Friday, January 23, 2009

KRONOS (1957)

SCIENTIFIC FACT LEARNED: Everything is regal-ier in Regalscope!

THE CARD:

Dr. Buff Hairychest, clenched-anus scientists, the discount Lauren Bacall, Dr. George Jetson, lots of made-up words, a good ol’ stock footage montage, the cosmic horror of a giant walking 50s icebox, Floyd the Barber-Psychiatrist, and the Unstoppable-ish Might of the Mexican Air Force!

More details here.

THE ANGLE:

A truck-driving hayseed traversing the Arizona desert spots an object from space falling to Earth. Said hayseed investigates and is promptly zapped by the object, which seemingly takes control of him. He drives to a remote desert military outpost and knocks out the one-man security force with a wrench. He seeks out head scientist Dr. Eliot (John Emery) and the space spirit transfers itself to the scientist's body. Meanwhile, another scientist team made up of Dr. Gaskell (Jeff Morrow) and Dr. Culver (George O'Hanlon) spot another, much larger object heading towards Earth, an asteroid which they name M47. With the aid of intelligent computer SUSIE (Synchro Unifying Sinometric Integrating Equitensor) and non-intelligent lab assistant Vera (Barbara Lawrence), they nonchalantly announce to the press that the end of the world is near. The world braces for an apocalyptic event, but instead M47 falls into the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Mexico and disappears. Back in California, the possessed Eliot is up to no good and appears to have a link with M47. Gaskell, Culver, and Vera head down to the crash site to investigate the object and make fun of Mexican food. A few days pass and the object rises from the sea and has transformed into a gigantic box with malevolent impulses.

Insert Madonna joke here.

The box moves on its own, starts smashing stuff, and is impervious to weapons, including an A-bomb. Gaskell and Culver name the box “Kronos” and theorize that it is expert in “anthropic conversion”, the transformation of energy into matter, and that whatever sent it to Earth means to drain our resources. Much like any big box. While Mexicans get flattened into spicy flapjacks, Kronos heads north to Los Angeles to suck up power, devour nukes, and snack on even more Mexicans. But our plucky science team faces the evil mechanizations of Eliot who may hold the fate of the Earth in his hands! Ooooooooooo … Eliot.

THE FINISHER:

Kronos could have been a really good science fiction film, as there’s potential of constructing an incomprehensible terror out of a mysterious, indestructible object that defies human understanding and logic. It would have been the kind of absurd cosmic horror that H.P. Lovecraft excelled in, stretching the limits of man’s conception of reality by introducing an omnipotent horror of hellish proportions that reduced our place in the universe to less of a gnat. And the image of a simple box, void of compassion, destroying in the blink of an eye, reveals the unfathomable coldness of technology. Unfortunately, the movie fails to develop such an interesting idea, and degenerates into a simple 50s sci-fi monster movie. The script is for the most part silly, further hampered by pseudo-serious leading man Morrow of This Island Earth fame, an empty-headed love interest, and the painful comic relief. The special effects are pretty much what you’d expect – cheap, but sometimes effective. There are some hysterical moments in the movie from the unintentionally awkward romancing to the brutal fake newscasts to the uncomfortable bean-eating stereotypes. But the real star of the picture is Kronos itself, who’s not given nearly enough screen time to emphasize full potential despite its cartoon legs. There’s a cool scene where it absorbs all the energy of an A-bomb, which turns out to be a decent use of stock footage, the life’s blood of B-movie making. Kronos is a standard 50s paranoid sci-fi flick that tries to mimic better movies such as the original Day the Earth Stood Still, Godzilla, and War of the Worlds. If you are fan of this period of sci-fi, it should not be missed, otherwise steer clear from ten-story boxes that kill. Especially if you’re Mexican.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Kronos' is a SF classic. Better watch agin.

Anonymous said...

Kronos is excellent. You missed the boat on this one.

Sylph1208 said...

WHAT??? I agree with the 2 Anons - Kronos is great!