Twisted Like a Lemon
This movie only gets this score from me because of its ending. The
whole film is dull and poorly shot, but the twist ending (which I won't
reveal) is rather startling and would have been brilliant in a better
movie. Unfortunately this is not a better movie. I would like to
attribute this ending to the immortal Edward D. Wood Jr. but we can
only thank him for the characters and the appearance of token Wood
actor, Tor Johnson, who seems to be going for that Don Johnson look.
Even as a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie, The Unearthly is barely
watchable. Even the 'bots could hardly joke and save this poor piece of
film with an ending deserving of a different movie.
"Privilege has its own odor.".
A mad scientist's work is never done
I really appreciate and admire the effort the mad scientists of the 40s
and 50s put into their work. Always injecting mysterious fluids and
exposing bodies to different types of radiation in the pursuit of some
"noble" purpose. They were so single minded in their focus that noting
could get in their way. So what if their test subjects were dying or
turning into hideous monsters, it was the experiment that was
important. John Carradine plays just this kind of scientist in The
Unearthly. He hopes by adding a new gland to a human body that he can
find the secret of immortality. It helps that he has a house full of
patients who know nothing of his experiments, but are there for rest
and relaxation. Of course (and as expected) something goes wrong with
each experiment resulting in a variety of monsters living in the
doctor's basement. Also (and as could be predicted) one of the patients
is on to the doctor and plans to put a stop to his experiments.
To a certain degree, if you've seen one of these low-budget mad
scientist films, you've seen 'em all. The Unearthly is really no better
or worse than most of the others. It's hampered by the same budget
constraints, lack of original ideas, weak script, and gigantic plot
holes that plague a lot of these movies. On the plus side, The
Unearthly has quite a decent cast with Carradine, b-movie favorite
Allison Hayes, Playmate Sally Todd, and Miss America 1946 Marilyn
Buferd. Also, he may not have been much of an actor, but Tor Johnson
does have a certain screen presence. In my mind, the negatives outweigh
the positives resulting in the (generous) 4/10 rating.
Unfortunately, The Unearthly doesn't make for one of the better Mystery
Science Theater 3000 episodes I've seen. The jokes really felt flat. I
cannot remember laughing at much of any of it. I'll give The Unearthly
a 2/5 on my MST3K rating scale - find another episode to put on your
"to see" list..