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Saturday, September 16, 2006
Review: From Hell It Came (WTF-film)
From Hell It Came is set in the tropics and we open with a bunch of Americans playing natives and dispensing some savage justice. Allegedly this guy murdered his own father who was the tribal chief with the help of American scientists who are on the island studying the effects of radioactive fallout and trying to cure a plague of some sort. He claims it was really the tribal doctor who offed his pops on behalf of the guy who took over as chief and vows to come back to seek revenge on those who set him up. He then gets a knife through the heart and is buried in what looks like a hollowed out tree.
Over in the American's camp, we see the typical scientists including the guy chasing after the frigid lady scientist. There's also Mrs. Kilgore, a wacky "Australian" woman whose ever other word is "bloomin'". The natives are now forbidden to deal with the scientists and they're beginning to worry they may soon be under attack.
However, the guy from the first scene has started his revenge. The scientists notice a tree stump starting to grow from his grave site. Pretty soon, it's grown into this big old evil tiki looking thing the natives call Tabanga. The scientists pull it out of the ground to examine it and, after they kill it and then bring it back to life, the killing begins.
The monster is kinda cool to look at, but he's about as stiff as a walking sheet of plywood. Speaking of stiff, there isn't much to write home about in the acting departement either.
I guess I should applaud the fact that the "natives" don't all speak unga-bunga English. However, it is a bit disorienting that all of the main natives speak perfect American English. If they weren't all dressed in strips of floral prints, it'd be really hard to tell the "natives" from the non-natives.
Well, except for Mrs. Kilgore. I have to wonder if they just couldn't find a boomerang for her to toss or a pet koala to hang around becuase her every line of dialogue screams out "Hey! Don't forget I'm supposed to be Australian!" She was the one character in the movie I was rooting for to die, but since she wasn't the pretty woman or a native, she was in the clear.
From Hell It Came is an excellent example of golden age drive-in horror. Not that it's an excellent film, mind you. I found it entertaining, but your mileage may vary.
What's interesting is From Hell It Came was a staple of Creature Feature programs but has never been officially released on home video. I don't know if it's a rights issue or what, but I'd think a movie like this that so many people saw and remember fondly would be worth someone's time to release. But that's where WTF-flim's disc comes in.
Apparently previous video versions of this movie have looked pretty bad. I'm happy to report WTF's disc is just a small notch below what one would expect from a commercial DVD release of B movie of this age. Apparently this was taken from a French television broadcast and the print used is in excellent shape. The only problem I saw were a couple of small digital blips typical of satelite television.
However, there is a catch. This being a French broadcast means non-removable French subtitles. Truthfully, I didn't find them that much of an inconvience. Granted, I'd rather not seen them, but you can certaintly ignore them without too much trouble. The subtitles aren't mentioned on the packaging, but it was clearly mentioned in the item description when I bought the disc.
Speaking of packaging, once again WTF-films has created a really first class looking package. I used to not care about these things, but I'm really starting to appreciate classy covers on DVD-R releases. I also appreciate the fact that WTF has included the prologue and end credits from the TV version (which also shows how poor the old video version kicking around looks) as well as an image gallery. Touches like these indicate WTF-flims commitment to the films, not just turning a buck.
Personally, I dig this disc. I would recommend it with the reservation that you might be bothered by having all the dialog on the screen in French. I know there are a couple of othere people offering this movie, but I don't know if the picture is as good. I'm willing to trade off non-removable subs for a print that is substantially better than the old video floating around and if you are too, I hightly suggest you check out this disc.
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You should market this to local high school French classes as a learning aid. You could get a finder's fee!
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