Tagline: "A titanic beauty spreads a macabre wave of horror! A terrifying masterpiece of shock and chills!" Only if the horror includes the ridiculous special effects.
Let's talk poster: You might recognise the poster. Not only is this particular poster easily recognisable even to people who have never seen the movie, it's also the picture I use in each blog as a header. Think of it as a neon sign, bringing people near with the message: "Bad movies here!" Because of this, I will award this poster an A+ and invite it to stay for tea and cookies. Even the Pirate cookies are up for grabs. One time only.
Story: Our opening shot is the desert. Again. Wait...did I put "Tarantula" back in the player? Oh, no, I guess not. Because words come wooshing at me as if they are going to fly out of the television.
...in sequence, so you don't really get the same feeling here. If you look at all the photos quickly and make "wooshing" noises, it might help. Then, we see a newsman sitting at a desk.
He is reading the headlines for the 11 o'clock news. Like, off of paper since teleprompters won't be invented for another 40 years or so. This particular newscast is heavily laden with stories of sightings around the world of a "satellite". The writers keep referring to the U.F.O. as a satellite, apparently thinking the two words were interchangeable. Anyway, our newscaster practically rolls his eyes as he sneers at the reports.
Not being satisfied with that, he wheels his chair over to a nearby globe and points out the various cities reporting the sightings.
Let's see: Bering Sea, Cairo, Auckland....the newscaster announces with no small amount of sarcasm that by his calculations the "satellite" should be over the California desert any second.
Let he who is without humour cast the first news.
This brings us to a shoot of a large car (there was another kind in 1958?)
rocketing down a desert road on Route 66.
We see a silver ball floating through the sky.
This particular satellite comes equipped with two wires to hold it aloft. You gotta pay extra for that.
The car slams on it's brakes and skids from one side of the road to the other
before finally coming to a stop in front of the satellite.
Using the car as a ruler, we can estimate the ship is roughly 25 feet high. This is important later.
The woman driving is screaming
as she frantically tries to restart her car.
Lady, haven't you seen this type of movie? Your car isn't going to start until later. I'm not sure if she finally realises this or just panics, but she exits the car.
This shot shows two things: one for men and one for women. For men, it shows she is a reasonably attractive woman with some serious cleavage. For women, it shows she is a reasonably attractive woman wearing a large diamond necklace. I did eventually see she had a necklace on, but it took a while. Anyway, the woman is screaming because she sees a huge, poorly constructed papier-mâché hand covered in fake fur reaching for her.
We are to assume there is a giant person attached to the giant hand. The woman screams "Harry". I thought she was screaming "hairy" but we learn later she is actually screaming for her husband. She turns and runs back the way she came.
A wise choice, I think. A giant made of papier-mâché would be enormous. What if it started raining? Who would clean up the giant papier-mâché mess? Not me! And not her either.
We cut to a shot of two people in a booth at a bar.
That's Harry, with his cheating face stuck to a young blonde. Harry is chuckling as he reminisces about the way his wife took off after seeing the blonde and Harry making googly eyes at each other right in front of her.
Harry seems bitter and thoroughly unapologetic. He goes on to say his wife catching them makes up for all the times she missed. Charming. Honey needles him a bit, asking why he went back to her after they separated.
Harry responds: "You know why, Honey. I couldn't get a nickel out of her." Honey actually is her name, by the way. Honey points out none too subtlety that if she dies he'll have millions.
Harry says his wife has already been in a sanitarium once before, so if he could get her back in he might get her money that way. Honey says that's a good start as long as he follows through. Harry seems unsure. His wife has been seeing a doctor about her drinking and she seems to be getting better. Honey says Harry should "push her a bit" and get "back in the driver's seat".
Well, that shouldn't be too hard. Mrs. Harry is just arriving back at the bar looking dishevelled and wild-eyed.
She is ranting and raving, screaming Harry's name. The deputy intercepts her.
He is soon joined by the sheriff, who shoos everyone away
and tries to talk to the hysterical woman. He refers to her as "Mrs. Archer". Mrs. Archer is still carrying on, yelling about "it's out there on the road!" and shouting for her husband, Harry. Sheriff No Name (the deputy calls him "Chief", but that's it) sends Deputy Charlie
to find Harry. The chief then offers Mrs. Archer some black coffee. She is instantly offended at the accusation that she is drunk.
In the sheriff's defence, it has been established that Mrs. Archer has a previous history of alcohol abuse and a stay in The Cracker Factory. I think I would follow the same tack. The chief puts Mrs. Archer in the back of his car while he waits for Charlie to come back. Charlie has found Mr. Archer (Harry) but he has his hands full.
Charlie is a bit shy about interrupting. He eventually taps on Harry's shoulder and says the sheriff is looking for him.
Harry responds with a bill in his hand. "You couldn't find me. I took a cab".
Deputy Charlie seems game. He takes the money and scrams. Charlie reports back to the sheriff, saying Harry took a cab home.
Sheriff says okay then, go get the "riot gun"; we're going for a ride in the desert with Mrs. Archer. Why the heavy artillery? asks Charlie. Sheriff responds that Mrs. Archer saw a satellite with a thirty foot giant in it out in the desert. Oh....okay says Charlie, and turns to get the shotgun. After a few steps
he turns back and exclaims: "A thirty foot giant?! Oh no!" To his credit, he still goes with them.
