Scenes that I Love: Tor Johnson In The Unearthly


We continue to honor the memory of Tor Johnson with today’s scene of the day.

Even though Tor Johnson is playing a character named Lobo, today’s scene that I love isn’t from Ed Wood’s 1955 film, Bride of the Monster. Instead, it’s from 1957’s The Unearthly. In this film, Lobo is now John Carradine’s servant. (Lobo made quite a career out of working for mad scientists.) The Unearthly was directed by Boris Peftroff, a friend of Wood’s, so it’s not improbable that this film’s Lobo was meant to be the same Lobo as the one who appeared in Bride of the Monster and Night of the Ghouls.

Anyway, in this scene, Tor does his usual Lobo stuff while John Carradine plays the piano. “Time for go to bed,” Lobo says at one point, a much-mocked line but one that is delivered with a bit of gentleness by Tor Johnson. My point is that Tor did the best that he could and bless him for it.

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is Tor Johnson’s birthday so it just seems appropriate to present….

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films

Bride of the Monster (1955, dir by Ed Wood, DP: Ted Allan and William C. Thompson)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957, dir by Ed Wood, DP: William C. Thompson)

The Unearthly (1957, dir by Boris Petroff, DP: W. Merle Connell)

The Best of Yucca Flats (1961, dir by Coleman Francis, DP: John Cagle and Lee Strosnider)

Horror On The Lens: The Beast of Yucca Flats (dir by Coleman Francis)


Beastyuccaflats

Since today is Tor Johnson’s birthday, it only seems appropriate that today’s Horror on the Lens should be one that he starred in, 1961’s The Best Of Yucca Flats.

My friend, the writer and chef Tammy Dowden, claims that this is the worst movie ever made.

Well, technically, she may be right.  The Beast of Yucca Flats is a thoroughly inept film that makes next to no sense and has massive continuity errors.  It’s a film that also features the legendary Tor Johnson as a Russian scientist who gets mutated by radiation and becomes a monster, but not before taking off almost all of his clothes while walking through the desert.  For that matter, it’s also a film about a family that comes together though adversity — namely, being shot at by the police after the family patriarch is somehow mistaken for Tor Johnson.  And finally, it’s the story of how a dying monster can find comfort from a rabbit and that’s actually kind of a sweet message.

Here’s the thing — yes, The Beast of Yucca Flats is bad but you still owe it to yourself to watch it because you will literally never see anything else like it.  Plus, maybe you’ll be able to figure out what the whole point of the opening scene is.

Because I’ve watched this film a few times and I still have no idea!

Enjoy!

Horror on the Lens: Plan 9 From Outer Space (dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)


Viewing Plan 9 From Outer Space during October is a bit of a tradition around these parts and here at the Shattered Lens, we’re all about tradition.  And since today is the 97th anniversary of the birth of Ed Wood, Jr., it just seems appropriate to watch his best-known film.

Speaking of tradition, this 1959 sci-fi/horror flick is traditionally cited as the worst film ever made but I don’t quite agree.  For one thing, the film is way too low-budget to be fairly judged against other big budget fiascoes.  If I have to watch a bad movie, I’ll always go for the low budget, independent feature as opposed to the big studio production.  To attack Ed Wood for making a bad film is to let every other bad filmmaker off the hook.  Ed Wood had his problems but he also had a lot of ambition and a lot of determination and, eventually, a lot of addictions.  One thing that is often forgotten by those who mock Ed Wood is that he drank himself to death and died living in squalor.  The least we can do is cut the tragic figure some slack.

Plan 9 From Outer Space is a ludicrous film but it’s also a surprisingly ambitious one and it’s got an anti-war, anti-military message so all of you folks who have hopped down the progressive rabbit hole over the past few years should have a new appreciation for this film.  I mean, do you want the government to blow up a Solarnite bomb?  DO YOU!?

Also, Gregory Walcott actually did a pretty good job in the lead role.  He was one of the few members of the cast to have a mainstream film career after Plan 9.

Finally, Plan 9 is a tribute to one man’s determination to bring his vision to life.  Ed Wood tried and refused to surrender and made a film with a message that he believed in and, for that, he deserves to be remembered.

Now, sit back, and enjoy a little Halloween tradition.  Take it away, Criswell!

Can you prove it didn’t happen?

WELL, CAN YOU!?

Horror on the Lens: Bride of the Monster (dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)


Bride of The Monster (1955, dir by Ed Wood)

Since tomorrow’s the great man’s birthday, it seems appropriate that today’s horror film on the lens is Edward D. Wood’s 1955 epic, Bride of the Monster.

