I've always been facinated by prehistoric monsters and in 1960 was treated to yet another film featuring dinosaurs. "Dinosaurus" which used the stop-motion technique made famous by Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen. The effects were not as sharp as those in "King Kong" and "It Came From Beneath The Sea" but to a young boy they were exciting. Basically the story involves the discovery of two dinosaurs on a Caribbean island along with a caveman. What follows is how the construction crew who finds the trio deals with them. There are some comedic items with the caveman. It featured Ward Ramsey, Paul Lukather and Kristina Hanson and left the door open for a sequel that never came. Interesting enough the lead role was intended for Steve McQueen who had starred in the same company's "The Blob" some years prior.
"Beyond The Time Barrier" was next. A pilot breaks the sound barrier and heads into a nuclear war devastated United States in the year 2024 where the population lives in an underground city because outside a race of insane mutants hold the fort. The pilot is needed by the underground dwellers to help repopulate the civilization as there have been no births in 20-years and there is only one fertile woman left. The pilot (Robert Clarke who once portrayed "The Hideous Sun Demon) escapes during a major gun battle between the city dwellers and the mutants and gets in his plane and repeats the process returning to 1960. Upon arrival he is taken to a hospital and has aged tremendously warning the doctors and military about what will happen and one does say we have a lot to think about.
This was released on a double feature with "The Amazing Transparent Man" with Douglas Kennedy as a safe cracker named Joey Faust who is hired by a former military officer who wants an army of invisible men. Paul Krenner (James Griffith) is forcing Dr. Peter Ulof to conduct the experiments using nuclear material to perfect the invisibility machine. Faust is made invisible and plots to get away but is dying from the radiation. Faust overpowers Krenner and the house explodes in an atomic blast.
It was then time for funny space stuff with the alien Kreton (Jerry Lewis) coming to earth in "Visit To A Small Planet". He wants to spend time with the earth people but his teacher takes away his abilities and Kreton becomes an earth man but realizes it's not worth it and returns to his planet.
I've not seen "The Tell-Tale Heart" in years but did see it in the movies when it came out. A librarian (Laurence Payne) becomes infatuated with his neighbor (Adrienne Corri) and kills her lover, burying him under the floorboards of his piano room. He begins to think he hears the sound of the man's heartbeat and goes completely insane.
"The Witch's Curse" is a combination of fantasy and peplum (Sword and Sandal) which involves the tale of Maciste (Kirk Morris) who has come forth to fight evil.
"Black Sunday" with Barbara Steele in two roles, one of a witch burned at the stake in the 1600's having a mask with spikes hammered into her face. She vows revenge on her brother's family. Two centuries later a doctor and his assistant traveling through the country of Moldavia, by accident release the witch Asa. They meet Katia (also played by Steele) and they go to her father's castle. Asa summons her assistant Javuto and plan to drain Katia of her blood restoring Asa to immortality. The assistant, Dr. Gorobec with the assistance of a priest managed to destroy both Asa and Javuto.
Outerspace would be a theme that I would see in movies throughout the year with man traveling to space and man fighting invaders. Starting with "Atomic Submarine", "Assignment Outerspace" and from Toho, "Battle In Outerspace". "Atomic Submarine" had a veteran "B" cast of Arthur Franz, Brett Halsey, Tom Conway and Dick Foran, a "black-book", a one-eyed alien and melting humans. The melting humans really did get to me, somewhat graphic for the time. "Assignment Outerspace" dubbed in English featuring a reporter for the Interplanetary News joining a crew exploring a newly discovered gallery but encounter a deadly wandering spaceship, the Alpha 2. It starred Ric Van Nutter who would later portray Felix Leiter in one of the Sean Connery "James Bond" films. We're in the 21st Century and I've yet to see the Interplanetary News. The third was "Battle In Outerspace" from Toho, a sort of follow-up to their 1957 "The Mysterians" with some of the same characters but a different race of invaders, from the planet "Netal". Released through Columbia Pictures, aliens in sleek flying saucers caused trains to fall off their tracks, and caused havoc on Earth. A united Earth force brings the battle to the moon and destroys the alien base but the aliens launch a counterattack on the Earth, specifically Tokyo. Lot's of battles between earth ships and the Netals who bring in their "mother ship".
We would keep to earth for a while and dealt with witchcraft. "Black Sunday" with Barbara Steele, John Richardson and Ivo Garrani directed by Mario Bava who would scare movie goers in later years with "Planet of The Vampires" which was one inspiration for "Alien", "Baron Blood" and "Twitch Of The Death Nerve". I didn't realize it at the time but Barbara Steele was a top horror star in Europe appearing in "The Horrible Dr.Hitchcock" "Castle Of Blood" and Roger Corman's "Pit And The Pendulum"
Looking at Steele's face after a mask with spikes was hammered into it was a memory that would stay with me for years. And of course she didn't come back from the grave alone, she had her henchman help her and Bava's use of shadows also increased the terror in the film.
Dr.Rossiter was not the kind of surgeon you would want. Oh he was brilliant...mad at the same time performing plastic surgery on women but sometimes it didn't work and he didn't stop as long as his theories were practiced. Anton Diffring played the doctor in "Circus Of Horrors". Rossiter, just one step ahead of the law takes over a circus from a drunken Donald Pleasance and fills it with beautiful women who come from questionable backgrounds. Murderers, street-walkers, you know the kind but the problem is Rossiter, now calling himself Schuler won't let his creations leave and each one meets a grisly end thus giving the circus the name "The Jinx Circus". Schuler's plans un-ravel when his first patient shows up and recognizes him and runs the doctor down with her car.