Saturday, April 26, 2014

THE NAVY VS. THE NIGHT MONSTERS (1966) movie review

Navy vs. the Night Monsters, The (1966) d. Michael A. Hoey (USA)

From the frozen wastelands of Antarctica comes a tale of botanical terrors inspired equally by The Thing from Another World, The Day of the Triffids, and The Quatermass Xperiment. Unfortunately, this cheapjack adaptation of Murray Leinster’s novel The Monster from Earth’s End is a clunker from start to interminable finish, filled with gratingly unfunny comic interludes, slipshod stock footage, lazy screenwriting, and audaciously clumsy tree creatures that don’t even have the generosity to have a permanent “mean face” stamped onto them like From Hell It Came’s Tabonga monster.

What is that?  I have no idea either.

Mamie Van Doren, best known for her pneumatic charms in drive-in classics like High School Confidential and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, headlines as the resident nurse on a Navy base where a plane carrying recent flora/fauna samples crash lands, depositing seeds of destruction for all inhabitants on the island...and maybe the WORLD. Anthony Eisley, Billy Gray, Bobby Van, and Edward Faulkner co-star.

Completely gratuitous Van Doren cheesecake shot. Because I deserve it.

Writer/director Hoey, son of stalwart Brit character man Dennis Hoey, complained bitterly (and publicly) about post-production interference from executive producer Jack Broder, who padded the already talky script with 12 additional minutes in order to achieve the 90-minute feature he’d been contracted to deliver as well as the hokey creature feature title. (Hoey wanted to call it "Nightcrawlers.") While I respect Broder’s businessman obligations, shorter could have only been better in this case. That, and less silly looking (or more, for that matter) bark-covered beasts. An uncredited Roger Corman served as producer alongside George Edwards (Queen of Blood, Frogs), and Wyatt Ordung, screenwriter of 1953’s infamous Robot Monster, does time as assistant director.

For a hilarious in-depth look at this slumber-inducing groaner, check out Ken Begg’s exhaustively comprehensive Jabootu write-up HERE.  100% more entertaining than the film itself or your money back.

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