Saturday, February 10, 2018

Teenagers Battle the Thing, No Not Acne

In the decades before smart phones, teenagers were actually equipped to save the world from monstrous invaders. Today, other than posting promiscuous pictures of themselves, high school kids are pretty useless. From 1958, "Teenagers Battle the Thing" reminds us that the acne faced dimwits of today are hardly the heroes their predecessors were. In a "Leave it to Beaver" sort of way, this film is a retelling of 1951's "The Thing From Another World."
Because of budget the classic "The Thing From Another World" left its creature (James Arness) as a tall but underwhelming monster. In our feature today, the gorilla suited fiend is toothy and menacing. Okay, very clean-cut teenagers join the museum's Dr. Wyman (Bill Simonsen) and their science teacher Roger (Bob Clymire) for an archaeological dig near Ivanpah (a quaint place that sells soda pop for a dime). By accident they come across a cave which contains a mummy. With no qualms of disturbing the burial grounds of native peoples, the happy team purloins it and hauls it to a shed in a neighborhood.
The grave-robbers put blankets over it and overnight the thing climbs out of its mummy bandages while the terrified teen Norman (Ken Koepfer) watches. Busting out of the shed, just as James Arness busted out of the Arctic research facility, the creature heads into the lemon grove. After coming across a neighboring home, the monster kills a housewife. Wrought with guilt, the happy team seeks to find the creature and put an end to its reign of terror. No spoilers here...well...maybe just figuring out how to stop this thing's reign of terror, it is clear the teens and their adult companions saw "The Thing From Another World."
Will the fiend be displayed prominently in the kids upcoming yearbook? Will the National Park Service prosecute Dr. Wyman for disturbing tribal lands? How about science teacher Roger, will the school board suspend him for...well...for whatever he did? This is a very low-budget B movie but a lot of fun. The creature was very neat and was scarier than James Arness. For some clean-cut fun and a nostalgic look at the good old 1950s, grab a soda pop and see "Teenagers Battle the Thing," directed by Dave Flocker.

1 comment:

  1. Sheriff Matt Dillon! Love the title, Christopher. This is the kind of flick that would have been on Dr. Shock's out of Philly. Terrific review.