Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill, Robert Shayne, Edgar Barrier
When I worked at a movie theater, we played It Came from Hollywood (1982), which featured hundreds of movie clips with popular comedians making fun of them, cracking jokes, pointing out flaws, all in the name of entertainment. Mind you, this was years before Mystery Science Theater 3000 made a career out of it. It was during that initial screening that I caught my first glimpse of the epic The Giant Claw (1957). though it would be some time before I actually knew what movie it was. Sure, it was silly and laughable at that time, with the creature looking more like some sort of sickly marionette turkey, but in those scenes where it is swooping down and chomping on parachuting passengers from the plane it just attacked, kind of creeped me out.
Fred F. Sears
Born July 7th, 1913 – Died Nov. 30th, 1957
Being a director back in the ’50s is nothing like it is today. These days, a director can make one film every 5 or 6 years and still be considered a working director! But take a guy like Fred F. Sears, who’s directing career only lasted 10 years before dying of a heart attack in 1957. But during that decade, he cranked out over 50 features. So yeah, that’s averaging 5 pictures a YEAR!
He started his career on stage in regional theater, working as an actor, director, and producer. He was hired by Columbia pictures as a dialogue director, before moving into being a director. He always stayed with Columbia, working a lot with b-movie producer Sam Katzman. Together, they made films in just about every genre, from rock musicals, action thrillers, juvenile-delinquent pictures, and of course, the sci-fi flicks. He directed films like The Werewolf (1956), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1957), with the incredible effects by Ray Harryhausen. And of course, that same year, he directed The Giant Claw. While some might consider that film a failure, to me, because we’re still talking about it, I would say that one is a big success! But that’s just me.
While I continue my quest to add more books to my personal library that I’ll ever be able to read in my lifetime, I thought I would give a little shout out to a few titles that are currently sitting in my Want List on Amazon. I don’t have any of these yet (key word…yet) so all I know about them is what I’ve read on the Amazon description. But they do sound pretty interesting, and I know that I intend to pick them up at some point. While I’m in the middle of reading 3 different books right now, and have a few piled up that I still need to find room in the bookshelves for, it might be a bit.
Who am I kidding, I’ll probably order them next payday!
I’ll list this these alphabetically so it doesn’t look like I’m playing any favoritism!
Ad Nauseam By Michael Gingold
Any horror fan worth their weight in magazines knows Gingold from his decades working for Fangoria magazine, but has been keeping himself quite busy since those days. His book The Frightfest Guide to Monster Movies is just awesome and is simply a must. But his new book is something that older fans will love paging through, as well as giving younger fans a look into the past. In his youth, Gingold would cut out the ads for horror films, the bigger named ones as well as the smaller titles that snuck out. This book is a walk through the 1980’s in a year-by-year guide to Gingold’s archive, featuring more than 450 ads. Remember folks, years before the internet, this is how we found out movies that were playing so these ads had the tough job of capturing the attention of the person paging through the newspaper and make them want to rush out to see this movie. And more times than not, at least for us horror fans, it worked.
While this might technically not be a horror movie, even though you do have dinosaurs running (and flying) around trying to eat people, since it is a Hammer Film, I figured it needs mentioning. Next year, on Feb. 14th, Kino Lorber will be releasing a movie that stop-animation fans have been waiting for…in the version they wanted!
When One Million Years B.C. (1966) was released on DVD several years ago, it made a lot of fans very upset, since it was the American version, which as serious fans know, was cut. Even more surprising since it the laserdisc version released was the international cut, which is longer. If you’re a die-hard Ray Harryhausen fan, that was a big deal. But now, thanks to Kino Lorber, they will be releasing it on Blu-ray that has both the International Cut along with the U.S. Cut, both having a 4K restoration, so you’ll be able to see all amazing Harryhausen work, as well as Raquel Welch and Mattine Beswick in all their glory!
This 2011 documentary calls Ray Harryhausen a special effects titan. Now one of the meanings of the word titan is “a person or thing of enormous size, strength, power, influence”. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better word, especially the last two words in that description: power and influence.