They are close to the area where Mrs. Archer's car died when Charlie yells "There it is!" The sheriff slams on the brakes and we expect to see the satellite.
"Oh, I meant the car", Charlie says.
Pretty obvious who the comedy relief is going to be in this picture. The sheriff makes sure Mrs. Archer hears him when he announces to Charlie that they'll "take a look around".
Once out of earshot, Charlie leans in and asks the chief what they're looking for.
The sheriff responds with "as long she's paying most of the taxes around here we play along." The sheriff takes a quick glance back at Mrs. Archer
and says "Let's spread out". Can two people "spread out"?
Charlie doesn't seem to think so, but plays along.
Sheriff Whatshisface is looking tense as he peers into the dark. The tension mounts.
Boo! It's Charlie. Why do people in these movies insist on sneaking up on tense, armed people? How can that possibly be a good idea?
They turn and report back to Mrs. Archer. Sheriff announces there are no footprints or marks anywhere. This ticks off Mrs. Archer who chastises the two for thinking she's made the whole thing up. Mrs. Archer says she saw the giant reaching for her diamond.
The sheriff responds with a strange remark: "That diamond would tempt the devil himself." Well, yeah....he's the devil. If he would have said it would tempt Jesus himself, that would make more sense to me. Anyway, Mrs. Archer then starts her car, (see? told you it would work now!) backs up
and then nearly runs both of them down as she roars away.
I guess rich people could nearly kill law officers in 1958 with impunity. Gotta love the 50s!
Mrs. Archer arrives back at the residence bearing her name on a life preserver.
I don't know why there's a life preserver with their name on it in an area close to a desert. It's a shot from where the pool is, if that helps.
Mrs. Archer seems to be doing alright for herself.
Her butler opens the door for her and immediately asks if she is okay. Mrs. Archer answers by going straight to the bar and pouring herself a scotch.
I'm not one to say "alcohol isn't the answer". It usually isn't, especially when the question is "What do I put in the baby's formula", but sometimes I find my friend Johnny Walker may not have all the answers but he's a damned fine listener. Anyway, a voice from across the room startles them both.
It's Harry, lounging out of sight on the couch.
This raises the question: "No one saw or smelled the smoke from the cigarette?" Whatever, Harry stands up and quite rudely demands that Jess (the butler) leave.
Mrs. Archer stands up to Harry and tells him he has no right to talk to Jess like that. Harry's witty retort is to snap his fingers at Jess and tell him to "beat it".
Just beat it. *sorry*.....Jess refuses to leave at first.
Once Mrs. Archer says "You can go, Jess" he reluctantly leaves. This frees up Harry to begin his underhanded bullshit.
He starts off with a lovely story of how he tried to go after her and explain why he was making goo-goo eyes at Honey but he was stranded at the bar when she left with the car. Now we find out Mrs. Archer has a first name: Nancy. Good. That's easier to type. We also see as Harry spins his story that Nancy is a freakin' mess!
She flips back and forth between hating Harry and telling him she would die without him, all the while plying herself with scotch. Harry's a douche but he's no fool. He keeps the liquor coming
and soon Nancy is three sheets to the wind again and madly in love with Harry once more.
It isn't long before Nancy forgets she has legs and Harry is carrying her upstairs to bed.
Jess observes from the shadows and we assume he has heard everything.
Nosey butlers! That's why I don't keep one. Plus they're always stealing the good china. If I had any china. Scary Harry brings Nancy upstairs
and places her on the bed. He then helps her to get (partially) undressed
which sounds sexy but isn't at all. He gets Nancy tucked in
and tells her he will be just downstairs. Nancy keeps grabbing on to Harry and pleading with him not to leave her. She tells him her story her encounter with the "satellite" and the giant in the desert. Harry sees an opportunity and goes along with her. Then, as if we need more proof that he is vermin, Harry unclasps Nancy's diamond necklace and slips into his shirt pocket.
Cut scene to the bar. Officer Doofus and Honey are cutting a rug.
Or they would be if there had been a rug in the budget. Interesting side note: Yvette Vickers and the actor playing the Deputy improvised the jitterbug scene. Vickers had been a professional dancer before becoming an actor. She was also pretty hot.
Harry shows up and literally bumps into Deputy Dork.
Deputy Dork notices the scowl on Harry's face and takes his leave with a good-natured "a-river-der-chee" and a flourish of his hands.
Harry confronts Honey. "I thought we were meeting at the hotel?" Honey sees right through him and says "You're not jealous of that clown?" Yes, it would seem so.
Honey says she was tired of waiting at "that flea bag hotel". All she does is "wait, wait, wait!".
Harry says maybe she won't have to wait as long as she thinks. Harry tells her about Nancy's story of seeing the "satellite" and the giant. He says he's going to call Nancy's shrink and see about getting her committed. Then her fortune is his
and they can be together. Ah! The unbreakable bonds of holy matrimony! Harry tease Honey with the diamond necklace but puts it back in his pocket for now. They rush off together to call Dr. Cushing. We cut back to the house and Jess giving Harry his best "F-you" look.
They are joined by Dr. Cushing, who gives his evaluation of Nancy.
