“No! You’re dead! I had you buried!”
You know how you felt a little sick when you found out what really happened to Rita in Sidehackers? The real start of The Unearthly is like that. A light turns on in a matte painting and there’s Tor Johnson, strangling some blonde. That must have stuck with Coleman Francis, with the implication of Javorsky killing the shower woman at the start of Beast of Yucca Flats. I have a feeling I’m in for more than a few shocks like that during this project.
This is sort of my back door way of mentioning the man responsible for my love of the B’s–Mr. Edward D Wood Jr—without actually watching one of his films (saving those few for later). I’ve maintained for decades that Ed Wood actually had a decent idea or two, but the insistence of only his vision undermined everything. Really, if you strip down Plan 9, you have the frame work for an X-Files story, not one of the worst movies ever.
And this a movie that provides evidence to my argument. The Unearthly is based on characters created by Ed Wood. In the hands of writer John D. F. Black (who Star Trek fans should know) and others with more talent than Wood’s circle (John Carradine, the 50 foot woman, Miss America 1946 and Playmate of the Month for February 1957!), suddenly you have the makings of a passable thriller/mystery/sci-fi/horror movie. If you kick Tor Johnson out of there and I doubt you have any reason to put this on MST3K. Tor Johnson, sticking out like a sore thumb is the only “Ed Wood” thing in this movie. Thank you Ed Wood for being so stubborn, without that, your movies would all be like The Unearthly.
With around 250 films, it is a little shocking we don’t see more of Carradine on MST3K. I would nominate Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, The Incredible Petrified World or Hillbillys in a Haunted House with Ferlin Husky as missed rifftunaties.
I wonder if Mark Houston is related to Saul Houston.
I guess the SOL crew decided the lesson on glands and the endocrine system wasn’t funny. So many plot points cut for time: Lobo is a failed experiment of the Doctor, Lenny Bruce doesn’t want to eat and Natalie ate drugged pudding or something.
Allison Hayes, the brunette depressive, has 3 MST3K movies under her belt, this one, Gunslinger and The Crawling Hand.
Watchablity: 2 of 5
I like to do theme nights with movies. This works for Carradine, Tor Johnson, Ed Wood and Ms. Hayes. But I don’t think I would do it as a stand-alone again. Was a little off put by the murder at the start, just because as many times as I’ve seen the episode, that was much unexpected.
Missing the Riffs: 4 of 5
This is a personal favorite episodes, a key part of any “Lobo” night I want to have. There were points that I was recalling favorite riffs, but for the most part I didn’t notice they were gone. I was pleasantly surprised by that occurrence.