Monsters and Madmen

Proof that Hollywood can thrill and chill on a budget

Movies Reviews Boris Karloff
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Monsters and Madmen

Directors: Robert Day, Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring: Boris Karloff
Studio: Criterion Collection

The best that most B-movies from the ’50s and ’60s could hope to achieve is “so bad it’s good” status. But the work of producers Richard and Alex Gordon remains a cut above, as the four ?lms in this set attest. While on the surface they are steeped in the genre’s requisite Cold War nuclear paranoia and pulpy shocks, there’s a complexity of character and nuanced intelligence in these ?lms that ultimately saves them. Corridors of Blood (1958) and The Haunted Strangler (1958) feature Boris Karloff in two of his best roles. In each ?lm he plays a crusading agent of change undone by his own righteousness; think Enemy of the People with drugs and serial killing. The First Man Into Space and The Atomic Submarine (both 1959) are cautionary tales with delightfully gaudy special effects. Taped reminiscences by the ?lmmakers and generous galleries of promotional ephemera make the set a real treat for fans of the genre.

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