Dr. Cushing gives Jess a bottle of pills and strict instructions on how to administer them.
"Keep her very quiet and no alcohol". Sure, no problem. Harry's ears perk up when he hears the "no alcohol" part.
Harry asks "What about her story?" Dr. Cushing says he believes it's a combination of an overworked imagination and alcohol. Do you think it's a relapse, asks Harry.
"Let's hope not. Going back to the sanitarium would kill her." Hmmm.... Dr. Cushing leaves and Nancy comes downstairs in the mood for an argument.
Nancy welcomes back her "faithful husband". Okay, in his defence, you were plastered and wouldn't have known he was there anyway. Well, that doesn't stop Nancy from going on a tirade about how she's not stupid and she's not crazy. She knows Harry spent the night with "that floozy" and she knows Harry is trying to get her locked up.
Harry responds with saying she seems to know a lot, and shoots an accusing look at Jess.
Harry goes on to say he doesn't like being watched in his own home. Harry pulls out the diamond necklace from his pocket and puts it in Nancy's hand.
"Your giant friend might come looking for that." Harry turns to leave and Nancy asks him "Where are you going?" Harry counters with "Ask Jess"
and goes upstairs. This little tiff sends Nancy over to her bottle. Jess approaches and asks if she would prefer something to eat.
Nancy tells him to leave her alone. Which he does.
Well, he tried...sort of. Suddenly we can hear the television is on and the news has begun.
Funny we couldn't hear that before and no one turned it on. Huh. Anyway, the reporter
is having a go at reports that Mrs. Nancy Archer, formerly Nancy Fowler, heiress to the "Fowler fortune", has reported seeing a flying saucer and a giant as well.
The reporter keeps going, and asks if the giant Nancy saw was "pink with big ears and tusks". I don't believe he is being impartial. Is this Fox News? What channel is this? Anyway, he goes on to say rumour has it that Nancy and her husband have been "feuding" and maybe now Nancy has found a man that's "out of this world". Nancy loses her temper and throws her glass at the television.
Well, at least she didn't shoot it.
Jess and Harry come in to see what Elvis....er, I mean Nancy, has done.
Dude, it is 1958 and a TV that big back then must have cost a bundle. That bottle of scotch just cost about a grand, that's what happened.
Nancy announces she is going back out into the desert to find the satellite and prove she isn't crazy. Nancy says Harry has to come with her. She says she has a feeling the ship is out there in the desert, waiting for her. "And if it isn't?" asks Harry. "Then I'm crazy and should be committed." Well, Harry can't pass that up and goes along. Cut to the happy couple cruising the back roads of L.A. area.
There are several minutes of shots of Nancy peering earnestly into the horizon while Harry drives around looking bored.
We even get Harry giving the international sign for "Seriously?"
but that doesn't deter Nancy from insisting they press on. Wait! I see a space ship! Oh, no, sorry. It's the fins on the car.
After several shots of nothing, Nancy breaks down and cries.
Harry sees she is finally broken and turns the car around.
On the way back, however, a strange noise makes Nancy jump up in her seat and yell to stop the car.
We see the "satellite", see-through and everything, just off the side of the road.
Nancy jumps out and runs to the exercise ball....er, I mean "satellite". She bangs her hands on the side of the ship,
yelling over and over again "It's real! It's real! I'm not crazy!" Harry stares in disbelief and then horror as the giant appears and reaches out for Nancy.
(The scale is all over the place, by the way. The exercise ball keeps changing size
and the giant would have to be curled up inside of this thing like a fetus in order to fit in. But I digress.) The giant extends his wobbly, papier-mâché, fake-fur covered arm towards Nancy,
presumably for her necklace. Harry fires a few shots at the giant and then flees
as his wife cries out for him. He's a douche, but he's a consistent douche. This leaves Nancy to struggle with a huge hairy arm on her own,
proving my grandfather's dying words to be true: "In this world, no one will ever give a shit about you." Well, I may have read into that one a bit, but it's still true. Anyway, our intrepid hero books it back to the house
and barges in and past Jess.
Not surprisingly, this piques Jess' interest. He follows Harry upstairs where we see him jamming clothes in a suitcase.
Jess demands to know what Harry has done with Mrs. Archer, fearing the worst. He is met with a shove from Harry
and no answer except "Get out of my way!" Things deteriorate rapidly and soon the two are in a rather spirited round of fisticuffs. (What?...it's a real word!)
In a rather neat trick, Jess even manages to belt Harry backwards
and into (and over) a handily placed chair.
A brief tussle helps to knock over the bar
and once they are both wrestling on the floor,
Harry uses the perfectly placed bottle
to conk Jess on the pumpkin.
None the worse for wear, Harry dusts himself off, retrieves his suitcase and leaves.
Don't worry about Jess though. As we now know, being bashed in the skull with a glass bottle only lightly stuns a person. So feel free to bash your friends over the head with bottles! No harm done! Jess awakens and quickly calls the sheriff.
We cut to the hotel, where Honey is awakened by a rather rushed Harry.
He tells her to get dressed while he packs.
(That's packing?) She eventually complies, after firing off several questions to Harry and getting only vague answers.
They are on their way out the door when....
