Roger Corman Sci-Fi Triple Feature: War of the Satellites / Trailer Collection (1958)
WAR OF THE SATELLITES: Wanting to cash in on the launching of Russia's Sputnik satellite, director Roger Corman hastily made this Earthlings vs evil aliens space opera. The trouble begins when an extraterrestrial warns humans that any attempt to send a man into orbit will result in the destruction of the planet. Despite his threats, the stubborn U.N. agrees that Mankind must not be stopped and so call in a prominent astro-scientist to begin preparations for the first manned space flight. Unfortunately, he is killed in an accident. Eventually another scientist is given the task. Just before the launch, the supposedly dead scientist (actually his alien-reanimated corpse) shows up with dire warnings. Even though it is suspected that the recently returned researcher is a zombie, he is allowed on the first flight. Once in the air, he tries all he can to sabotage the mission.
This disc also contains over 25 trailers produced and directed by Roger Corman!
Roger Corman Triple Feature: Attack of the Crab Monsters / Not of This Earth (1957)
ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTHERS: A group of scientists arrive on a remote Pacific island to investigate what became of the previous team, which was sent out there as observers of American hydrogen bomb tests and disappeared without a trace. They island is uninhabited and devoid even of most animal life, except for a few land crabs. The group's arrival is marred by the death of one of the navy crewmen accompanying them, who falls into the ocean and comes up with his head taken off. Then the navy plane that carried them there is blown out of the sky before it can get airborne, leaving them stranded and unaccounted for. Led by Dale Drewer (Richard Garland) and Dr. Karl Weigand (Leslie E. Bradley), they find the journal of the previous team, but no explanation of what happened to them, only that they'd noticed evidence of strange creatures and inexplicable physical phenomena on the island. Soon the scientists are hearing the voices of members of the previous scientific party, calling to them in the night. Their own radio is sabotaged and something has been probing the area where they're living; finally, the group is lured into the caverns where the real menace is hiding -- gigantic, bloodthirsty mutated land crabs that communicate telepathically and seem to have all of the knowledge of the previous team's members. One by one, all but three of the members -- Brewer, electrical engineer Hank Chapman (Russell Johnson), and scientist Martha Hunter (Pamela Duncan) -- are killed off and their minds and memories absorbed by the mutant crabs, who also have the power to focus infrared radiation into deadly, destructive beams that they use to gradually pulverize large sections of the island. By the end, a single giant crab has run the trio to ground on a remaining parcel of land just a few dozen yards across.
NOT OF THIS EARTH: One of Roger Corman's finest science-fiction endeavors of the 1950s, Not of This Earth is an excellent film by any standards. Paul Birch stars as Johnson, a taciturn gentleman in a dark business suit who hires nurse Nadine (Beverly Garland) to care for him. Curious that Johnson needs constant blood transfusions, Dr. Rochelle (William Roerick), Nadine's boss, discovers to his horror that Johnson has no blood of his own! Before he can make this information public, Rochelle is telepathically enslaved by the emotionless Johnson. It soon develops that Johnson is a space alien, sent from his home planet to see if the blood of earthlings can be used by his dying race -- the first step in their ultimate takeover of the world. The scenes involving hyperkinetic vacuum salesman Piper (Dick Miller) are the film's highlights, simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. Originally released on a double bill with Attack of the Crab Monsters, Not of This Earth was indifferently remade twice, in 1988 and 1996.