Made with 100% pure American corn, Pal. Review sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Sarcasme.
Note: opinions regarded in a social rearview mirror may appear slightly inflated.

This Month's Feature:
Fron Hell It Came (1957, B&W)
(Note: Links to the clip are at the bottom)

The movie that wouldn't die!

Yen (dressed in Hawaiian shirt):  Greetings and Welcome to the Muck and Mire Matinee. This is our vast studio set, decorated to resemble a Polynesian Island before the people from Fantasy Island screwed things up and brought in the tourists. My esteemed colleague, recently voted "Best Don Ho Look-Alike" in People Magazine, is Quikmoose....

Quikmoose (dressed in grass skirt with ukulele):  And I want to add my welcome to that of my colleague, Dr. Yen. You in the audience may be wondering why Dr. Yen and I are dressed in our South Seas finest?

Yen:  Or, you may NOT be. We're GOING to tell you anyhow! The answer is simple, indeed. Today, we review one of the finest examples of South Seas Jungle Girls Plunked in Quicksand by Walking Killer Latex Tree Monsters (Total Budget Under $75 Division) that Hollywood has EVER evoked. We're talking homegrown, here!

Quikmoose:  Yes, we are here to dig out that Root of All Evil, "Tabonga!", from the 1957 epic film, From Hell It Came!

Yen:  Quikmoose, this film set a standard for cheesy low-budget latex effects…standards that TO THIS DAY remain unequalled. World cinema had NO CHOICE but to get better after From Hell It Came!…it simply COULDN'T get any worse! Adding to our pleasure, of course, are the enormous 1950's-sized mammaries on virtually every female in this flick (the film was made back before the Nixon-era Value Added Tax on Large Breasts). Whether they be cute native girls or blond scientists looking for the cure to Jungle Rot, the women in this epic would make a silicon-enhanced porn starlet feel underendowed!

Quikmoose:  Yes, all those grass skirts sure had me looking for my weed killer! Talking about weeds, what about that Tree Monster Tabonga? Reputedly, it won a "Best Use of Latex" Oscar in depicting Walking Monster Killer Trees in a drama or documentary.

Yen:  Well, I feel that the special effects team on this production definitely took a cue from the contemporary Japanese film, "Godzilla." That cue being that if you can't show a zipper or two on-camera, at LEAST make sure the audience can tell you've got some shlub in a rubber outfit hamming it up in front of the lens. Film critics have been debating for decades about the iconographic symbolism in From Hell It Came! Some claim it's a precautionary note to teens about drug use. I personally feel that it's more a morality tale about the abuse of latex: goof around with this stuff too much, and a Second Unit Director somewhere will come and film you being tossed into quicksand by something that resembles a rutabaga after bad plastic surgery.

Quikmoose:  And subject you to really dumb plots. It seems a group of scientists, including the lovely Tina Carver and one big-assed sergeant, have come to the island paradise somewhere in the Pacific to seek nuclear fallout. But the natives instead are dying of plague. The scientists opine in a long and boring interlude at the beginning that the natives don't like them, but there is no radiation.

Yen:  Tell that to the Tree Monster, who sprouts like a weed (sorry) overnight, carrying the "spirit of the dead chief's son" (who gets killed early in the film, tied to the ground and surrounded by chickens). He then gets a nice injection from the blond bombshell doc of "X-42," her secret formula for curing termites and fighting radiation. Suddenly, Tabonga is up and rustlin' his leaves all over the island, wreaking vengeance on the natives. Reminds me of a weekend I once spent in a Holiday Inn in Mason City, Iowa. Especially the part with the chickens.

Quikmoose:  "The legends were true!" conclude the astonished (but dense) scientists. Fortunately, the dull natives seem pretty oblivious to their surroundings, which allows Tabonga to blend in with the foliage and grab the suckers.

Yen:  The Production Designer sure had his shit together when he designed our Potted Plant From Hell…I'd have NEVER noticed this thing hiding amongst the real trees.

Quikmoose:  I think the WHOLE Production Team was potted!  Whatever it was they were smoking, I want some….

Yen (With severe frown at Quikmoose):  Our Tabonga manages to stumble upon a nice cat-fight between two native girls, and grabs the one with the biggest breasts. This is the FIRST intelligent move by any character in this entire film, up to this point.

Quikmoose:  The overly endowed Elizabeth Ridgeway. Nice ridges on that gal, I say!!  Her co-cat-fighter rushes off to the Witch Doctor. "I saw Tabonga!" she cries.  "How do you know it was Tabonga?" requests the Witch Doctor logically....

Yen:  …To which she replies: "He acted like a Second Unit Director, only MORE wooden!" NO, wait! Actually, I forgot how she responds. She probably responds with something to the effect that the fellow was 6'7", green, but definitely NOT James Arness. I can't remember…

Quikmoose:  We just watched it!

Yen:  Short-term movie memory lapse. This flick is packed with detail.  Either that, or I was asleep.