How about that? The deputy is actually doing something related to law enforcement. And he's brought along a hot librarian. Wait...what's that?....sorry, I guess she is the hot hotel clerk. My mistake. Anyway, Harry tries his previous trick with a few bills,
but it doesn't work this time.
Harry even tries a thinly veiled threat: "You're making a mistake, Charlie" But the deputy responds with "Chief wants to see you both. Let's go" Wow! Now Harry sees how urgent and serious this matter is! Naturally, next scene will be equally intense and worrisome!
Or not. No, this is supposed to be a couple of hours later and instead of being handcuffed or locked in a cell, Honey and Harry are playing gin with Deputy Dog while they wait for the chief. See, it's not just bad special effects! There's bad writing, too!
After a while, Charlie gets a call from his wife (?) saying she heard Mrs. Archer has been found back at her house laying on top of the pool house.
Nice of the chief to keep you in the loop, eh, Charlie? Charlie remarks: "Imagine that, Mrs. Archer at home the whole time, loaded." I guess that means Harry and Honey are free to go, because they do. Meanwhile, back at the house, Dr. Cushing is there to see about Nancy.
He tells The Chief Nancy is suffering from exposure from the "way she was dressed" but what worries him more are the scratches on her throat. Now, this giant had hands that would crush Nancy's entire body, so how did he manage to put finger scratches on her throat?
Harry barges in and is immediately questioned by The Chief. Harry blows them off and is on his way upstairs when the doctor stops him with a warning: "radiation!"
That brings Harry back down and The Chief gets to ask his questions. Jess says Harry and Nancy went together into the desert with a gun and only Harry came back.
And where is the diamond necklace? Harry says Jess is lying. Harry says he left the house alone, right after Dr. Cushing left. Honey jumps in on this one. "That's right. Harry was with me all evening. We were just stepping out for air (with a full suitcase, apparently) when your deputy stopped us."
This gives Harry a chance to try out his "See? I told you so" look. Dr. Cushing tries out his "You're not buying this bullshit, are you?" look but is met with indifference by The Chief. Apparently the word of a man cheating on his wife coupled with the word of a shameless hussy is good enough for him. No matter, because a hot nurse
comes over to remind the doctor of an injection he has planned for Nancy. What?....oh, I guess the budget wouldn't allow an attractive nurse. We'll have to make due with Tiny Tim's
aunt here. Dr. Cushing oversees our lovely (yeesh!) nurse as she readies the hypodermic.
"Careful, now! Only give her exactly .75 ccs." Nice to see they trust Honey not to do anything shady with this sensitive information. But why wouldn't you trust the mistress of the husband who stands to potentially collect 50 million dollars? Meanwhile, The Chief is getting Jess' side of the story again. "When Mrs. Archer awakes she will prove my story right".
The Chief tells Harry and Honey not to leave town.
And who could deny anything of a face like that? Of course I'll stay in town, you adorable man, you! Honey is busy studying the medicine bottle left for Nancy.
Once Honey and Harry leave Dr. Cushing confesses to The Chief that he believes Jess.
Jess has been with Mrs. Archer since Nancy was a little girl and Cushing believes Jess would never lie about her.
Meanwhile, Harry has stopped the car in the driveway to talk it over with Honey.
Honey comes out with it: There's a way out if Harry has the nerve to do it.
All he has to do is give Nancy an overdose of her medicine. Harry takes the bait. He gets out
and tells Honey to drive back into town while he gets this done. Harry sneaks back in (we assume some time later, since it is now dark) and sees the nurse is asleep.
He takes a needle and loads it.
Can you "load" a needle? What do you call it? "Sucks up the stuff?" Let's go with "readies". He readies the needle (and bends the prop in the process)
Harry quietly makes his way upstairs
and enters the darkened room.
He is about to make his move when Nurse Yeesh enters behind him and flips on the light.
It takes a few seconds for Harry to comprehend what he sees. Nurse Yeesh, however, immediately begins screaming
in a highly unconvincing and irritating fashion.
Just over and over again. This incessant screaming brings in Dr. Cushing, who takes a clinical approach, remarking on Nancy's incredible growth. Yes, thank you, Captain Obvious. We surmised as much when we saw the giant hand.
Again, scale: If that's her forearm and hand, then we can use Harry to judge her hand to be about 6 feet long. Which would mean her forearm would be about nine feet long and the upper arm another nine. So, without even getting to her body, with the way the arm is placed, just her arm is 24 feet long. How would all of Nancy fit in a room less than 75 feet across? Why didn't the bed collapse beneath her causing a huge noise? How is the floor supporting her enormous weight? Who had to shave the papier-mâché hand? Why am I still watching this movie? All excellent questions.
Cut scene to Acme medical supplies
dropping off a "large" shipment. I always wondered if they delivered. This answers many questions from my youth.
We have a quick bit of what is supposed to be humour as the delivery man reads of his very long list of what he is dropping off. Including four gallons of plasma, an "elephant syringe" (no, really) a block and tackle and chain. (Because every medical supply business sells that.)
But, hey, the bills already paid so he gets his signature and no answers to his questions and goes on his way. Cut to Dr. Cushing and a new doctor/scientist peering into a microscope.
Our new nerd is Dr. Von Loeb, who is also stymied as to what the hell he's looking at. Well, no wonder! He doesn't have a pipe! He can't be THAT smart!
