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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

'From Hell It Came' BD: Treemondously Ent-ertaining '50s B Horror Movie


The Warner Archive April 25, 2017 Blu-ray release of the 1957 B horror movie "From Hell It Came" is another example of Archive demonstrating that they don't make 'em like that anymore and that the best brains at "Mystery Science Theater 3000" who delight in mocking so-bad-they-are-awesome films have at least one that got away. All of this shows that this is one time that "Hell" terrifically is for children of all ages. (Advance apologies for the so-bad-they-are-awesome tree puns in this review of a film that centers around a demon whose bark is worse than his bite.)

As an aside, one thing that makes "Hell" one such a delight is that is seems that the perfectly good cast is selected based on not being busy with another B-movie. The one exception is that the acting of the (presumably) man in the costume of the aforementioned Hell birch is wooden despite that character making progress in a quest to be a real-live boy.

A second aside is that "Hell" shows the potential for a "very special episode" had "Gilligan's Island" received a fourth season.

The following YouTube clip of the Archive promo. for "Hell" nicely illustrates that "Hell" IS your daddy's low-budget thriller.


"Hell" begins South Sea Islands prince Kimo (San Francisco native Gregg Palmer) staked to the ground while the local witch doctor presides over a kangaroo court in which Kimo is facing a charge of conspiring with the visiting American scientists whom the big bad voodoo daddy blames for recent regicide on the island. This brief proceeding concludes with executing Kimo and vertically planting him six-feet under in a wooden coffin.

The action then shifts to the surprisingly tricked-out base of the aforementioned male scientists. This segment provides exposition ala the scientists discussing being on the island for the dual purposes of evaluating Cold War-era fallout and trying to help with an independent epidemic to which natives are falling prey. One spoiler is that that illness is not Dutch Elm disease.

Comic relief soon literally and figuratively enters in the form of highly brash Cockney merchant the widow Kilgore; this broad in every sense of the word essentially recreates the purchase of Manhattan for $24 several times a day in her trading post. She also is seeking husband number 4 among the scientists but clearly is barking up the wrong tree.

The arrival of pretty and pure blonde medical researcher Dr. Terry (regarding whom one of our heroes pines) ensures fir sure that she will end up having tree demon Tabonga figuratively carry her to the top of a skyscraper only to have her big strong love interest rescue her at the last minute; the Hays Code requires sticking to that formula and does allow our hero to leaf her.

The researchers are stumped on discovering mysterious new flora at the grave site; observing both an odd sap and a heartbeat prompts the group to transport the item to their base so that they can get to the root of the matter. Mary injecting this lab rat with an experimental serum apparently accelerates its growth to a level that allows it to escape and to begin a campaign of vengeance against those that done Kimo wrong.

The ensuing mayhem leads to the aforementioned inevitable confrontation. A survivor branching out in the aftermath is very apt.

Surprising depth comes in the form of ambiguity regarding whether Tobango is a product of voodoo or of the aforementioned effects of modern warfare. The moral either way is that Mother Nature is a bitch.

The Blu-ray extra consists of the '50stastic theatrical trailer for "Hell."

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Hell" is encouraged to email me; you alternatively can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.