TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000, 1958
Starring: Ward Costello, Salome Jens, John Stratton and Joyce Holden
This is another cheesy ’50’s time travel movie; a group of scientists are able to send and receive objects from/to the future but then comes the Terror from the year 5000. Basically an ugly woman ‘mutated’ by radiation from the future.
The 1950’s were something of a golden era for bad science fiction films, horrific terrors, usually made from foam and aluminium, were coming out of everywhere. Invaders from space, monsters from the underground and in this case mutants from the future.
This has got to be one of the cheesiest of the naff monster movies of the fifties; it’s up there with other Z grade films like ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’, or ‘Robot Monster’. This is most likely why it was chosen for the honour of being shown on the Sci-fi comedy show ‘Mystery Science Theatre 3000’. Although certain ideas behind the film are quite good they are badly executed making this one of those movies you watch because they are just so bad.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around a group of scientists who have developed a time machine that can snatch objects from the past. However the scientists are confused, as is the audience, when a statue radio metrically dates to the year 5200 A.D. How a radiometric analysis of an object would give a future rating isn’t explained. At any rate the scientist and his main financial backer travel to the island laboratory along with the professor’s daughter.
Professor Erling (Frederic Downs), the inventor of the time machine, explains that any 20th century objects placed inside the machine are replaced by objects from the future. He believes that this is being done by intelligent beings in the future.
Anyway to cut a lot of pointless dialogue and sparkly half faded aluminium foil special effects short we come to realise that there is a monster, of sorts, terrorising this small island. In true ‘50’s sci-fi effects extravaganza style, it’s basically a lot of Styrofoam and latex loosely glued to a person, in this case representing a hideously deformed woman from the year 5200.
And this is where the characters piece everything together through a combination of the ‘monsters’ expositional dialogue and guess work. Clearly at some point in the future there will be a nuclear war that will eradicate all civilisations on Earth and the only way for the human race to survive in the future was to attempt to steal men from the past and bring them into the future radioactive world.
This film isn’t a complete loss; it does attempt to hold to scientific facts as far as they were known in the 1950’s high schooler who failed science. The attempt is there just not the skill to pull it off.
If you love super bad films, so bad they are good, then I recommend ‘Terror From the Year 5000’. I also highly recommend the episode of ‘Mystery Science Theatre 3000’ that features this film, very, very funny.