As the two doctors discuss the case of Mrs. Archer, we see Harry sneaking up to eavesdrop.
They discuss the strange scratches on her throat and ponder why they are radioactive. Harry hears that Dr. Loeb believes there is hope for Nancy with surgery. Loeb points out, however, that they will need the permission of the husband.
This, of course, spins Harry's wheels. This bit of information may be just what he needs to convince Honey that all their troubles are over.
Harry pays a visit to the woman who puts the "Ho" in "Honey". She is bopping along to some sort of badly done rockabilly wannabe. Between that and the posters on the walls, I was getting the impression that Honey is supposed to be very young.
I was guessing 18 or 19. So, first kudos to Harry and secondly, why would you want to? She's obviously a vacuous twit. Anyway, Yvette Vickers, who played Honey, made her mark in Hollywood playing strong women of loose morals, so whatever. Harry tries to use his new found information to put Honey at ease long enough to, ahem, "put Honey at ease".
He is met with a cold shoulder and a drink. I would settle for that, myself. Harry says they need his permission to operate
so all he has to do is lie low and wait for it to be too late. Yeah, the sheriff would never think to look in the same room he found you two last time.
Meanwhile, back in the room with the abnormally strong floor, our intrepid duo are using their delicate, skilled surgeon's hands to install that block and tackle.
Sure, that seems plausible. They are heaving Nancy's hands and arms around.
Why? Well, you know how people who are in a coma always have to have their limbs suspended by rope?....yeah, me neither. I bet there's a reason though. I mean, other than to show there's a huge person in the room. Maybe.
Cut scene to the short arm of the law, carefully examining the area by the pool house where Nancy was found.
Well, at least he's doing something. He calls Deputy Dunce over to give him a boost up onto the roof of the pool house.
After giving it "The Man Look" (quick glance and a shrug), The Chief asks for help back down. Charlie says "Why dontcha just use the ladder?" and points. The Chief gives him a Gilligan-esque look and begins to climb down.
He catches something out of the corner of his eye and stops. He and Charlie take a closer look.
Zounds! It would seem to be a rather large footprint!
And Shaq hasn't been born yet, so it's not him! Funny that this interstellar traveller has no shoes. Naturally, they have to rule out all other possibilities, so he sends Charlie to get Jess.
It would seem there is a possibility that this enormous footprint may have been there for years and he needs to check. Or something. Anyway, Charlie nearly mows down Jess
in his hurry to get him, stopping just long enough to guzzle a 7-Up.
Product placement: don't kid yourself, it's been around for a long time. Jess is brought over, tray in hand, and shown the print.
This elicits a comment of "Maybe Mrs. Archer wasn't so crazy after all" from Jess, and the sheriff concurs. Charlie points and shouts "There's another one!....and another!"
Charlie starts to head off looking for more when The Chief reels him in. He tells his deputy to keep it quiet for now so that people don't think they're nuts, too.
The Chief sends Charlie in the patrol car to get the "riot gun" and grenades. I love the 50's! Every hick town had a box of grenades in the cop shop! Charlie tears off to do so, nearly running over his boss.
Then we see the sheriff and Jess slowly cruising along, following the huge prints back into the desert.
They even get stuck once, just to show they are way out there.
And for some foreshadowing.
Guess who pushes?
Ah! The joys of serving your fellow man! Am I right, Jess?
He'll be fine! Anyway, it doesn't take these two long to stumble across the "satellite".
After discovering the spent revolver on the ground,
The Chief fairly assesses that Harry must have cut and run when the giant snatched up Mrs. Archer and then the giant brought Nancy back to the house and placed her on the roof of the pool house. Interesting that he knew her address. They load up on weapons
and approach the semi-opaque ball.
There is a hissing noise like pressurised air being released and we see an open doorway. We also see there is no freakin' way a giant would fit down the hallways of his own ship.
Jess and The Chief enter. I'll tell you what, these two are not getting paid nearly enough, whatever they're getting paid.
As they cautiously make their way into the ship, they see strange glass containers with various jewels in them.
LOOK OUT FOR THE GIANT!
Oh, wait....it's Jess' face magnified through the glass. Man, that is unflattering. They also discover that peg board makes for inexpensive "alien walls".
Once again, someone has to sneak up on a nervous man with a shotgun and slap their arm on his shoulder.
I almost want one of these people to get shot, just to prove my point. Jess sees Mrs. Archers diamond necklace
and they decide to take it back. Can you do that? Don't you need to serve a warrant or something? They are discussing the probability that the jewels are somehow used to power the ship
when noises from above cause them to retreat without the necklace.
I guess the giant was up on the mezzanine or maybe sunning himself on the third floor balcony. Anyway, they run out
and back to the car. But, surprise! It's stuck again!
Well, cue the giant, then. He's probably looking to report a break and enter. "Two tiny individuals intended to steal my fuel supply!"
Let's pause here to wonder two things: why are all the big things in this movie see-through and why is he dressed like an extra from some Sword-And-Sandals historical drama? I have no answers. As people tend to do in this movie, The Chief begins shooting at the giant without provocation.
