outerspace

Queen of Schlock! Juan Piquer Simón

For me, watching b-movies means more than just 1950s scifi, it means exploring all decades and genres. The world of b-movies has gems that can be found in any given form. On Friday nights we have a watch party and in some cases we have themes (director, era, genre, actor/actress, season) and we had been watching 1950s/1960s monsters on a beach type movies (on YouTube). At the end of the movies suggestions pop up based on what you are watching (normally) and a few Juan Piquer Simón movies popped up, including Slugs and Pieces.

A little more about Juan Piquer Simón. Juan Piquer Simón was a Spanish film director best known for directing two cult classic horror exploitation films, Pieces (1982) and Slugs: The Movie (1988). Juan Piquer Simón also directed two Jules Verne-based films, Where Time Began (1976) and Mystery on Monster Island (1981), as well as The Supersonic Man in 1979, and The Pod People in 1983 (which was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000). He also directed Cthulhu Mansion and The Rift, both in 1990. {source Wikipedia)

There are quite a few trailers for Juan Piquer Simón’s movies and the only full movies I could find so far are Cthulu Mansion (1992), Pieces (1982) and Slugs (1988) I unfortunately, cannot post them here because they are age restricted for 18+ and you will need to go to YouTube directly to see them, with the exception of Cthulu Mansion (1992) (that isn’t an 18+ movie), you will find it below. I am going to post bunch of trailers as well, so you can get a taste.

I am on a search to find services that stream his movies and when I find them, I will update this blog post.

Supersonic Man (1979)

Mystery of Monster Island (1981)

Pieces (1982)

Slugs (1988)

Cthulu Mansion (1992)(full movie)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Bert I. Gordon

Who wants to go down a Bert I. Gordon rabbit hole with me! I see you out there! Raise your hands! That’s better. Here we go!

Bert Ira Gordon is an American filmmaker, producer, writer and visual effects artist. He is best known for writing and directing science fiction and horror B-movies such as King Dinosaur (1955), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Earth vs. the Spider (1958), Village of the Giants (1965), and Empire of the Ants (1977). {source Wikipedia} As of posting this, Bert is 98 years old.

Many of the movies he created, whether it be as a producer, writer or creating the special effects, can be found on many streaming services and in most cases are public domain. I’ve seen most of his movies, (and more than once) either on YouTube or from one of the many b-movie box sets I own. I find his movies to be extremely entertaining and I’m never disappointed. We’ve even shown a few at Killer B Cinema and I know we will continue to do so, once it’s safe for us to resume our monthly movie night.

Bert I. Gordon’s style of movie making has inspired many others and you will see him being thanked often in the credits. His movies are also a favourite for programs such as MST3K and Rifftracks. We also have a lot of fun with commentary when watching.

1957 and 1958 seemed to be the year that many movie makers decided to release low budget creature features. Many of these movies included giant bugs. One of my favourite Bert I. Gordon produced movies is The Beginning of the End, which is about monster size, radioactive locust attacking the United States.

I am going to post a few of his movies below, most of these were made in 1957. They are all on YouTube. There are so many more Bert I. Gordon movies out there, these are a few of my all time favourites. What is your favourite Bert I. Gordon movie?

The Beginning of the End (1957)

Cyclops (1957)(trailer)

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) Trivia: there is a tribute to H.G. Wells. Keep an eye out for it.

War of the Colossal Beast (1958)

Earth vs the Spider (1958)

Attack of the Puppet People (1958)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Beginning of the End

Beginning of the End is a 1957  science fiction film produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon. It stars Peter GravesPeggie Castle, and Morris Ankrum. An agricultural scientist, played by Graves, successfully grows gigantic vegetables using radiation. Unfortunately, the vegetables are eaten by locusts (the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers), which quickly grow to a gigantic size and attack the nearby city of Chicago. Beginning of the End is generally known for its “atrocious” special effects, “and yet,” writes reviewer Bill Warren, “there is something almost compellingly watchable about this goofy little movie”. {source Wikipedia}

If you are into 1950s b-movies about giant bugs, this is your movie! It stars two of my favourite b-movie actors Peggy Castle and Peter Graves and has some of the best/worst special effects you could possibly hope for! Many critics suggest that Bert. I. Gordon was taking advantage of the success of Them! (my all time favourite giant bug movie), but I say Pswah to those critics. This movie is a lot of fun! I have seen this movie a few times and love introducing it to other b-movie fans. It’s also a great movie to watch if you need some light, fun entertainment.

