sci-fi.  This is a bit odd because the movie does not contain any of the usual hallmarks of early Sci-Fi: no massive explosions, no creepy monsters, no flying saucers whizzing around destroying things.  This film made its mark because of superior writing and some truly memorable performances by the cast.

To be clear, there is a flying saucer; but it lands on a park in Washington DC and stays there (in a very non-threatening manner) throughout the movie until its departure at the end.  There is a fairly fearsome robot that could be considered the “monster” of the film except it does not go on a rampage; its role is purely defensive.  And there is an alien, but he’s not some tentacled monster with eight eyes.  In fact, once he gets out of his space suit he is able to walk around the city unnoticed because he looks so human.  Continue reading “Movie Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still”

Alien Trespass

alien trespass, movie reviewAs part of our Simple Life formula, Marie and I have a few standing traditions that help us appreciate one another and enjoy life.  One such is Schlocky Sci-Fi Friday.

Every Friday evening Marie fixes Chinese food and we curl up together on the sofa with our tray tables to eat the Chinese food and watch an old B grade (we prefer the term ‘Classic” ) science fiction movie.   Movies from the 1950’s and 1960’s and in black and white are preferred.  Among our all-time favorites are such classics as The Day the Earth Stood Still, Destination Moon and Rocketship XM but we have a large collection of movies on DVD and VHS, the majority of them Sci-Fi.  Another “classic” joined the file last night.  (No spoilers here)

Continue reading “Alien Trespass”

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of TomorrowThis American pulp adventure, dieselpunk film starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Givanni Ribisi, written and directed by Kerry Conran is his directorial debut.  The action is fast, the dialogue terse and witty, and the characters are larger than life.  The script is very well written and of course, with this cast, the acting is excellent.

Jude Law is the almost superhero, millionaire, mercenary aviator Joseph “Sky Captain” Sullivan who is called upon to save New York City when it comes under attack by giant robots.  Giovanni Ribishi is his brainy scientist/inventor side-kick, Dex.  Gwyneth Paltrow is the old-flame and spunky newspaper reporter, Polly Perkins, who gets pulled back into Joe’s life when she is contacted by a German scientist who is fleeing a mad genius named Totenkoph (Lawrence Olivier) who is bent on destroying the world.  He gives her information vital to Joe and Dex’s quest to find out where the robots came from and what they are after.

Continue reading “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”

Movie Review: Final Days of Planet Earth

Final Days of Planet EarthFinal Days of Planet Earth, starring Daryl Hannah, Campbell Scott, Gil Bellows, Suleka Mathew, and Serge Houde  is a two-part movie that runs 170 minutes all total, a bit long for most family movie nights, but great for wiling away a rainy afternoon.  The movie is unrated, but I would consider it to be family friendly: no excessive profanity, no nudity or overly gory scenes.  So, pop up a big bowl of popcorn and settle in with the whole clan.

A mining mission to the moon returns with some unplanned passengers.  These aliens reach Earth and set about their plans to subdue humanity and use them for their own ends.  I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I won’t go into too much detail on that.  Continue reading “Movie Review: Final Days of Planet Earth”

Movie Review: The Green Slime

the green slimeThe Green Slime is a campy 1968 Sci-Fi flick written by Ivan Reiner (story), Bill Finger, Tom Rowe and Charles Sinclair  (screenplay), directed by Kinji Fukasaku, and starring Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, and Richard Jaeckel (See full cast and crew).

Green Slime: The Premise

A large asteroid threatens collision with the Earth.  Commander Jack Rankin is sent up from earth to an orbital platform to take command of a spacecraft and crew who will attempt to destroy the asteroid with nuclear charges.  For some inexplicable reason, Rankin is also taking command of the orbital platform, currently under the command of Cmdr. Vince Elliot.  Of course these men have a history.  Part of that history is Dr. Liza Benson, who serves aboard the platform with Commander Elliot.

The ball of space rock threatening Earth is infested by globs of green goo that interfere with the mission by disabling equipment.  The spaceship must attempt to outrun the nuclear blast by accelerating beyond its designed capacity.  The mission to the asteroid is successful in blowing up the asteroid, the ship and crew survive, but a miniscule glob of the green goo hitches a ride along in a fold of a crew member’s space suit.

Continue reading “Movie Review: The Green Slime”