"Your Honor, we will show that Chief Whatsisface did willingly and wantonly fire his weapon at my Giant Client (see what I did there?) without due warning. We seek restitution in the form of one giant diamond necklace and a cease-and-desist order." Well, the giant isn't fazed by The Chief's cute little revolver, and continues to give them the stink eye, without actually doing anything else. This makes the sheriff ramp it up to the shotgun first,
and then, upon seeing no effect, moving on to the grenades.
The grenades do have an effect.
They piss off the giant,
who probably lost the damage deposit on that wardrobe leftover from "Cleopatra". He reaches his giant papier-mâché arm out towards them and grabs the car they were hiding behind.
Now watch how seamlessly the special effects team blends these two shots as the giant lifts this die cast replica
....er, I mean full sized car and throws it down.
How do they DO it?! I'm in awe! Anyway, Jess and the sheriff are fine, hiding behind a tree.
The giant decides he has made his point,
lumbers back to his exercise ball, and takes off.
This frees up our brave duo to try using the CB radio. But it's toast.
Looks like these two have a long walk back into town. Next time you won't be so quick to shoot at giant aliens! Now get to steppin'!
Meanwhile, back at Archer mansion, the doctors are outside discussing Nancy's mental health up until she became a hideous monster.
They don't get too far into the conversation when we see from inside the house that Nancy has awakened and begins to bellow for Harry.
Nurse Yeesh, to her credit, doesn't hesitate to run upstairs to comfort her patient.
I'm sure Nancy isn't thrilled about being suspended in chains and rope, plus she demands to know where Harry is. We don't see the actress' face at all in these shots, just her giant papier-mâché hand and it's interaction with these poor actors.
Dr. Cushing arrives and does a much better job of guessing where Nancy's head would be. He sends Nurse Yeesh downstairs
to call everywhere looking for Harry while he tries to calm Nancy down. Her first try is a bust, as Charlie informs her that no one has seen Harry yet. Charlie says he will head up there as soon as he can.
Which is right after he reports in to Mary (we assume the operator)
to tell the sheriff to get his alien-shootin' ass out there, too! Then he heads off, good to his word.
Meanwhile at Tony's bar, our loving husband is biding his time until his wife's imminent death.
In fact, he is so depressed he is drinking and dancing with his mistress. Poor, misunderstood man! See that bartender in the background? Picture him with a bald cap and a fake leather vest. Yep, that's our giant alien, now in Fun Size! Enter Deputy Disaster, who is quite irked with Harry.
Charlie says Harry's house has been trying to reach him all day and it's an emergency. "Didn't the bartender give you the message?" Harry responds with "Yes, and now so have you. In person. Thanks" and places Charlie's hat back on his head and goes back to dancing.
Charlie considers his options, but backs down and leaves.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Nancy is thrashing around enough to shake the house. Dr. Cushing decides he can't hide Nancy's condition anymore and decides to inform the state police.
Good, because the local police couldn't catch a cold. He doesn't get a chance to complete his call, however,
as Nurse Yeesh yells for his assistance. It seems that Nancy is fully awake now and rather pissed.
While Dr. Cushing does his best to calm Nancy down, Nurse Yeesh gives the viewers the running commentary: "She's loose! She's breaking through the roof!"
Yes, much cheaper than actually filming these things. Think how much cheaper "Jurassic Park" would have been if Sam Niell would have just said what was happening: "The T Rex has broken free! Now it's eating a goat! Golly! Now it's roaring and chasing children!" Spielberg could have made the whole thing for $1,500 and some sandwiches.
But they do eventually have to blow the budget and show Nancy actually breaking through the roof.
Besides, for some reason, giant Nancy looks way hotter than regular Nancy, and not just because she's wearing only bed sheets tied together. She is also now a blonde. I guess there was a few gallons of hydrogen peroxide in that Acme delivery as well. The tearing off of the roof gives licence to the director to dump flour and balsa wood
all over Hell's half acre, all the while shaking the camera vigorously for effect. That effect would have more impact if ALL the actors lurched around at the same time. Dr. Cushing lurches his way to the phone (while the other two remain perfectly upright)
and discovers the phone is now deceased. Nancy has now cleared the house,
and announces in a non-indoor voice that she knows Harry is with "that woman" in town, and heads off that way. We cut to the highway, where The Chief and Jess take their life in their hands by flagging down Charlie.
Who gave this doofus his licence?
Charlie asks why they are walking and a rather grouchy Chief responds with "Let's go!" Then we see the silhouettes of all five of them in the car
.....Wait a minute....one, two, three....yep, they screwed up. The editors must have reused the shot that comes later. Oh well, compared to the rest of the movie, that's a pretty minor error. For example: next scene we see Dr. Cushing easily clearing a wooden beam that must surely weigh 100 pounds.
"It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Soooooper Doc!" Anyway, Jess, Charlie and The Chief come tearing up
and are immediately informed that Nancy has broken free and headed to town to find her husband.
Cut scene to our comic relief for this picture: a sad, lonely, drunken old man talking to his only friend: a mule.
Yuk, yuk, yuk!! Nothing says funny like alcohol abuse! Anyway, the old guy sees Nancy
as she strolls by and he throws his booze away
and runs his ass off!
Thank God for donkeys in B movies just so I can make "ass" jokes. My material would dry up without them. Nancy soon encounters a power line
and rather than just ducking under decides to give it a good shake.
