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10 Sci-Fi Movies From The 1950s That Are Still Relevant Today

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10 Sci-Fi Movies From The 1950s That Are Still Relevant Today

With constantly evolving technology, science-fiction films tend to age rapidly. What was once groundbreaking special effects soon become outdated with new innovations in technology, production, and CGI. Despite the technological advances, it’s the themes of science-fiction that withstand the test of time and play to our fears of the future. 1950s sci-fi films produced at the height of the Cold War tackle themes that still remain relevant today.

Related: 2022: How Accurate Were SciFi Movie Predictions?

The sci-fi genre is one of the most innovative film genres. Often serving as a useful means for discussing sensitive issues, the genre provides thoughtful social commentary on the issues that plague humanity. Although the thematic concerns of the genre often illustrate the particular concerns of the time, many of these films tap into matters concerning the universal human condition, allowing them to transcend the era in which they were produced.

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When Worlds Collide (1951)

When an astronomer makes the horrifying discovery that a distant star is hurtling its way towards Earth, the United Nations is alerted more than eight months before the predicted collision. However, despite the evidence provided, the scientists struggle to convince humanity of the weight of the threat, with many groups calling it a mere conspiracy theory.

Seventy years before Adam McKay’s 2021 film Don’t Look Up, Rudolph Maté’s When Worlds Collide is an early example of how humanity reacts to the threat of extinction. With a rocket constructed to transport the select few to safety, the film sees humanity fight among themselves as well as time. In the modern age of “fake news,” When Worlds Collide remains relevant by emphasizing the dangers of failing to heed the warnings of scientists and humanity’s own self-destructive tendencies.

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On The Beach (1959)

Stanley Kramer’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi film On The Beach is based on Nevil Schute’s 1957 novel of the same name. Following the survivors from the aftermath of a nuclear war that impacted the Northern Hemisphere, Australia is the only place on Earth to have evaded the direct impact of World War III. As time goes on, the ramifications of global annihilation soon find their way to the last refuge on Earth.

On The Beach posits a post-apocalyptic world that reveals the global impact of threats to humanity. While the fictional World War III in the film was only between two unnamed countries, it’s undeniable that such a catastrophe had repercussions on the rest of the world. With its horror undertones and danger on a global scale, On The Beach remains relevant today by reinforcing the role each of us plays on this planet.

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

When scientists on an expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discover a prehistoric Gill-Man lurking in the depths, the monster’s immensely strong and destructive behaviors prompt the scientists to capture the creature. When the mysterious creature not only breaks free but also kidnaps the beautiful Kay (Julie Adams) after falling deeply in love with her, it becomes apparent that this creature may not be as monstrous as first perceived.

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Related: The Real Monsters in Guillermo del Toro’s Films Are Often the Humans

Over sixty years before Guillermo del Toro’s 2017 romantic fantasy film The Shape of Water, Jack Arnold’s Creature From the Black Lagoon revealed an empathetic monster that was very uncommon for the Hollywood era. After his home is intruded upon by humans, the Gill-man becomes a creature worthy of our sympathies and poses the question as to who the real monster is.

Them! (1954)

Being the first big bug feature film that uses insects as the monster, Gordon Douglas’ 1954 film Them! shows the results of nuclear testing that spawns gigantic and ferocious mutant ants. As entomologists join forces with the US Army to exterminate the gargantuan critters, the increasingly growing scale of the threat becomes a moral tale asking how this could have all been prevented.

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Although the practical effects appear outdated today, Them! remains relevant by showing the ramifications of when a seemingly small issue grows out of proportion and threatens the very extinction of humanity.

The Fly (1958)

During an investigation into the bizarre death of Canadian scientist André Delambre (Al Hedison) that saw his head and arm crushed in a hydraulic press, his wife Hélène (Patricia Owens) confesses to the crime. However, there is more to this murder mystery than meets the eye. While experimenting with molecular transportation, it’s revealed that a small fly flew into the chamber along with André, resulting in their atoms combining.

Related: Iconic Vincent Price Horror Performances

Long before David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake, Kurt Neumann’s original adaptation of George Langelaan’s short story brings the horrors of scientific advancement to the big screen. The Fly not only questions the dangers of toying with technology but furthermore questions the meaning of life if an essential part of one’s humanity was taken away.


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The Wasp Woman (1959)

Desperate to hold onto the beauty of her youth, the head of a major cosmetics company Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot) experiments by injecting herself with the enzymes extracted from queen wasps that are capable of reversing the aging process. However, her drastically youthful appearance comes with monstrous side effects.

Roger Corman’s The Wasp Woman was far ahead of its time in critiquing the dangers of the beauty industry and the harsh chemicals often used. Exposing the high standards placed on women to look beautiful and cover the signs of aging at all costs, The Wasp Woman is a cautionary tale of the price of beauty.

Enduring her life as an abused socialite with an unfaithful husband, Nancy’s (Alison Hayes) troubles grow in size after an alien encounter that causes her to grow 50 feet tall. Unable to consolidate the marriage with her philandering husband, the troubled woman wreaks havoc on the city and ultimately resorts to using her amassed size to her strength by seeking revenge on the man who caused her so much pain.

Related: Revenge Movies Best Served Cold

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Nathan H. Juran’s Attack of the 50-Foot Woman portrayed a mistreated woman who despite her monstrous acts earns the audience’s sympathies. Just like the Gill-Man in Creature from the Black Lagoon, the real monster is called into question. Nancy isn’t nearly as monstrous as her husband whose abuse she endured, and her desire for love appeals to the universal human condition.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

When a spacecraft lands in Washington D.C. the world is spellbound by its mystery and out emerges a humanoid alien named Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and a robot named Gort, who have arrived to deliver his message of peace and goodwill. However, due to tensions during the Cold War era, Klaatu is told he is unable to deliver his message to all the world leaders.

After being fatally wounded Klaatu and Gort depart the Earth but not before imparting their final message to humanity; “Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer.” While many science-fiction films portray the threat of alien invaders, Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still offers a more nuanced take on the trope by revealing that sometimes the true threat to humanity is itself.

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Forbidden Planet (1956)

Set in the 23rd century, a starship sent from Earth arrives at a distant planet Altair IV to investigate the fate of the crew from an expedition 20 years ago. Faced with a warning from the expedition’s sole survivor, Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidegeon), the crew must pry into the mysteries of the planet and its enigmatic inhabitant.

While most sci-fi stories of the 1950s focused on aliens coming to Earth, Fred M Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet dared to seek adventure beyond the stars, becoming the first sci-fi film to depict humans traveling on a faster-than-light spaceship of their own creation, as well as the first to be set on an entirely different planet in interstellar space. The concluding message of the film that despite all of humanity’s technological advancements, they are not Gods, grounds this classic sci-fi film in its own humanity with a message that is poignant in today’s contemporary era, now more than ever.

Next: The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 21st Century (So Far)


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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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