Quikmoose:  I was wondering whether that was you or Tabonga snoring…..Meanwhile, Tabonga has gathered up sweet native girl Elizabeth, wearing a nice bandeau top that barely contains her heaving bosoms, and tight wrap-around skirt, and carries her to edge of the quicksand.  She obviously messed with sarong monster…

Yen:  STOP THAT, now! Anyway, PLOP goes the native girl into the quagmire.

Quikmoose:  Yeah, he simply drops her right in.

Yen:  She suddenly wakes up and does the backstroke out to the middle of the quicksand pool. This is entirely reasonable, I guess, if a hostile tree has just attacked you. I'm personally thinking "breaststroke" here, but then again I'm not a scriptwriter.

Quikmoose:  Therein the editor enhances the incredible action and tension by cutting between the sinking female and the heartless oak tree staring off into nothing.

Yen:  I thought I was looking at the Second Unit Director staring off into space. See, this film's very confusing. If you watch Tabonga's expression carefully throughout the movie, you'd SWEAR he took acting lessons from Robert Stack…

Quikmoose: He took the wrong branch of method acting.

Yen (shows Quikmoose the black card, used in World Cup Soccer to indicate a foul):  OK…ONE MORE of these, and you're SITTING OUT the REST of this review!

Quikmoose:  I thought I had you stumped…

Yen (groaning):  Anyway, our heroine does a pretty decent job of descending into the quicksand with hand upraised, imploring the
impassive Tabonga to help her (I'm guessing he's being impassive…he MAY be kicking back listening to Tiny Bubbles: The Greatest Hits of Don Ho). As she sinks all the way under, he just stays rooted (Dr. Yen shows HIMSELF the black card) in one place.

Quikmoose:  Yeah, he's not likely to turn over a new leaf. I think this maiden is one of the sexier-clad quicksand victims that Hollywood has produced, enhancing the production considerably. We should not ignore the fact, however, that the blond scientist ALMOST becomes a victim of the quicksand, but instead the stupid noble scientist and fat-assed sergeant intervene with a hail of bullets.

Yen:  Yes, that was a disappointment to me, too. Tina Carver would have been swell sinking in the muck with her 1950's bra barely containing her endowments, but the Killer Tree Monster drops her just in time. However, they do manage to kill Tabonga with a lucky shot, who proceeds to keel over backward like a…like a…ah…well, like a tree. Or possibly Robert Stack's Second Unit Director doing an impersonation of a tree.

Quikmoose:  Yes, no chain saws for this baby. He kerplunks down in the quicksand in the finest manner of any latex outfit I've ever seen. Splat!! That latex takes to quicksand like a duck to water.

Yen:  Would you say they are committing herbicide?

Quikmoose:  Yeah!  Luckily for them, Island Paradise has no tree ordinances.  Too bad about Tina Carver, though.

Yen:  And how about the quicksand itself, Quikmoose?  How does it rate on our scientific system from one to ten, scientifically speaking?

Quikmoose (bringing out his bubble pipe and adopting a scholarly tone):  I would grudgingly give it a Four, myself.  It is clearly just a thin layer of stuff strewn over water, but the native sweetie Elizabeth manages to sink slowly in and not stir it up too much to spoil the illusion of thicker bogginess.  The surrounding camouflage of limp palm trees is pretty lame -- in fact, most of the time, Tabonga looks like he is stomping through the Santa Monica Mountains rather than a jungle paradise in the South Seas. They do get extra points for the dry ice bubbles and steam, though.

Dr. Yen:  Overall this film is saved by the bevy of beauties in 1950's tight clothing and the jungle outfits worn by the native girls. And, of course, the inane dialogue.

Quikmoose:  Did they give you a woody?

Yen:  FOUL! "Are you happy to see me, Dear…or is that a Mutant Tree Monster in your pocket?" Overall, I'd say the
dialogue in this film is EPIC in its single-minded dedication to being the worst that it can be (apologies to a certain branch of the
Armed Forces).

Quikmoose:  I agree. The writers decidedly deserve a special mention for dumbest dialogue ever written for a Killer Walking Monster Tree movie:  "I gave it the X-42 serum so it could live," cries the anguished, bosomy scientist Tina, "...not so it could destroy." Brilliant!

Yen:  And what about the credits? Music Composed and Played by Darrell "Calker"? Property by Ted "Mossman"? I feel this is highly symbolic.

Quikmoose:  And Art Direction by Fred "Feld"? And Asst. Director Johnny "Greenwald"?

Yen:  Yes, but too bad about Tina Carver not getting in the quicksand.

Quikmoose (Shaking His Head):  Too bad about Tina Carver not getting in the quicksand.

Yen:   Oh well. Maybe by the time Hollywood gets around to making a sequel, they will have returned to their roots.

Quikmoose:  And taken a Weed Eater to those grass skirts. Hoochie wwwwwwaaaaaawwwwwwaaaaaa!

Yen:   At that, folks, it's all for now. Until next time, remember to keep your chins up!

Quikmoose:  And keep your bandeau's tight....

Yen:  Trim those lawns....

Quikmoose:   Pull those weeds.....

Yen: Keep your head high!

Quikmoose:  Remember the Alamo!

Yen:  And of course....

Quikmoose:  All together now....


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