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The Angry Red Planet (1959) - Blu-ray Review

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The Angry Red Planet (1959) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers"The hell with radiation.  Let's go."

This right here, where horror and space travel had one of their silliest hook-ups, is probably the only safe place to be in the solar system … when plants attack.  The Angry Red Planet is finally getting some respect and, honestly, it is about damn time.  So what if it is inherently goofy and so very fragile in its low budget ways and means?  The film is a b-movie buffet of everything that makes the era it originates from so utterly fantastic.

The rat-bat-spider exposed in the space dust kicked up by the arrival of spaceship MR-1 is only one deadly consequence in this mission to Mars.  With stilted acting (in that way only John Wayne could manage to make memorable), an impressive set of lungs (for screaming, perverts), and tons of stock footage, The Angry Red Planet – at least in my book – is right up there with Forbidden Planet in terms of emblematic science fiction from the 1950s.  It just doesn’t feature Robby the Robot.

Too bad then that the b-movie often gets overlooked in conversations about solid science fiction from the golden era of rayguns and fantastically farcical aliens.  I’m not sure what kills this one for most audiences, though.  Maybe it’s all the silliness in the actual flight and (reversed) landing that ruins its chances for modern appreciation.  By chance it could be the heavy use of animation throughout the film and in one of the key action sequences, but I doubt it.  Maybe the loose-fitting spacesuits themselves, which look like baggy Dickies uniforms, are what take viewers out of the movie.  Whatever it is, we need to seriously check our attitudes when it comes to attempting to dismiss this feature film.  It's a damn cult classic, people.  Enjoy the ride. 

All the screaming from Dr. Iris Ryan (Nora Hayden) keeps this one fired up for me.  Her mouth is freakishly large and that scream – emanating from way down deep below – is intense and, as it seems her jaw actually unhinges to kick the hellish sounds out, it obviously comes a place deep down in her gut.  Hell, utilized correctly, she might have been the only effect the movie needed.  But she wasn’t and, as there are all sorts of deadly creatures and plants kicking about in this one, the space-minded effects film required animation, marionettes, and back-projection techniques to, pardon the pun, get off the ground and become something memorable.  I think producers Sidney Pink and Norman Maurer succeeded.

Written and directed by Ib Melchior (The Time Travelers), The Angry Red Planet is damned impressive for what it does do successfully.  With limited red-tinged effects and a script that stresses there’s absolutely no contact with Earth, this doomed mission to Mars is delivered in a gung-ho spirit, even when it becomes ridiculously cheesy, as Chief Warrant Officer Sam Jacobs (Jack Kruschen), Dr. Iris Ryan (Nora Hayden), Professor Theodore Gettell (Les Tremayne) and Col. Tom O'Bannion (Gerald Mohr) come face to face with the green mucus of Mars and all the rest of its threatening alien life.

Complete with an ultrasonic freeze ray gun and bizarre-looking bug eyed creatures peeking in through the windows of the rocket, The Angry Red Planet offers fans of fun retrograde science fiction a peek at the wild side of the b-movie.  While it may not get the attention it deserves, it FINALLY gets some HD love with this magnificent release from Shout Factory, who provides the film with a brand new transfer taken straight from the film’s interpositive.

Pick up your copy and get rolled by the alien-eyed amoeba in The Angry Red Planet today.  You (probably) won’t regret it.

The Angry Red Planet (1959) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
83 mins
Director
: Ib Melchior
Writer:
Ib Melchior
Cast:
Gerald Mohr, Nora Hayden, Les Tremayne
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Cinemagic and you invade the Angry red Planet.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The hell with radiation. Let's go."
Theatrical Distributor:
American International Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 23, 1959
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 27, 2017
Synopsis: When an Earth rocket lands on Mars, the crew finds the planet not entirely dead. As these well-armed scientists begin to explore, they are attacked by unbelievably horrific and demented creatures at every turn. Battling for their lives, the survivors make it back to their ship only to discover intelligent life - and a warning they'll never forget!.

The Angry Red Planet (1959) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- June 27, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Language:
English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio track, the 1080p HD transfer of The Angry Red Planet has superb detail in the spaceship and on the surface of Mars.  Bright colors with a good amount of pop to them fill the screen and the details in some of the creature designs make them look brand new again.  The elements show some speckle from time to time, and a few brief scenes are a tad soft, but this looks to be inherent of the original cinematography.  It doesn’t appear that the picture has been tweaked or modified in any way, and the grain structure is well maintained.  The DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio track is fairly strong, delivering the dialogue and dramatic score with nice clarity.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Nothing much to report on here.

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The Angry Red Planet (1959) - Blu-ray Review

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