At least Roger Corman didn't have a preoccupation with ping pong balls.
December 12, 2013 9:34 AM   Subscribe

In the mid-1960's, American International Pictures hired director Larry Buchanan to make eight films for television. Their instructions were blunt: "We want cheap color pictures, we want half-assed names in them, we want them eighty minutes long and we want them now."

In the span of four years, Buchanan made his required films and, oh, what films they were. Four were remakes of Roger Corman films, one was a remake of an obscure war flick, and the remaining three were original sci-fi scripts. For connoisseurs of bad movies, these eight films are nirvana.

"The Eye Creatures" (A remake of "Invasion of the Saucer Men") stars beach movie mainstay John Ashley as an thirty year old teenager who helps the military repel an invading force of aliens. Full movie here.

"Zontar, The Thing from Venus" (A remake of "It Conquered the World") has MST3k favorite John Agar trying to reason with a scientist who is collaborating with aliens that are enslaving the human race. Full movie here.

"Curse of the Swamp Creature" brings back Agar for a trip to the swamp where a mad scientist subverts the laws of nature and throws corpses into his swimming pool. Full movie here.

"Mars Needs Women" enlists teen actor Tommy Kirk as a (cough) Martian leading an expedition for hot earth girls (including Batgirl). Full movie here.

"In the Year 2889" (A remake of "The Day the World Ended") has "The Donna Reed Show's" Paul Petersen holed up with some crabby strangers in a nuclear holocaust-proof house. Full movie here.

"Creature of Destruction" (A remake of "The She Creature") casts TV mainstay Les Tremayne as a hypnotist who transforms his assistant into a sea monster to wreak havoc. Full movie here.

"Hell Raiders" (A remake of "Suicide Battalion") is the odd man out being both (a) a non-science fiction film and (b) seemingly unavailable online. However, some stills can be found if you look hard enough.

"It's Alive!" doesn't spare the goofiness in completing this series. Tommy Kirk returns as a guy who stumbles across a crazy farmer who keeps a flesh-eating monster in a cavern. Full movie here.

Buchanan died in 2004. DVD Drive-In provides a heartfelt tribute to the director.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (17 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Correction: The The Eye Creatures
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:40 AM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

Actually, "Attack of the The Eye Creatures."
posted by murphy slaw at 9:42 AM on December 12, 2013 [6 favorites]

Half-assed must have changed meaning over the years. These titles are full-assed.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:47 AM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oooh. Thanks for this.
posted by enrevanche at 9:57 AM on December 12, 2013

posted by brundlefly at 10:06 AM on December 12, 2013

Came in for the THE THE comment. Was doubly satisfied.
posted by blurker at 10:20 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Remember, people, THEY JUST DIDN'T CARE.
posted by SansPoint at 10:37 AM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Buchanan believed in conservation of "The". It's actually "Zontar, Thing From Venus".
posted by plastic_animals at 10:42 AM on December 12, 2013

"Remakes of Roger Cormen films"? This phrase just makes no sense to me, like "reheated bat guano".
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:47 AM on December 12, 2013 [5 favorites]

"Mars Needs Women" is perhaps the greatest movie title ever. I sometimes just randomly blurt it out, and have used it as a ccde phrase of password many times (though after posting this, I guess not any more.)

That said, I just can't enjoy a bad movie just for being bad. I don't get it.
posted by cccorlew at 10:53 AM on December 12, 2013

While I'm fascinated by that era of "Here's a shoestring budget. Just go film something, anything" filmmaking, I cannot imagine watching Attack of The The Eye Creatures or any film of a similar calibre without Joel and the Bots protecting me from the deep hurting.
posted by usonian at 11:05 AM on December 12, 2013

Oh, this is BRILLIANT. Wish I could flag it as "fantastic" more than once. Thank you!!!
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on December 12, 2013

arguably my favorite thread ever ... if only for In The Year 2889 and the various YouTube sidebar options it has opened up. Pandora didn't open as deep a box.
posted by philip-random at 11:09 AM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Now this, this is worthy of the 'fantastic post' contest - no encyclopedia dump of information where you never actually get around to reading the links. A post that's a cultivation of an unknown gem, a little filmography for a guy who probably doesn't have one in the official publications.
posted by Think_Long at 11:17 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by destro at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2013

Kevin is asleep in front of the TV
He opens his eyes and says "Hi" to me
He's watching The Hypnotic Eye
It's late but I decide to give it a try
And someday, ohhho someday it's all to be so easy for me
Riding in a nifty car
Everyone will know I'm a movie star
I throw away my guitar to be the next John Agar

Bruce and I go to the Jose Theater
Three flicks for fifty cents
Take me to your leader
We're Teenagers from Outer Space
We just let you think we're part of the human race
And someday, ohhho someday it's all to be so easy for me
When I've discovered planet number ten
Rondo Hatton will be my very best friend
We'll kill the Muffin Man
Now the world is safe again

In Dennis' room with the black and white
I can tell it's going to be another long night
They're taking the earthlings for fools
When the captain says "Lars, hand me the tools"
And the temperature is starting to climb
They were not prepared for the horror of The Green Slime
But watching the Tokyo news we find that
Godzilla's been attacked by the Killer Shrews
And someday, ohhho someday it's all to be so easy for me
Making five movies a year
Slashing out the chords of fear
And someday is getting near
the new John Agar is here


-- The Young Fresh Fellows
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:44 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

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