Forget about 2012, We've Got Apocalypse: 1957!
Friday/November/13 2009 Filed in: Weekend Showcase
The new John Cusack ultimate disaster film, 2012, opens appropriately on Friday the 13th.
All the pre-release hoopla reminded us of the rash of apocalyptic movies that dominated movie screens back in the mid-1950s.
Most of these flicks were about some kind of beast born of atomic radiation (more about them later), but a few could easily be grandfather to the new Cusack movie.
When Copywriters Ruled
Special effects were crude and primitive back in the day, so it fell to the writers who wrote the narration in the coming attractions trailer to sell the goods. Today's marketers and PR types could learn a lot from those guys. As you watch the following clips, see if you agree. We've showcased some of the best lines as Hot Copy.
Disaster Du Jour
Here are two movies at least somewhat similar to 2009's 2012. In retrospect, these disaster movies from the pristine 50s were filled with sexual innuendo. You see it too, right? Or is it just us?
The Night the World Exploded 1957
Hot Copy: Worldwide chaos as mighty earthquakes erupt...upheavals tilt the Earth past the danger point!
Sexual innuendo: Scene setting -- Woman in bed. Man sitting on bed.
Woman: You still haven't found a way to stop the eathquakes, have you?
Man: I can't close my eyes to the truth...
Woman: So you're saying eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die?
Man: *knowing smirk*
That's right, baby. Now or never!
The Day the World Ended 1956
Hot Copy: A new high in naked screaming terror!
The monster in this film has to take a back seat to all the sexual innuendo. Did we say innuendo?! This 50s movie puts it all out there.
Scenario: a horrible monster is terrorizing Earth seeking out the planet's most desirable women to mate with. And how do the men of Earth respond? Check out this dialogue from the trailer:
Scientist #1 "There's two forms of life fighting for survival (humans and the monster) and only one of them can win."
Scientist #2 "I'll talk to the girls in the morning...they should bear children as soon as possible"
What?! That's your solution?! The old if-the-monster-has-its-way-with- you-you'll-have-monster-kids-so-you-need-to-have-sex-with-me-immediately routine?
Giant Lizards and Creepy Crawlies
In the 1950s, fears about the effects of atomic radiation played out at the movies with films about either lizards or insects being transmogrified into humungous goliath-sized monsters.
The Beginning of the End 1957
Here's an impossible mission for Peter Graves - stop giant grasshoppers from feeding on the good people of our hometown Chicago.
Hot Copy: A menace so massive, so overwhelming, that thousands upon thousands are propelled into senseless terror. Panic takes the place of planned evacuation and whole cities are paralyzed with FEAR!
This movie was made on such a shoestring budget that a scene depicting the grasshoppers scaling the historic Wrigley Building was actually shot using insects scurrying around on a large black & white photograph of the building. As we recall, at one point, one of the grasshoppers strayed and walked out onto the sky. Oops...
King Kong vs Godzilla 1962
The ultimate beat-down!
Hot Copy: The great Godzilla, blazing a trail of terror to his Japanese homeland...!
Sexual Innuendo: The unconquerable King Kong, great gorilla god of the South sea paradise, where sensuous maidens offer themselves in ritual sacrifice to his crude embrace!
A flying dinosaur! A BIG flying dinosaur!
Hot Copy: When he moves, the whole Earth quivers and quakes and an abyss of HORROR opens up!
The Giant Behemoth 1959
A behemoth would be a big thing, right? So a giant behemoth must be REALLY big!
Hot Copy: The Giant Behemoth -- the fire breathing monster predicted in the bible -- its core a mass of lethal radiation. Rising from the depths of time, its strength enormous!
Big, really BIG, radioactive ants.
Hot Copy: In one moment of history-making violence, nature mad, RAMPANT, wrought its most awesome creation. For born in that swirling inferno of radioactive dust were things so horrible, so terrifying, so hideous, there is no word to describe ...THEM!