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The Cosmic Monsters - Review

(a.k.a. Cosmic Monsters)

A Review by Mike Bogue

2Ĺ Stars - Pretty Good

(Released in the U.S. on July 7, 1958, by Distributors Corporation of America (DCA).)





Direction:†Gilbert Gunn

Screenplay:†Paul Ryder

Music:†Robert Sharples

Producer:†George Maynard




The Cosmic Monsters Still. Tell your friends, ďHeís mad Ė mad I tell you!Ē† But be that as it may, I actually waited twenty-seven years to see this movie!† Ever since I read a terse (and unkind) review of the film in Castle of Frankenstein #8 (1966 issue), Iíve wanted to behold this tale of giant radioactive insects on the loose in England.

During the sixties, it didnít help when I noticed via out-of-town newspapers that Cosmic Monster was showing on TV stations hundreds of miles away.† ďWhy canít it come on one of our local stations?Ē I fumed inside.† (I also fumed outside, but thatís another story.)

Time passed (doesnít it always?), and though I shoved the desire to see Cosmic Monster to the nether regions of my cranial cinemahouse, I knew I would watch it if ever given the chance.† Well, that chance came when I purchased the movie as a used video off ebay in 2003.† (Yes, I could have bought it years earlier, but paying over fifteen bucks for a sight-unseen film that might barf cactus teeth is not my cup of creature feature frugality.)

Now that I have finally beheld 1958ís Cosmic Monster in my fortysomething years, what can I say?† Well, for one thing, itís Great Britainís only bona fide Big Bug flick.† In addition, despite the usual critical brickbats hurled at it, Cosmic Monster is a fairly enjoyable (albeit severely budget-strapped) story of an English scientist whose experiments smack a hole in the ionosphere; this causes a small portion of England to be inundated with cosmic rays that bloat the local bugs to Real Big Proportions.† Fortunately, the enigmatic Mr. Smith, a superior but friendly alien monitoring the scientistís ill-conceived activities, saves the day.

While the effects are almost all rear-screen projections, and though you almost never see humans and bugs in the same scenes, the film nevertheless achieves a minor frisson at times.† Three best scenes:

The Cosmic Monsters Still.

  • the heroine caught in a giant spiderís web while the spider subdues a colossal cockroach in the background;
  • a giant ant literally munching on a soldierís face (quite graphic for a fifties flick!);
  • and a teacher trapped inside a small schoolhouse while the big bugs outside try to break in.

Now I couldnít and wouldnít proclaim that Cosmic Monster is an underrated classic Ė it isnít. †Itís not even a minor classic, nor a sub-minor near-classic.† But it is a mildly diverting, albeit low-rent example of fifties sci-fi/horror from the land of Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus.

Now if only I could find a copy of The Earth Dies Screaming . . .



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