That kills the lights at Tony's bar, but does nothing to stop Harry and Honey,
who are now fully lubricated. And Tony just gave them fire. Great.
The sheriff and at least one other person are tearing down the road in hot pursuit of Nancy.
She seems to be making good time, considering she's walking. I guess you can do that when you have a 300 inch inseam.
At any rate, Nancy is nearly in town now.
We see two lovebirds pecking at each other in their car.
Nancy strolls up (again: SCALE, PEOPLE! Now Nancy is, at best 15 feet tall!)
But I guess she's tall enough to freak out our love birds,
who fulfil their contractual obligation of screaming like fools.
They also throw in the "running like fools" bit for free. Luckily, they are running towards the approaching sheriff's car.
Somehow, they manage not to run them over. Here's a great line: as they frantically point down the road,
the deputy asks them "Was it a giant woman?" and then as they nod, Dr. Cushing looks at the sheriff and says "That's her." Now hang on! Are we sure there aren't other giant women wrecking havoc on the area? Her lawyer is going to be all over you on this one.
Oh wait, there are several other witnesses describing a similar woman. You got lucky this time, Cushing! You ducked a slander lawsuit! Anyway, our "fifty" foot woman
can't quite decide on a height again. But she's still big enough to cause panic. Nancy saunters over to the hotel to check for her cheating husband
(why do all giants in these movies saunter? Just because you are a nigh on invincible giant is no reason to be lazy! Let's shake a leg!) The sheriff pulls up to...what? Make an arrest? Why are you even still in the picture?
I assumed she was throwing it at the sheriff et al, but apparently that wasn't in the budget either, because we only see her throwing it, not where it lands. For reasons not properly explained, the lights come back on in the bar.
If I was to guess, the people in charge of filming pointed out that no matter what the script said, you can't film inside a dark bar, so let's have the lights "come back on".
Meanwhile, Nancy is checking the room where Honey was staying.
Peek-a-boo! Darn! No one there.
This voyeurism is too much for Dr. Cushing to take,
and he begins screaming for Nancy to stop and surrender herself. You know how they say psychiatrists are the people who need psychiatric help the most? Yeah...Nancy breaks a window
and begins rooting around in Honey's room with her poorly constructed papier-mâché arm,
knocking over pretty much everything with all the grace of a blind hippo on a tequila bender. (Giant armpit shot at the one hour marker)
I have a question: where did they find the giant mascara and giant lipstick for Nancy
and who put it on her and with what? While we're at it, am I supposed to believe Nancy's breasts are being held up only by bed sheets made into a bikini top? I think she has a 50-foot Wonder Bra on under that. Do they make them in 360 ZZZ?
Anyway, annoyed that his previous screaming went unnoticed, Dr. Cushing has another go at it.
This time he gets her attention. Which is bad, when you're dealing with a very large, very angry woman with a history of mental illness.
Well, no...I meant Nancy. But thanks anyway, Nicki Minaj. Nancy turns and glares at the group,
which is enough for the deputy to break ranks and bolt.
Not to worry, Charlie, Nancy saw Tony's bar when she turned and decided to take a peek in there.
But it turns out tearing the roof off a gin joint causes the patrons inside to panic. Huh! As the lights flicker on and off again,
Nancy calls for her husband. Even bombed out of their minds, Honey and Harry know who's ripping the roof off right away.
Umm, no...that guy is pretty busy. Sprout quit a while back and he's been picking up the slack.
Cue our deputy, who barges in
and confirms that, indeed, it is Harry's once regular sized wife bellowing and wrecking things. He urges them to leave immediately, which they attempt to do. That's when Nancy's giant, poorly constructed papier-mâché hand makes it's entrance, knocking the deputy aside in doing so.
Now, I racked my brain trying to think of a joke that started with "a giant hand walks into a bar..." but I got nothin'.
You'll have to make one up yourself. Or just do what I do and laugh gently to yourself for no reason in a crowded restaurant. It may not make people think you've thought of a funny joke, but it does stop the waitress from coming by and asking how the food is when you're mouth is full. Anyway, Honey yells at the deputy to "do something!".
This makes him draw his revolver,
but he doesn't fire, saying "I can't shoot a lady!" Harry doesn't have those kind of ethics (or any, for that matter) and tears the gun from Charlie's hands
he fires off a few rounds at the poorly constructed papier-mâché hand
and it retreats, wheeled away by three burly Teamsters union employees, I'm sure.
Apparently, the bullets must have at least stung a bit, because now Nancy is pissed off.
Well, she doesn't have a great deal of emotional range once she becomes a giant, but trust me, she's mad. To prove my point, she begins anew her quest to install a large skylight in Tony's bar.
Her technique is rough, it's true, and the patrons in the bar voice their displeasure.
I bet this almost never happens to Mike Holmes.
Or John Holmes, for that matter.
Anyway, Honey screams and ducks for cover under one of the bar tables, leaving Harry to fend for himself.
Honey's timing is on point, because right then Nancy gives a tug and the whole roof comes off the bar.
This is last call at the bar, probably forever, so the extras...er, I mean the bar patrons, begin to flee.
I've run screaming out of bars for less, ladies and gentlemen. But Harry and the deputy are still there.
