Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Unknown Terror, There Are Fungus Among Us

Ah, 1957's "The Unknown Terror." Yep, this is a flawed film. The biggest strike against it is that the title is so relevant. After the end credits roll, it would be fair to say that the terror is still unknown. Not the scariest work to come out of the 1950s, but we need to be fair. With all its flaws, "The Unknown Terror" has some strong points that make this a worthwhile take. Whatever this one lacks in terror, more than makes up for in damsels in much distress, namely Mala Powers and May Wynn.
While searching for the Cave of the Dead, Jim (Charles H. Gray) finds it. He won't make it back to civilization and after six months, his sultry sister Gina (Powers), and her husband Dan (John Howard) decide to search for him. Enter the pathetic and drunk Peter (Paul Richards). After a crippling spelunking accident, Peter has a bum leg. Out of pity, Dan agrees to allow his old friend to join the search. Our trio head to a Caribbean island inhabited by grouchy and superstitious natives. They refuse to help Dan find the cave but our group does find the estate of the eccentric fungus scientist, Dr. Ramsey (Gerald Milton). Ramsey knows more than he is letting on and the natives believe him some kind of god. The quasi mad-scientist has discovered a fungus that grows so rapidly that...well...you'll see.
Okay, Ramsey used his god status to take the only attractive woman on the island as his bride. The beautiful Concha (Wynn) dresses seductively but endures numerous beatings from her god-husband. A real heal Ramsey doesn't see that the pathetic Peter and Concha are getting quite close. I know, hardly a horrifying plot. Eventually Dan and Peter find the Cave of the Dead, believed to be purgatory by the islanders. There, they make some discoveries that will turn out to be deadly and threaten all life on this planet. Oh yeah, they'll also have to do battle with these creatures that are a cross between the mole people and the Yeti. As this is all happening, Concha and Gina will look really good and at one point, one of the aforementioned creatures will chase the sultry Gina while she is clad in a nice white negligee.
Will the creatures capture our damsels? Any chance that Gina and Concho might engage in a cat-fight? Will Peter and Dan find Gina's missing brother? Could the fellows searching Oak Island learn something from our protagonists? The fungus and creatures will have a lot to say about these questions, but I guarantee you, whatever happens, Concha and Gina will look radiant. Directed by Charles Marquis Warren, "The Unknown Terror" will remain an unknown terror, but certaintly a known vehicle for 1950s cheesecake.


  1. Oh the terror, the terror... and cheese cake!

  2. You hit this nail square on its head! They say that someties the scariest things are those you don't see--- not always! Nice one!