Write the text of your article here! ===CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS (1962)/WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS (1965) Directors: Wesley Barry, Anthony Dawson (Antonio Margheriti) Dark Sky Films/MPI=== War Between the Planets (1966)

Scientists discover an unknown planet that's on route to collide with Earth -- unless they can do something to stop it.Similar to Marvel Comics Egos,the Living Planet concept

Dark Sky Films continues to fill a Midnite Movies release void with their “Drive-In Double Feature” series. This second entry contains two 1960s science fiction efforts (one from Italy and one from the good ol’ U.S.) of questionable artistic merit and entertainment value, but as presented on DVD with impressively sharp transfers, they certainly make for some eye-catching oddities.

Also known as PLANET ON THE PROWL, the plot of WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS (actually the first film on the disc, but billed secondary) involves a futuristic Earth, plagued by floods and earthquakes caused by the close proximity of a small uninhabited planet which it's on the verge of colliding with. A number of Earth’s cities have been destroyed, so a spaceship occupied by top scientists and researchers is on a mission to do something about it. After assorted bickering, fist fighting, smooching and weeping over the loss of relatives back home, a handful of astronauts veer off to investigate the strange planet, which appears to consist of red molten gelatin and an array of plastic tubing.

WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS is part of a quartet of mid 1960s space operas directed by Antonio Margheriti (under his Anthony Dawson nom de plume) which also included THE WILD, WILD PLANET, WAR OF THE PLANETS and THE SNOW DEVILS. Unfortunately, it’s one of the duller ones of the bunch, and proves to be a tolerance test to sit through. Rehashing costumes, props and stock shots from the previous “Gamma I” entries, the film’s main problem is way too much talk, and the only form of monstrous menace are some giant-scaled veins (which ooze red puss when severed) which actors wrap around them an pretend to be assaulted by. The special effects are ambitious but tacky, especially when the spacemen are seen hovering in mid air with all too visible wires in check, with G.I. Joe dolls substituting for them in long shots, or for the purpose of being submerged in a pool of gelatin muck. Like Margheriti, most of the cast uses Americanized names, including Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as “Jack Stuart” (also billed this way for THE SNOW DEVILS), Ombretta Colli as “Amber Collins,” Pietro Martellanza as “Peter Martell” and Goffredo Unger as “Freddy Unger.” The film wasn’t released here theatrically until 1971 by Joe Solomon’s Fanfare Films, where it mostly played on a kiddie matinee with SUPERARGO AND THE FACELESS GIANTS.

In CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS, World War III brings on atomic devastation to Earth, and an abundance of bald, green-skinned intelligent robots (they call them “clickers”) are created in a otherwise mostly sterile human population. In the midst of a possible humanoid conspiracy, clicker-hating Cragis (Don Megowan, the title monster in THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US), a high-ranking officer in “The Order of Flesh and Blood,” wants to have them destroyed after a very human looking prototype kills Dr. Raven (Don Doolittle), the professor who created it. Cragis attempts to convince his fellow Order members about the dangers that these creations could have on mankind, and then learns that his sister (Frances McCann) is now romantically involved with one of them. Cragis too finds love with Maxine (Erica Elliott), but immediately afterwards, some dark secrets are revealed about himself and those around him.

They don’t come any cheaper and shoddier than the must-see-to-believe CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS, with its cardboard sets, and leftover costumes and props (including an altered robot suit from EARTH VS. THE FLYING THE SAUCERS). Former silent film actor Wesley Barry is probably the most lackluster director of all time, as the film has no action to speak of and only changes set locations several times within the course of its running time. The acting is also stale as a month-old loaf of Wonder bread, and Dudley Manlove (star of PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE for heaven’s sake!) plays one of the constantly chatty clickers. But underneath the dime-store exterior lies an intelligent, thought-provoking sci-fi script by Jay Simms (THE RESURRECTION OF ZACHARY WHEELER), and even with the dialogue (and the film is entirely made up of talk) as delivered by a Z level ensemble coming off sappy at times, there’s some very witty ideas at hand, which seem to have inspired a handful of future fantasy movies. Apparently, this was enough to garnish a number of fans, including pop artist Andy Warhol who supposedly called this his favorite film! It’s also interesting to note that legendary Universal Studios monster maker, Jack Pierce, conceived the humanoid make-ups, in what was to be one of the final additions to his long line of credits.

Dark Sky Films presents both WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS and CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS in their original 1.85:1 aspect ratios with anamorphic enhancement. The framing on both films looks dead on, and both are blessed with spectacular colors that make for true visual feasts. Picture definition on both is excellent, with grain and print blemishes pretty much being nonexistent. Perfectly fine mono English tracks are included, and even though WAR was an Italian production, the actors seem to mostly be speaking their lines in English, albeit post-synced. Optional English subtitles are also included.

This “Drive-In Double Feature” can be watched as one big dual show with vintage intermission ads and trailers, and the films can also be viewed separately, by themselves. The four trailers included here promote other Dark Sky releases: FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER, THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH, THE FLESH EATERS and DOG EAT DOG. (George R. Reis)


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