Harry realises Nancy is after Honey and runs over to her, still hiding under the table. Honey grimaces in fear, proving she's not just a pretty face.
(Yeesh, again!) To be fair to Yvette Vickers, no one could "pause" a movie back then and this was a quick grimace. I owe her at least that. But Nancy isn't done yet. She picks a handful of beams
and drops them on top of the table Honey is hiding under.
That marks "exit, stage right" for Miss Vickers, as Honey has reached her expiration date.
Side note: Yvette Vickers stated on several occasions that this scene nearly killed her in real life, as the stage hands that were throwing debris at her neglected to remove all the nails and she nearly caught one in the eye. Anyway, Harry rushes to his tart and he and Tony
establish that she has shuffled off this mortal coil. But you can't dilly-dally when a giantess is hunting you,
words to live by, right there...as Nancy reaches in and slaps people around with her poorly constructed papier-mâché hand, trying to get a grip on Harry.
To his credit, Harry helps by grabbing on the poorly constructed papier-mâché fingers and kind of wrapping himself in them as he screams and pretends to struggle.
I know, it's not "Othello" but c'mon! Anyway, Charlie can only watch
in what we assume is horror as Nancy lifts Harry up and out of the bar.
I have left various bars in various ways, sometimes willingly, but not once have I utilised this particular means of egress. I'll have to try it sometime. Mind you, it sure looks like Harry is getting squeezed into unconsciousness, so maybe not. A few patrons reappear to watch Harry's odd exit.
Nancy does her best not to giggle at the doll she is using as a prop.
Good for her. The Chief decides now that Nancy has someone in her hand this is the perfect time to shoot at her with his pistol.
Good thinking, Chief. He decides to move up to his "riot gun"
but Dr. Cushing points out (finally) that he may hit Harry. Nancy decides to take a stroll with her hubby.
We get several different views of Big Nancy showing off her curves.
Nancy is back over by the power lines, for some reason, although we can't see the Harry doll in her hand. Probably just as well.
Nancy somehow appears on the other side of the power lines,
and The Chief uses this opportunity
to shoot out a transformer near Nancy's face.
Well, that's not very gentlemanly! This explosion/electrocution causes two things: 1-Nancy begins to glow like a lightning bug
and 2-Nancy slowly kneels into a sitting position
and then eventually kind of fall over with her Harry doll still in hand.
This brings the crowd over to gape at our freshly electrocuted giantess. This is, I think, the best use of special effects in the entire film.
We can see the regular sized actors in the background, a non see-through Big Nancy and the giant hand clutching Harry. If the rest of the film matched this bit for effects it would have been much better. And t wouldn't be featured in any B movie list, including this one, so I guess I should be thankful. As the sheriff expresses regret,
Dr. Cushing makes his way through the crowd to check on Harry, but he is decidedly dead.
Probably crushed by his wife's enormous mitts, but saved from an electrocution.
Some sad music to underscore that Nancy and Harry died in each others arms (sort of)
and then Dr. Cushing gets the last line of the film: "She finally got Harry all to herself".
Well, it's not exactly a King Kong closing line, but I guess it will do. The End!
Things I learned from this movie: 1-radioactivity is a mysterious thing that makes women become very tall and blonde,
...and partially transparent,
2-interstellar voyagers like cramped (partially transparent) vehicles,
...and to dress up like Roman gladiators,
3- the director of this film, Nathan Juran,
also directed several other B-movie classics, including The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad and 20 Million Miles To Earth. One of his early efforts was as art director on How Green Was My Valley
in 1941 (!). Juran was so embarrassed by the final cut of Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman that he is credited using his first and middle name only: Nathan Hertz.
4- the entire movie was filmed in eight days...and it shows.
5- Yvette Vickers, who also played a tart in Attack Of The Giant Leeches,
remained in Hollywood, touring the B-movie circuits (yes, there are some).
Vickers became increasingly withdrawn and hermit-like as she aged, until in April, 2011 her neighbour, Susan Savage checked on her only to discover that she had died many months before, alone in her dilapidated house.
Vickers partially mummified remains were autopsied and it was discovered she had died of heart failure nearly a year previous.
6- A.O.T.F.F.W cost $88,000 to make but made $480,000 (in 1958 dollars). The main movie goers? Teen aged boys hoping Allison Hayes (Nancy)
would have a fifty foot wardrobe malfunction. (She didn't) Hayes also died tragically.
Depending on who you talk to, either from leukaemia or lead poisoning caused by the medicine given to her to "treat" the leukaemia. She was forty six.
7- William Hudson (Harry) played a giant in his own movie: The Amazing Colossal Man,
in 1957, the year before "Woman" was filmed. No word on if he had pointers for Allison Hayes. His voice can be heard sampled at the beginning of the Rob Zombie song "Demon Speeding", where he is saying "Why don't you ask me what it feels like to be a freak?"
8- Rumour had it that a big-budget remake of "Woman" was to be made in the mid 1980's starring Sybil Danning,
in all of her R-rated glory. Thankfully, it never progressed further. Bad enough we ended up being saddled with Darryl Hannah's artistic "vision" of Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman.
And now, ladies and germs, my final "Guess That Mess": ready?
If you picked the small, furry barbershop trio, you win! Still nothing, but still a win! Thanks for reading my blog. This will be my very last one. Take care.