Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Monster that REALLY Challenged the World! 

Last week (June 01, 2017), the Horror and Sci-Fi Film Appreciation Society to which I belong, saw "The Monster that Challenged the World" (1957).   

As fifties sci-fi films go, it was a great one, getting unanimously high marks from all members.  Familiar faces Tim Holt, Hans Conreid, and Gordon Jones ("Mike the Cop" on the ABBOTT AND COSTELLO TV show) - and one of the more convincing members of the "Fifties Low-Budget" species of creature made it so.  

I gave it a rating of "9.6 to 9.7" on my personal scale.  That takes ALL types of films into consideration -- with romantic comedies, musicals, today's ultra-violent crime and drug films, and anything with people like Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey in it ranking near ZERO, and Horror and Sci-Fi genre films (...more those prior to the CGI Era), Giallos, some Westerns, etc. ranking at a NINE OR ABOVE, depending on how much I enjoyed them.  

But, two things prevented "The Monster that Challenged the World" from ranking higher still...

One was the title: "The Monster that Challenged the World"!  

What, exactly, did it "challenge the world" to?  Chess?  Jeopardy?  Mah-Jongg?  Canasta?  ...What?   

If it challenged ME to a contest of 1960s
television trivia, I would have trounced it so solidly that it would slink back to whence it came in utter embarrassment - and that would be the end of the film!  

Of course, I'd have an unfair advantage as, when the Monster would have emerged, the sixties HADN'T YET OCCURRED - but all's fair in love and monster fighting, I always say!  

The other sticking point was no fault of the film, but of it's trailer!  

In the actual film, the titular Monster and its ilk were confined to California's Salton Sea, and a few ancillary canals.  

However, in the trailer, we got THIS unexpected image...

NO! That did NOT happen in "The Monster that Challenged the World"... but do you know where it DID HAPPEN?  

Yes, it happened right here in the pages of IDW's MICKEY MOUSE # 6!  

So, to recap... I recommend "The Monster that Challenged the World" - but don't go looking for this!  

And, I also recommend "Plan Dine from Outer Space" from IDW's MICKEY MOUSE # 6 (2015) - where you WILL find this!  ...And also a cool flying car!  

Oh, and while we're at it, here's another scene that is not in the film, but SHOULD have been!
  Once you see the film, you'll know why!  

BONUS COVERAGE:  Click HERE to go to Marc Whinston's review of our session for "The Monster that Challenged the World".   There, you can see the trailer for yourself!  Enjoy!  

Meanwhile, I'll be back to "Challenge Your World" with more interesting and fun stuff really soon!   


Clapton said...


Subtle way of plugging your own work I see ;)

As a fellow lover of old monster movies I'll definitely check this out; even if the movie is lacking the city eating action promised in the trailer.

That said I take some issue with your grading scale. I'm not the biggest fan of Romcoms or Adam Sandler but there are some exceptions to the rule. For example "Funny People" was a great movie, though that had less to do with Adam Sandler (who just happened to be the star) and more to do with Judd Aparow who wrote/directed it.

Joe Torcivia said...

Very glad to see you back here, Clapton!

One-by-one, all our old friends are returning, as the news of this Blog’s rise from the dead spreads far and wide across the land!

It never hurts to “plug your own work”, but that was only a happy byproduct of my connecting the images from this movie with those created by Casty for the story we called “Plan Dine from Outer Space”. They sure do match up well, don’t they?

I know that you would enjoy attending one of our sessions, as they are very spirited and always great fun… but, I’ve no doubt that if you brought up Adam Sandler in anything resembling a complementarily way, you would be resoundingly booed!

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but Adam Sandler became the poster boy for the type of movies we diametrically oppose. As something of a disciple of Scrooge McDuck, it would take an awful lot to make me walk-out on a movie I paid to see… but such was the case with a particular Sandler film, where neither my date nor I had any idea what was going on.