The movie gets right into the action in the opening scene. One of my issues with many other creature features is you don’t always see actions this fast, or the creature reveal doesn’t happen until halfway through the movie. If you want to get my attention and keep me engaged, get your creature on the move right from the get go! You don’t necessarily need to show us it’s hideousness in all of its glory immediately, but at least give us a taste.

If you are a fan of really bad special effects, then you honestly need to give this movie a watch. My favourite part is when you see the bugs sliding off of the…. “building”. You will understand when you watch it. My other favourite scene is when the army arrives to fight the giant locust.

The bonus is, you can watch it for free on YouTube! Them! isn’t available there. (though I strongly suggest you seek out a copy)

If you watch and enjoy this movie, I suggest that you get to know Bert I. Gordon a bit better. Here are a few of this other movies that I highly recommend.

The Amazing Colossal Man 1957
Earth vs The Spider 1958
Attack of the Puppet People 1958
Empire of the Ants 1977

What is your favourite giant bug movie?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Summer of Giant Insects

Ah yes! It’s that time of year again. Summer is beginning and so is the invasion of bugs… insects… critters. I thought, what better way to prepare for the many mosquito/black fly bites and invasion of ants, wasps and hornets, is to share some of my giant insect movies with you!

I will have to say if you can only watch one of these, I strongly suggest Them! It is beyond brilliant. If you can squeeze a second one in and need your William Shatner cheese fix, also watch Kingdom of Spiders.

There are so, so many more giant insect movies out there, but these are my all time favourites.

When possible I will post links to full movies.

Them! (1954) trailer

The Beginning of the End (1957)

Monster from Green Hell (1957)

The Deadly Mantis (1957) trailer

The Black Scorpion (1957) trailer

Cosmic Monsters (1958)

Killer Bees (1974)

The Savage Bees (1976)

Empire of the Ants (1977)

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Claudia Barrett

When I started getting interested in b-movies from the 1950s, one of the very first movies I watched was Monster Robot. That was many, many moons ago. It did two things for me, made me realize how much I loved the baddest of the bad and introduced me to Claudia Barrett.

If you are unaware of what Robot Monster is, it was made in 1953 and has one of the most iconic monster costumes in the history of monster costumes. It also stars Claudia Barrett as Alice. The Ro-man is sent to earth to destroy humanity and runs afoul when he becomes attracted to the human Alice. She is the eldest daughter of a surviving scientist, and he refuses to harm her. The movie itself if pretty dark, especially if you pay attention to the actual story. Claudia is perfection and am sure was and still is the iconic b-movie goddess.

When I heard of her death (April 30, 2021), I read many tributes to her and in the eyes of her friends, family and colleagues she was and absolutely wonderful, giving person and loved by many.

Claudia’s career was mostly in television, but for b-movie fans, she will always be remembered for Robot Monster. Claudia loved being an actress and even after her agent told her not to take the now iconic role in Robot Monster, she accepted the offer anyway. Here is a quote from her. “When you decide to make a movie, the decision is made for various reasons: money, fame, or working with a particular star or director. I just wanted to act. I was a professional actress for 14 years, and I really loved the business. And Robot Monster was a movie I enjoyed making.”

In 1964, Claudia Barrett retired from acting, but stayed in show business, working in her dream job for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She passed away from natural causes at the age of 91.

I think a fun way to toast Claudia is to give Robot Monster a watch!

(this isn’t the greatest copy, if you find a free/better copy, please let me know)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Peggie Castle

Once up on a time, in a place called Hollywood Land a beautiful blonde was discovered while sipping a malt in a drug store. Is this fantasy? Or. Is this reality. The story of how Lana Turner was discovered has always been a driving factor for why so many actresses migrated to Hollywood. They pinned their hopes on being discovered in an every day setting. Many said that the Lana Turner story was only made up for publicity, yet, there are many actresses who have a very similar story. One of those actresses is Peggy Castle.

Peggy was discovered by a talent scout while eating in a restaurant in Beverly Hills and soon after signed a seven year deal with Universal-International. In the 30s/50s many starlets would be signed to long contracts and only be used as bit players (if they were even that lucky). Being signed to a studio didn’t guarantee work. In Peggy’s case, she was off to the races almost immediately making her debut in a When a Girl’s Beautiful. (1947) This movie was followed up by Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949), Payment on Demand (1951), The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951) Invasion U.S.A. (1952), Wagons West (1952), 99 River Street (1953), Beginning of the End (1957) and Arrivederci Roma (1957),  and Hell’s Crossroads (1957).