(Much like Plan 9 From Outer Space, around here, it is a tradition to watch Bride of the Monster in October.)

The film itself doesn’t feature a bride but it does feature a monster, a giant octopus who guards the mansion of the mysterious Dr. Vornoff (Bela Lugosi).  Vornoff and his hulking henchman Lobo (Tor Johnson) have been kidnapping men and using nuclear power to try to create a race of super soldiers.  Or something like that.  The plot has a make-it-up-as-you-go-along feel to it.  That’s actually a huge part of the film’s appeal.

Bride of the Monster is regularly described as being one of the worst films ever made but I think that’s rather unfair.   Appearing in his last speaking role, Lugosi actually gives a pretty good performance, bringing a wounded dignity to the role of Vornoff.  If judged solely against other movies directed by Ed Wood, this is actually one of the best films ever made.

(For a longer review, click here!)

Horror Scenes That I Love: Tor Johnson vs Richard Carlson in Behind Locked Doors


Since today is Tor Johnson’s birthday, I wanted to share a scene from Plan 9 From Outer Space or Bride of the Monster or even the Beast of Yucca Flats.

Unfortunately, YouTube would not cooperate.  I found a lot of tribute videos that people had done.  I found several videos of Tor playing Lobo with silly music playing in the background.  There were a lot of weird Tor/Bela tribute videos.  (Apparently, there’s a very active community of Lobo/Varnoff shippers, which was not something that I really needed to know.)  Anyway, try as I did, I couldn’t find any decent videos of just Tor walking into a wall or rising from the dead of reaching for the bunny in Beast of Yucca Flats.

However, I did find this clip from a film in which Tor Johnson appeared in 1948.  Apparently, Behind Locked Doors was noir about a detective who goes undercover at a sanitarium.  One of the other patients at the sanitarium?  TOR JOHNSON!

So, enjoy this chance to see Tor Johnson in a scene not directed by Ed Wood or Coleman Francis.  (The scene was directed by Budd Boetticher, who has a far different critical reputation that both Misters Wood and Francis.)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Tor Johnson Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is Tor Johnson’s birthday so it just seems appropriate to present….

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films

Bride of The Monster (1955, dir by Ed Wood)

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959, dir by Ed Wood)

Night of the Ghouls (1960, dir by Ed Wood)

The Beast from Yucca Flats (1961, dir by Coleman Francis)

Horror on the Lens: Plan 9 From Outer Space (dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)


Watching Ed Wood’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space is something of an October tradition here at the Shattered Lens!  And you know how much I love tradition!

Some people say that this film has a reputation for being the worst film ever made.  Personally, I don’t think that it deserves that reputation.  Is it bad?  By traditional standards of quality, I guess it can be argued that Plan 9 From Outer Space is a bad movie.  But it’s also a lot of fun and how can you not smile when you hear Criswell’s opening and closing statements?

Enjoy and be sure to read Gary’s review!

(And also be sure to read Jedadiah Leland’s tribute to Criswell!)

(On another note: Watch this as quickly as you can because, over the least year or so, it seems like all the films of Ed Wood get yanked off YouTube as soon as they are posted.  Copyright violations, they say.  Personally, I think that’s shameful.  First off, Ed Wood is no longer alive.  Wood had no children and his widow died in 2006, having never remarried.  Whatever money is being made off of his films is not going to support his family.  Wherever he is, I think Ed would be more concerned that people see his films than some faceless corporation make money off of them.)

(It seems like, every year, someone threatens to either remake Plan 9 or produce a sequel.  Again, the original is all that is needed.)

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films: Bride Of The Monster, The Unearthly, Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Beast of Yucca Flats


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is Tor Johnson’s birthday so it just seems appropriate to present….

4 Shots From 4 Tor Johnson Films

Bride of the Monster (1955, directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)

The Unearthly (1957, dir by Boris Petroff)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959, dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961, dir by Coleman Francis)

Halloween Havoc! Extra: When Strikes Tor Johnson!!


cracked rear viewer

Today we celebrate the birthday of everybody’s favorite wrestler-turned-actor named Johnson… no, not Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but the hulking Tor Johnson (1902-1971)! Before he starred in all those Ed Wood epics, Tor was a pro wrestler billed as ‘The Super Swedish Angel’ (a bad guy, of course), and performed in hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bouts around the globe. Each year, Cracked Rear Viewer pays tribute to the 6’3″, 400 lb. behemoth, and this year I’ve unearthed a clip from a 1948 Budd Boetticher-directed noir called BEHIND LOCKED DOORS, in which Tor beats the crap out of another horror/sci-fi icon, Richard Carlson . Happy birthday, O Mighty Tor!:

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