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Monster From Green Hell (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Monster From Green Hell (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: The Film Detective
    Released on: March 8th, 2022.
    Director: Kenneth Crane
    Cast: Jim Davis, Robert Griffin, Barbara Turner, Joel Fluellen, Eduardo Cianelli
    Year: 1958
    Purchase From Amazon

    Monster From Green Hell – Movie Review:

    Kenneth Crane’s 1958 film, Monster From Green Hell, stars future Dallas star Jim Davis (not the Garfield guy, sadly) as a scientist named Dr. Quent Brady. He’s part of a team that is researching what happens to different animals when they’re launched into outer space in rockets and subjected to whatever elements are out there.

    When one of their test rockets crashes in Africa, the wasps that were inside escape, now very deadly and massive in size. Brady, his associate Dr. Lorentz (Vladimir Sokoloff) and a woman named Lorna (Barbara Turner) wind up on what is essentially a safari trip with some help from Arobi (Joel Fluellen), who explains in no uncertain terms just how dangerous this ‘Green Hell’ can be even without the added dangers of giant killer wasps! Throw in lots of stock footage of various animals lurking about and even some footage of tribesman running around, and you’ve got… a movie with some pacing problems, really, but when the giant bugs on screen wreaking havoc, Brady and company have their work cut out for them.

    Made fast and cheap with California (Bronson Canyon for the win!) not doing such a good job of standing in for Africa, Monster From Green Hell is charmingly goofy in the way that fifties atomic monster movies are. Despite the fact that it really does take a while for the movie to hit its stride and that we don’t get nearly enough monster action until the last reel, there’s fun to be had here, particularly if you have an affection for goofy dialogue, outdated styles and massive logic gaps. The effects work isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination but it has its own goofy, screwball charm that makes the scenes where the bugs attack a whole lot of fun.

    The acting isn’t really very good either, but again, it’s part of the film’s appeal. Davis is the All-American macho man type, the heroic scientist who isn’t afraid to face danger head on and is only too happy to step and save the day. Never mind the fact that his character is completely one dimensional and his acting is flat, he looks the part and is entertaining enough to watch here. Vladimir Sokoloff plays his doubting Thomas counterpart well enough, he’s an interesting supporting player, and Barbara Turner is just find as the damsel in distress (her character really isn’t much more than that, though that’s no fault of hers). Joel Fluellen’s character hasn’t necessarily aged well but he’s got an enthusiasm for the part and is also entertaining to watch.

    Monster From Green Hell – Blu-ray Review:

    Monster From Green Hell arrives on Blu-ray from The Film Detective on a 50GB region free disc with viewing options offered up in 1.33.1 and 1.85.1 widescreen, each separate encode running seventy minutes and taking up 17.8.8GBs of space on the disc. Both options are touted as being ‘restored in a new 4k transfers.’ Overall, this looks pretty nice, if not perfect. We get nice, strong black levels, clean whites and a nice grey scale with good contrast evident throughout. The image could have been cleaner, however, as there’s fairly regular instances of print damage on display. Thankfully the transfer retains the natural film grain you'd want it to, showing no noticeable noise reduction at all. And yes, the final few minutes of the movie are in color here, as they should be.

    Audio for the feature is handled by an English language 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, with optional subtitles offered in English and Spanish. The audio quality is just fine for an older low budget film. The track is balanced well, and the dialogue is always clean and easy to follow. There's a bit of depth to the score that you might not expect, and the track is, thankfully, free of any hiss, distortion of sibilance.

    An audio commentary with artist/author Stephen R. Bissette (his Swamp Thing run is legendary for a reason!) proves worth listening to, as not only does he know his stuff but he has an enthusiasm for the material. Bissette has a good sense of humor but treats the movie respectfully enough to make for an interesting talk. He goes over the career of Kenneth Crane and offers up plenty of insight into the different actors that made up the cast. He also goes over some of the locations, effects work and more.

    Missouri Born: The Films Of Jim Davis is a fifteen minute piece wherein C. Courtney Joyner goes over the details of Davis’ career as an actor, noting his appearance in this film, of course, but also going over some of his earlier efforts and some of the films that basically earned him the career that he had.

    Inside the keepcase is an insert booklet containing an essay on the film titled The Men Behind The Monster by Don Stradley.

    Monster From Green Hell – The Final Word:

    Monster From Green Hell is pretty clunky, as it suffers from some pacing issues and a lack of originality, but admittedly when the monster is on screen (which isn’t often enough), it’s a fun time killer. The Blu-ray release from The Film Detective offers a decent transfer and a few good supplements too. Fans of the film will appreciate the upgrade.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Bilitis Blu-ray screen caps!

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