Random Film Of The Week: (The) Hideous Sun Demon

 

hideous sun demonOK, this week’s selection was relegated to a simpler internet search after my usual “secret” selection method (flipping through a big movie encyclopedia or DVD catalog and randomly pointing at a title on whatever page I stopped on) left me with a few too many controversial choices (Targets, Joe and Badlands came up on the first three pages I dropped a finger on) that, while great movies worth seeing, aren’t exactly films I want to go over at this point. So, I’m substituting a favorite “B” movie that’s awful and hilarious with a nice left hook for you sun worshipers out there who can’t seem to catch enough rays.

Hell, it’s been hot enough these past few weeks that I should have added this flick about a month or so ago. Anyway, the plot about a scientist who ends up turning into quite a crispy-faced creature doing no good things to the general populace after radiation exposure is pretty far out there, but you can say that about most 50’s sci-fi and horror flicks. This one works for me because it tries to play as serious and even gets away with it for a bit, but you’ll be smirking along soon enough…

 

I’m keeping this post stupidly short because it’s SO damn blazing out that I don’t want to bore you with a full plot rundown. I know for a fact that there’s nothing worse that having one’s butt stuck to an already hot chair reading from a warm monitor when you COULD be sitting in that cool living room with a much colder beverage laughing that butt off watching a fun flick such as this one. So, blaze through this read, get up and adjust yourself (a second shower? Sure, whatever cools you off in this heat!) and get to looking this one up online or wherever.

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“Hey, izzat YOUR car parked out front? You gotta move it up, pal – you’re taking up TWO spaces!”

 

What makes the film work is the rapid 74-minute running time, the funky rubber mask and suit worn by star Robert Clarke and some effective camerawork in a few important shots. Of course, there are plenty of unintentional laughs to be found in the story and dialog, but it’s in the film itself where you’ll get the most grins. Every time that sun-baked scaly werewolf is on screen there’s the potential for chaos and thankfully, the film has plenty of it in its exuberantly murderous creature and the clueless cutie and cops that kick the dialog around as the mayhem continues.

As for funny stuff, well… the big scene where Clarke transforms while driving away from a beach encounter with his gal pal (and you see the creature steering the car into his driveway) is priceless comic gold. You have to wonder if the sense of panic portrayed was because Clarke simply couldn’t see well in that mask to be driving so damned fast. That and the overly sweaty finale may have you falling off the couch from laughstroke because you can see the poor actor practically steaming to death as his clothing is soaked through thanks to all the running and climbing during the climax. Dying for your art has never been so awesomely amusing, folks!

Anyway, yeah, yeah – this isn’t a “review” as much of a recommendation to get the hell out of that broiling sun and chill out for a bit. This 1959 gem can be viewed in its entirety here, so there’s no need to go rent or buy this at all unless you want to have a personal copy to hang on to for future reference. Hey, if anything, it’ll remind you to always reach for that sunblock before heading outside, I say…

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