Monster from Green Hell
Kenneth Crane's Monster From Green Hell is one of those movies that we loved as kids, mostly because we didn't know enough as kids not to take it seriously. The movie had most everything that a kid during the 1950s might want out of a movie -- rocket experiments, jungle adventure, and monsters. Of course, there is a good reason for our being fooled, apart from its subject matter; produced by Al Zimbalist, who was also responsible for Robot Monster, the movie isn't nearly as threadbare as that legendary low-budget film, but it does display a cheapness that ends up giving it a surreal quality in its opening sequences. The mixing of newly shot backlot material and stock footage from older, much bigger budgeted jungle adventure films is almost comical; much funnier is the notion of wasps mutated into something the size of houses that are able to hide silently in the jungle, waiting to strike at individual human or animal victims. Moreover, although it was made on the cheap, the movie has a kind of class in its casting; Jim Davis (a good 23 years before Dallas), Eduardo Ciannelli, Joel Fluellen, and Vladimir Sokoloff are featured, and they lend a certain interest to the proceedings, silly though they are. The movie slips into that odd niche of good-bad low-budget schlock, so much so, that an enterprising distributor was able to sell a colorized version to NBC for an early '90s presentation in prime time, in a Mystery Science Theater 3000-type format. The transfer is better than decent considering the age and the low-budget origins of the picture, and the 12 chapters are more than adequate to break down the 71-minute movie. Additionally, the menu has some fun with the images of the giant wasps, which might be the best part of the DVD. The film is accompanied by a trailer in okay condition that's so overheated in its narrative that it is more exciting than the movie itself.The American government inexplicably tries to send a box of wasps into space, but the mission ends when the rocket crashes in Africa. While on an expedition to recover the insects, an adventurer (Jimmy Lynn Davis) and his team finds the wasps have grown to immense proportions due to accidental radiation treatments.