Stars: Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent, Paul Langton, Raymond Bailey
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 81 minutes
A quintet of fun '50s science-fiction thrillers from the Universal vaults make their DVD debut in this three-disc set that's sure to please fans of vintage creature features. Arguably, the best of the lot is The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), with Grant Williams as a businessman whose exposure to a radioactive cloud causes him to decrease in size exponentially until he is literally microscopic. Based on a novel by legendary fantasy writer Richard Matheson, director Jack (Creature from the Black Lagoon) Arnold's balance of suspense (Williams' battles with a house cat and common spider) and pathos (the effect his condition has on his marriage) make it one of the most memorable science-fiction films of the decade, and a favorite even of those with only a passing interest in the genre. On the entirely other end of the spectrum is The Mole People (1956), a loopy pulp adventure with John Agar and Hugh (Leave It to Beaver) Beaumont as intrepid adventurers who discover a lost city and the title creatures at a top of a Middle Eastern mountain. Campy to a fault, with a logic-straining script and ridiculous monsters, The Mole People is also a goofy good time for B-movie mavens. Agar, whose faded star power forced him to seek work in low-budget films during the '50s and '60s, also turns up in the effective Tarantula (1955), a fast-paced "big bug" creepshow modeled after Them!. (1954), and featuring a cameo by Clint Eastwood as a jet pilot; the rest of the set is rounded out by the truly wacky Monster on the Campus (1958), with Arthur Franz as a college professor whose exposure to a prehistoric fish turns him into a rampaging Neanderthal, and The Monolith Monsters (1957), about fragments of a meteor that grow to colossal heights when exposed to water and threaten a small desert community. For TV babies that grew up on a steady diet of Saturday afternoon monster movies, The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection offers a nostalgic trip back to those cathode-soaked days, but without the barrage of commercials. The set offers trailers for each film by way of extras, as well as an anamorphic presentation of The Incredible Shrinking Man; the rest of the titles are presented in full screen. -- Paul Gaita
I was continuing to shrink, to become...what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the man of the future? If there were other bursts of radiation, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other beings follow me into this vast new world? So close - the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends is man's conception, not nature's. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I STILL EXIST!
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