14 October 2013 | Squonkamatic
This movie likely won't be of much use to the bulk of humans infesting the surface of the planet Earth. But it may interest Boris Karloff fans and amateur theatrical detectives who like to dissect bad movies like lab specimens. What you get here is one of the most disjointed and bizarre films ever made, a combination of what appear to be two films edited to seem like a larger whole. The first movie consists of about thirty minutes of footage featuring Boris Karloff playing a white suited scientist who invents a disintegrator ray device. The were filmed on soundstages in southern California, with some ending up in this film and others in FEAR CHAMBER, THE SNAKE PEOPLE and HOUSE OF EVIL.
The second movie was filmed after his scenes were completed in Mexico and attempts to match the Hollywood scenes with actors -- some the same -- wearing similar costumes on similar sets, reciting more or less similar toned dialog & engaged in similar actions. Idea being that they are on one side of the room and Karloff on the other: Sometimes characters who were present for both sessions walk back and forth between the scenes, which is quite strange. Their hairstyles and lighting changes subtly, creating a disjointed viewing experience that overwhelms whatever the script was about.
If memory serves, a space alien in what can only be described as an Art Neveau flying saucer gets wind of the disintegrator ray and decides it is too great a threat for mankind to posses. The alien looks like Yahoo Serious and wears a silver lame space jump suit that reminded me of David Bowie from THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. So did some of the flying saucer's design elements, consisting mostly of beakers with colored fluids bubbling through them. The spaceship is mostly shown from the inside too, requiring the viewer to sort of have to take the director's word for it's existence.
The alien takes possession of various cast members and compels them to sabotage the disintegrator ray, which is probably for the best after the local military gets wind of the situation and decides they want a portable version to serve as a weapon. This results in several conversation scenes where characters veer from the California shoot to the Mexican footage. It's a great lesson in how a film can be constructed, and we can only hope that we can learn from it or the seventy three minutes it runs is a waste.
Fans of Boris Karloff will likely be pleased, he's on screen a bit in this one and looks great in that white suit which sharp viewers will recognize as the same one from THE SNAKE PEOPLE, likely filmed earlier that day. Others are well warned to try something else.