As the other members, to varying degrees, hold similar views to mine when it comes to cinema, television, genres, etc., I expect that Adam Sandler becoming the “face” of something none of us have any interest in, was likely a natural evolution.

That said, there are no absolutes, and a great studio (as was Warner Bros. in the Golden Age of Hollywood) and a great actor like James Cagney can even make the dreaded romantic comedy genre work for me. Films such as “The Strawberry Blonde” and “The Bride Came C.O.D.” are prime examples of this.

Marc Whinston said...

Gotta dig Penny Robinson as a go-go dancer.

Joe Torcivia said...

I think we ALL do, Marc!

…Hopefully, by now, the “space-a-delic” tune has stopped echoing in your head, but the memories of Two Bros. Peperoni Pizza remain!

TC said...

There was also the low budget sci-fi horror movie It Conquered the World. The alien invader may have tried to conquer the world, but, AFAIR, it did not succeed.

And the poster for the American version of Godzilla vs. Megalon showed the monsters on top of the World Trade Center towers, although there was no scene in the movie.

And yeah, the little girl in TMTCTW was annoying.

Fun fact: in the original script, Tim Holt's character was an Air Force officer (as Holt had been IRL). But Defense Department technical advisors suggested that, given the scenario and premise (sea monsters), the Navy would probably be in charge of fighting the threat.

Joe Torcivia said...


Whether “Challenging”, “Conquering”, or “None of the Above”, we still gotta give those monsters credit for TRYING!

Last night, we saw “20 Million Miles to Earth” (1957), with an equally annoying young Italian boy who was obsessed with getting a cowboy hat from “…the great country of Texas”. I submitted to the group he should grow up and marry the annoying girl from “The Monster that Challenged the World” and produce a bunch of annoying children. …Also, that his infatuation with Texas would one day see him produce Spaghetti Westerns!

Clapton said...


I think Adam Sandler has become the face of movies that y'all "diametrically oppose" because Sandler just dosen't give a WAK about the quality of his movies. Sandler is clearly talented, as his run on SNL demonstrated, but he's admitted that he now plans his movies on a place he can go on vacation. (Source: he consider plot, comedy, characters, quality... Nope. But if he see's a tropical island that looks like a pretty place to spend a summer he'll find an excuse to make a movie! And who cares if it's bad? It stars Adam Sandler and enough people will see his dog turd for it to break even...

That said there are exceptions to the rule. And "Funny People" is one of them and I highly recommend it.

Joe Torcivia said...


Those are all very good reasons to cause our group to feel the way we do about Adam Sandler. And, to one extent or another, they would all account for that feeling.

But, perhaps it’s even simpler than that. The type of film he and others like him make is just something that doesn’t appeal to our collective sensibilities.

…Just don’t show up at one of our meetings waving an Adam Sandler pennant – even as a joke. Some of us will fire on sight! :-)

Huwey said...

Adam Sandler is making films to make money. I think that is why he doesn't give a WAK about the quality, I guess. I don't think that that is good for film culture. Because first and foremost movies are a form of art. And I have always appreciated comedy, as it makes people laugh. And that is great, because laughing is one of the things that makes a human a human and not any other creature. But I think the artistic way to make people laugh, is to show them a scene, which is funny, not just telling jokes. Partly Adam Sandler is doing that, but then it is just... stupid slapstick (e.g. someone is fat and is falling on the ground).
That's my humble opinion.

Joe Torcivia said...

Agreed, Huwey.

Though, ultimately, the aim of most films is to “make money”, that doesn’t excuse the annoying utter stupidity of today’s comedy films, personified by Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and the like. Apologies to those who may like the stuff, but it is simply not my idea of funny. And that goes unanimously for the other members of the Thursday Night meetings.

It’s not even a matter of slapstick. Slapstick was stock-in-trade for the likes of Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges, and I’ve always found them “funny”. “Funny”, more than most things, would seem to be in the eye of the beholder. …Maybe we just aren’t in tune with today’s filmmaking, but we’re quite okay with that!