Eventually, she moved onto television, starring mostly in westerns.

Sadly, Peggy died at the young age of 45 from cirrhosis due to alcoholism.

One of my favourites of all of her movies is Beginning of the End (1957). I have posted it below along with as many of her other movies that I was able to find. Enjoy!

Invasion USA (1952)

Finger Man (1955)

Hell’s Crossroads (1957)

Back From the Dead (1957)

Beginning of the End (1957)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Beach Party Monsters!

As soon as the warm weather hits, so does the craving for Beach Party Monster Movies/Creature Features. I generally kick if all of with all of The Creature From The Black Lagoon movies, even though they aren’t technically beach movies, they still are my all time favourite creature features.

If you want to watch along, I’ve created a list below of the ones we’ve watched or will be soon. These are mostly 1950s/60s bmovies, but as you know, it seems to be the era that is my go to!

When possible, I post links to full movies.

It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)(trailer) This movie is a lot of fun and if you can find a copy of it, I highly recommend it, the special effects make it all worth while!

The Horror of Party Beach (1964) This movie has it all! A cheesy monster, a beach, music and babes! The dialogue and acting might be laughable, but it’s a fun watch, especially just before heading the beachside.

The Beach Girls and The Monster (1965) I‘ve lost count how many times I’ve watched this movie and I keep coming back for more. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good prints of it out there. This seems to be the best. One day I hope to track down a bluRay copy!

The Monster of Piedras Blanca (1959) Another favourite. Mostly because…. well.. wait until you see the costume!

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) The first time I saw this movie was when I was a kid. I watched it with my dad and remember laughing all the way through it. When I rewatched it as an adult and wondered if I was high on sugar as a child. Either way, another bmovie winner for creature features.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Peggy Webber

One of my all time favourite b-movies/horror movies is The Screaming Skull. I’ve mentioned this several dozen times and if you know me, you’ve likely watched it with me. I love everything about it from the sets, to the jump scares, to the cinematography, but me most favourite part, is Peggy Webber.

Peggy Webber is an incredibly versatile actress and performer who I was first introduced to via old time radio broadcasts. (I’ve done a post about them here) If you are a fan of old time radio programs you may have heard her on a variety of shows including, The Dreft Star Playhouse, Dragnet (approximately 100 episodes), Pete Kelly’s Blues, The Damon Runyon Theatre, and The Man Called X and Sears Radio Theatre. Oh, but her talent doesn’t end there, Peggy wrote and directed hundreds stage plays, radio and television programs.

Peggy Webber worked continually in television and voice acting and retired in 2005. I wonder what she thinks of the popularity of her 1958 horror movie these days or the fact that she was literally one of the very first scream queens. Have you heard her scream? It’s spectacular!

The Screaming Skull is moody, creepy an a lot of fun to watch. Peggy Webber’s Jenni Witlock would be the inspiration for the half out their mind, tormented character you would see in future horror movies. She is incredibly brilliant and is the reason I keep going back and watching it over and over again. Of course, let’s not forget her fantastic wardrobe. I insist that you go and watch this movie right now! Don’t give me excuses! Just do it! I’ve also written a blog post about The Screaming Skull, which you should also go read!

Peggy has been a very private person for most of her life, so there isn’t much written about her personal life.

Peggy was also in another memorable movie called The Space Children. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend it.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Zsa Zsa Gabor is The Queen of Outer Space!

Socialite, beauty queen and one of a trio of Hungarian born actress sisters, Zsa Zsa Garbor was known for so much more than her beauty, glamour and many marriages. AND when I say so much more — I mean b-movies. I could write a long post about her very colourful past, but instead, I’m going to talk about a b-movie she made, because it is spectacular, she is spectacular! The whole thing just brings me so much joy! That movie is the Queen of Outerspace!

The Queen of Outer Space is a 1958 Allied Artist picture that runs 80 minutes and is shot in Cinemascope, was produced by Ben Schwalb and directed by Edward Bernds. The movie is about a revolt against a cruel Venusian queen, and was originally titled Queen of the Universe.

The sets, the costumes and the soundtrack is out of the world! As a matter of fact, you will recognize sets, models and costumes from other outer space themed movies such as Forbidden Planet (1956) and World Without End (1956). It wasn’t unusual for low budget movies to borrow or reuse sets, costumes and other materials from previous productions. Even the rocket ship was from another movie, a comic by Huntz Hall in the 1954 Bowery Boys comedy Paris Playboys. All of this only adds to the beauty of this movie.

