Monster From Green Hell (1957) – Kenneth G. Crane

The atomic mutations chapter of DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies continues to entertain with some wonderfully bad movies, featuring creatures affected by radiation. This time around it’s a giant wasp stalking the grasslands and jungles of Africa.

Combining a jungle picture (using lots of stock footage) with a creature feature (which has some enjoyable, if unimpressive stop-motion work) the film takes its cue from the nuclear age, as a pair of scientists, Brady (Jim Davis) and Morgan (Robert Griffin), launch animals into a low orbit arc to test the effects of cosmic radiation on their subjects, and postulate the possible effects on humans for space travel.

When one of their launches goes astray and tumbles in orbit for forty hours before coming down on the western coast of Africa, reports emerge six months later of a monster emerging from the green hell of jungle. Brady and Morgan jump the pond to investigate and amidst a stock of footage, they travel through jungle and grasslands, meeting up with a fellow doctor, Lorentz (Vladimir Sokoloff), his daughter, Lorna (Barbara Turner) and their local aide, Arobi (Joel Fluellen).

GreenHell

Soon enough they encounter the creature, which has grown exponentially (radiation don’t you know!) and is now killing anyone who gets in its way.

Obviously, the film’s entire budget went into making the creature, which isn’t terrible, but is far from impressive, and the rest of the film was shot on location in California, intercutting with pre-existing safari footage (almost forty percent of the film). Consequently there is not a lot to enjoy in this film, and honestly, the only performance I did enjoy was Fluellen’s because his character didn’t come across as a complete stereotype.

And, admittedly, I’ve never seen a wasp that big, but I will say that the creature did not look like a wasp. And if it is a wasp, why doesn’t it fly more often? They hear the creature all the time, which seems to suggest that it is moving its wings, but all we ever see is it walking across the ground, and sticking its giant head out of the foilage to attack people with claws (radiation I guess) and maybe the occasional stinger.

Setting off a volcano seems to be the only solution to stopping this creature (why doesn’t it just fly away?) but of course, there will be lives sacrificed before and leading up to the climax, but don’t worry, Brady and Lorna will survive, and gosh, maybe there’s a hint of romance in the air, even as the savanna burns down.

More atomic monsters are coming as I delve deeper into the DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies. Pick one up today and find something monstrous to watch tonight!

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