The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection, Volumes 1 & 2 (Universal) Rating: NNN; DVD package: n/a
The Incredible Shrinking Man (Universal, 1957) D: Jack Arnold, w/ Grant Williams, Randy Stuart. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: n/a
Dr. Cyclops (Universal, 1940) D: Ernest B. Schoedesack, w/ Albert Dekker, Thomas Coley. Rating: NNN; DVD package: n/a
The big prize in this box of cheese corn is The Incredible Shrinking Man, a classic 50s sci-fi effort equal to Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in original story, coherent metaphor, emotional engagement, strong suspense, okay acting and good effects. Plus, it’s got the coolest giant spider battle ever put on film.
Ordinary guy Scott Carey (Grant Williams) gets a dose of radiation and pesticide and starts to shrink. Alienation, anger, depression and an affair with a midget ensue until he gets trapped in the cellar and life gets really bad. Richard Matheson, scripting from his own novel, and B movie veteran Jack Arnold (he directed Creature From The Black Lagoon) give the material a straightforward, serious treatment that makes it work on all levels.
Catch this before the threatened Eddie Murphy remake pollutes the whole idea.
Rich, cheesy goodness suffuses every frame of Dr. Cyclops. It’s loads of fun thanks to energetic direction and performances, solid miniature work and Albert Dekker’s hulking presence as the titular mad scientist, busily shrinking visitors to his jungle lab. The technicolor print looks a little faded on normal settings, but jack up the colour intensity on your TV and it springs to life.
Cheaper cheese permeates the rest of the movies in this 10-disc set, but worthwhile elements pop up here and there. Check out The Monolith Monsters’ nifty creature, or the prehistoric valley in The Land Unknown.
For genre fans, the box is a bargain at $48.29 on amazon.ca.
EXTRAS All titles: theatrical aspect ratio, b&w (Dr. Cyclops in colour). French subtitles.