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The Unearthly (1957).

July 2, 2010

Note: With this post, Desuko summer vacation starts! That’s means it’s summer rerun time again, but don’t worry — I’ll try to dig up some old gems you might have missed the first time around.

The Scoop:
Was there ever a less talented movie star (and I use that latter term loosely) than Tor Johnson? This former professional wrestler from Sweden couldn’t do much besides stand around and look menacing, which is why that was all that was asked of him in most of his films. Although he bounced around in uncredited bit parts in Hollywood for nearly 20 years, his career didn’t take off until he was discovered by that notorious hack Ed Wood, who elevated him to a supporting actor in several of his films. But the extra work didn’t do anything to improve his acting chops. By all accounts a nice guy, he still was still pretty inept.

And if you want to see that ineptitude in full bloom, “The Unearthly” (along with the legendarily awful “Plan 9 From Outer Space”) is the place to turn. His distinctiveness as an actor rested solely on the fact that he was very, very big and very, very dumb. “The Unearthly” is one of those rare vehicles in which Tor is actually given lines to deliver, and with that privilege he reaches heights of stupidity you thought only cartoon characters were capable of.

The plot concerns the exploits of the typical 1950s low-rent mad scientist (played by B-movie staple John Carradine), who is trying to take over the world by creating mutants in his basement. In a very intuitive bit of casting, Tor is one of the mutants. A passing detective (Myron Healey) infiltrates the house and brings down the scientist. The 50-foot woman herself, Allison Hayes, is along for the ride, as are former Miss America Marilyn Buferd and Playboy playmate Sally Todd.

The whole thing is inept and slightly insane. In other words, it’s the perfect vehicle for Tor to work his magic.

Best Line:
Tor gives the signal for lights out — “Time for go to bed!”

Side Note:
Like so many other Tor Johnson creations, this character is also named Lobo.

Companion Viewing:
“Plan 9 From Outer Space” (1959) and “The Beast of Yucca Flats” (1961).

Monster Movie Music.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

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