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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


A bizarre low-budget sci-fi film titled "The Creation of the Humanoids" (1962) just debuted on DVD from Dark Sky Films.

The film can be insufferably talky and occasionally laughable, but not altogether unwatchable. It has some solid sci-fi concepts that lead me to believe the screenwriter, Jay Simms, either read or wrote a lot of stories in the science-fiction digests that were so prevalent at the time. (Simms also wrote, or had a hand in writing, "The Killer Shrews," "The Giant Gila Monster," "Panic in the Year Zero" and episodes of the Boris Karloff-hosted TV anthology "Thriller," according to imdb.)

The setting is Earth following a devastating atomic war. Survivors develop humanoid robots (with bald heads, blue skin and sparkling red eyes) to assist in the reconstruction. It is illegal to improve a robot above an R70 -- an R100 robot would be a perfect human being -- but the robots continue to evolve. Some humans are afraid the "clickers" (slang for robots) are developing a quasi-religion. (The robots call their recharging depot a "temple," and no humans are allowed on the premesis). Concerned humans form an aggressive vigilante organization, the Order of Flesh and Blood. However, a brilliant scientist -- who later becomes a brilliant scientist's essence in a robot body -- begins churning out R96 robots, which are just four points below human. And that's the CLIFFS NOTES version!

Most of these albeit intelligent sci-fi concepts are communicated via the aforementioned INSUFFERABLE dialogue. Talking scenes go on and on and on and on. This will cause lot of people to run screaming from "The Creation of the Humanoids," but fans of cheezy sci-fi will consider it a gem.

Two credits in the film must be made known. Buffs will remember Dudley Manlove, who plays a "clicker," as Eros, the pudgy, imperious alien in "Plan 9 From Outer Space" whose infamous "stupid, stupid, stupid!" speech is a touchstone of the sub-genre. Manlove may be jowlier than in his "Plan 9" days, and painted blue to boot, but there's no mistaking that '50s TV pitchman voice.

It must also be noted that the robot makeups were by Jack Pierce, the artist who created the looks for the Frankenstein monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and many other monsters in the Universal Studios horror classics of the '30s and '40s. In other words, HE THE MAN. "The Creation of the Humanoids" was Pierce's second-to-last film, and as such is required viewing for all Universal geeks, no matter how painful the experience. It is cinematic irony itself that the career of such a major player in the Universal classics intersected with that of a "Plan 9" cast member. Sleep with dogs, wake up with fleas.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a teen in the 60's I watched a great SciFi thriller where, if I remember correctly, a guy had a job hunting robots or humanoids. They were referred to as "Clickers". He spent much of the movie trailing them until he discovered that he too had been converted into one. His line at the end went something like," I can't belive that I, THE ((his name)),was a clicker!?" I have always wanted to know the name of that movie. Any ideas?

12:02 PM, June 29, 2007  

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