It’s Hammer Time Presents: X: The Unknown (1956, Leslie Norman)


Around the time that Hammer Studios began to venture into sci-fi and horror they released in 1957 a fairly decent gem called X: The Unknown. This movie, directed by Leslie Norman, was created in the horror/sci-fi style that was popular back in the 1950s, and it properly reflected fears of nuclear radiation. Not to mention mankind worrying about nuclear destruction and death caused by a science that many did not understand. The creature effects are entertaining although a bit cheesy, and yet the movie is well crafted and never becomes silly.

One of my favorite moments is when two kids stumble onto the blob, which ends up leading to a scene that is both horrific and tragic. The scientists of course must race against time to come up with a solution, and the film’s climax although typical of most horror/sci-fi from that era is still enjoyable to watch. X: The Unknown is a reliable introduction to Hammer Films, and it was followed up by the studio’s masterwork, The Curse of Frankenstein, released the next year.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Mimic (1997, Guillermo del Toro)


Despite years of camping experience and being out in the wilderness, bugs still creep me out. Insects are different from humans, and they truly rule this world for they far outnumber us mammals. Mimic starts out with scientists desperately creating a new bug to wipe out a child killing plague ravaging New York City. In the process they unleash a monster that only presents itself years later, coming back to haunt the scientist couple that was responsible for its existence in the first place. Dr. Susan Tyler and Dr. Peter Mann begin to realize that the the so called “Judas Bug” has mutated into something bigger, something truly frightening. After all, the characters along with Leonard, a local transit cop, are forced to journey deep into the underground beyond and beneath the subway in an attempt to prevent the bugs, which can now mimic human behavior, from emerging to take over the city.

The creature effects are fantastic, and this movie is really entertaining. Particularly when the film moves to below the city, as the humans end up becoming prey for gigantic bug creatures. del Toro utilizes the damp, dark setting to create an eerie atmosphere while also playing with genre conventions. Although this film does have cliches such as the noble cop who proves handy in the end, the scientist partner who is sarcastic and ends up as bug food, and the adorable little boy raised by the kind old man that may be the key to what is really going on. Still thanks to del Toro’s direction and the really good script such elements fit the movie well, although it helps that the film itself is a really good monster film.

Although on further research it seems that del Toro has disowned the film and was not happy with the finished product. I can’t say I blame him since it was his movie, but I still liked Mimic all the same. I wonder if the film could not have been truly great instead of merely good however had they allowed del Toro to fulfill his vision. I would like to see the Director’s Cut, and there was supposed to be a different ending according to IMDB.com’s trivia section-an ending that sounds creepy and fantastic to me. Too bad it didn’t happen, although I guess there have been many films butchered or altered by film studios over the years.

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