Now let’s get back to Zsa Zsa. She is sheer perfection in this movie and as the true hero. I’ve seen this movie twice and continue to drool over her glorious costumes, which she knows how to showcase. Every time she comes on screen, her presence overshadows everything else going on. Zsa Zsa definitely steals the entire show. This is a must watch movie for all b-movie fans.

A copy of the full movie can be found over on Daily Motion. Here is a link or click on the video below.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Bad Girls

Vamp, Vixen, Sassy, Sinful, Smart Ass, Wilful, Wiley, Badass, Bitch… The many, many names that bad girls get called. Personally, when I think about my favourite bad girls, I use words like tough, fierce, independent, resourceful, stubborn, motivated, clever, street-smart, and a word shared with the other list, sassy. It has always bugged me that women who won’t put up with anyone’s guff end up with the first list of names and labels. Even to this day, society is still both intrigued and frightened of the bad girl.

They’ve been around since the beginning of time and will be here when it all ends. They are your grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and friends. Some are there to help you learn life’s hard lessons while others are there to save your sorry asses. What ever end of the spectrum they fall in, they all deserve our respect.

Ok.. speech over. Now onto my favourite bad girls.

I was first introduced to Theda Bara by my Great Grandpa Bill. He loved Silent Film and her really loved Theda Bara. Sadly, not a lot of Theda’s work still exists on film, but if you are lucky you can still catch short clips of her on YouTube. Some of the only things that still exist are a short clip of her as Cleopatra, and a couple short films. (The Unchastened Woman (1925)/Madame Mystery (1926)/45 Minutes from Hollywood (1926))

Clara Bow will always be my sassy favourite! Not only could she act, she could hold her own to any man. Both in life and on screen she was a force! Clara was a tour de force in Silent Film and once she found her footing, a joy to watch in The Talkies! A few of my all time favourite Clara Bow movies are It (1927), Hoop-la (1933), Children of Divorce (1927), Call Her Savage (1932) and Wings (1927).

The first time I fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck was when I saw Night Nurse (1931). Her character Lora Hart, was tough, dedicated and took no guff, not even from the handsome bundle of trouble Nick, played by Clark Gable. She had a job and she was going to do it if it killed her. Many of Barbara’s roles in the late 1920s and the pre-code years of the 1930s had her playing gritty, down to earth women who had to fight to stay alive. It’s that spunk and determination that has always drawn me to her. As with many of her characters, Barbara Stanwyck had a hard childhood and had to learn early to fend for herself. This bad ass lady deserves everyone’s respect!

My favourite Barbara Stanwyck movies are Ten Cents A Dance (1931), Night Nurse (1931), Babyface (1933), Stella Dallas (1937), Meet John Doe (1941) and Lady of Burlesque (1943).

Bette Davis is the queen of the bad girls. Her most famous bad girl role and one of my absolute favourite of all of her films is Of Human Bondage. She oozes everything in that movie, from sex appeal to horribleness! She showed the world how incredibly talented she was and to this day, I have yet to see a performance to equal that. Like any actress at that time, she would do what was necessary to succeed and never look back! She was tough, driven and successful, setting a standard for others that would be hard to follow. She knew what she wanted and got it.

My list of bad girls wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include the illustrious Joan Crawford. She oozed a glamour that was blinding. Many actresses of that era started out as chorus girls. It was a way on stage and a foot into the door known as Hollywood. Joan worked her way up from the chorus lines of Detroit and onto movie screens. Joan Crawford started out in Silent Film and her long career lasted until the 1970s.

I tend to favour more of Joan’s Silent Films, but am also a huge fan of her work in the 1940s.

Last, but certainly not least is Tura Satana! The badass of all badass women! Tura lead a very amazing and colourful life, with parts of that life being incredibly tough. Tura was a survivor of sexual assault, domestic abuse and had to take care of herself from the age of 15. She was a burlesque dancer, a photographic model for Harold Lloyd (yes, that Harold Lloyd) and turned down Elvis when he asked her to marry him. I can’t wait for the documentary about her life to come out!

Two of my all time favourite Tura Satana movies is The Doll Squad (1973) and Faster Pussy! Cat Kill! Kill! (1965) By the way and for those of you wondering, she knew martial arts. She wasn’t just faking it for the cameras.

Who are some of your favourite badass actresses?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!