Tuesday, October 12, 2021


Brady (Jim Davis) and Morgan (Robert Griffin) are in charge of shooting test animals up into space to see how they react to cosmic rays in anticipation of manned space travel. The flights are only supposed to last for a few minutes, but one rocket which contained a wasp goes off course and off radar, eventually landing somewhere in the wilds of Africa, in an area the natives call Green Hell because it's home to an active volcano. Brady and Morgan head off to Africa on a recovery mission, but in the meantime, some odd things are going on near Green Hell. Dr. Lorentz and his daughter Lorna, who tend to the natives, hear reports of a strange giant creature--and in fact we see what is apparently a giant mutated wasp (which really looks nothing like a wasp--more on that later) attack and kill a native with a massive amount of venom. After a long, long trek, Brady and Morgan arrive at Lorentz's village by which time the doctor has been killed and a giant insect stinger removed from his body. Now there are several of these wasp monsters killing humans and causing animal stampedes. Brady, Morgan, Lorna and a handful of faithful natives approach the volcano where the wasps made their home and try to exterminate them with explosives, but it ultimately takes Mother Nature to wipe them out.

This cheaply made B-movie has a bad reputation, and indeed at 70 minutes, it feels much longer than that. Lots of critics blame the effects, mostly consisting of huge mock-up monsters and some stop-motion animation, but frankly I liked the effects. The creatures don't resemble wasps, but still, they look quite menacing. The real problem is the amount of padding with stock footage from older movies. The trek of Brady and Morgan into Africa takes a tediously long time, and there is more ineffective padding with scenes of a hostile tribe attacking our heroes. The footage itself, from the big budget 1939 Stanley and Livingstone film, is well-done but does nothing for the narrative except get the movie to hit the 70-minute mark. Jim Davis (Jock Ewing on the original Dallas) looks heroic but he acts in a very casual fashion like he's playing a lounge lizard, as if he's Dean Martin off chasing monsters; I found him more amusing than heroic. The only other actor to make a strong impression is Joel Fluellen as Arobi, the 'fully civilized' native assistant. There is a bit of comic relief with a monkey that is mercifully brief. A cheap novelty for Chiller Theater fans. [YouTube]

1 comment:

dfordoom said...

I love giant bug movies. I love all giant bug movies. Except this one. It really is a slog to get through it.