Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Kronos

Here’s another entry in a sub-genre that could be called Movies That Scared the Crap Out of Me When I Was a Kid. Of course, it’s another Fifties alien invasion movie like last week’s INVADERS FROM MARS. In this one, an alien spaceship lands not in a sand pit but rather in the ocean, and instead of the evil aliens taking over humans, they have a big-ass robot that sets out to wreak havoc.

And here comes the part that makes the movie, well, somewhat less scary. The robot looks kind of like . . . a giant water tank.

That’s right, the elevated water tanks you can find on the edge of every small town in America. Doesn’t exactly strike fear in your heart, does it? In fact, I remember watching this for the umpteenth time one summer morning on the Dialing for Dollars Movie when a member of my family who shall remain nameless walked by, glanced at the screen, and said, “Is this that stupid giant water tank movie again?”

Some people just don’t get it. KRONOS was still pretty scary when I was eight or nine years old. I found it quite entertaining, too. It might not be now – I haven’t seen it in many years – but back then it was one of my favorites. Maybe yours, too. Or maybe not.


Anonymous said...

When I was growing up in the 60's the local channels all had Chiller Theatre-type programs every Friday night and Saturday afternoon. There were a lot of the Universal monsters and plenty of Godzilla and his rubber-suited Japanese brethren, but what dominated those shows were the atom-age horror films of the 1950's, like Kronos, Them, The Monster That Challenged the World, Invaders from Mars, Beast from 20,000 Fathoms etc etc etc.

To modern eyes many (most? all?)of these films seem awkward, dated, and critically indefensible. But I am helpless before their charms.
James, do you have Bill Warren's staggering reference to these movies, Keep Watching the Skies? It's exhaustive, endlessly entertaining and laced with nostalgic memory.

John Hocking

Randy Johnson said...

I don't remember this. Our show was Shock Theater, hosted by Doctor Paul Bearer,on Saturday nights, where a lot of those fifties movies were a staple.

James Reasoner said...

I don't have Bill Warren's book, but it sounds like something I need to read. I'll check it out.

Our Saturday night horror show was Nightmare, hosted by Gorgon (actually the same guy who played Icky Twerp, the host of the local kids' show that ran every weekday morning). It didn't run many of the Fifties SF movies, though, more Thirties and Forties horror, although a THEM or INVADERS FROM MARS would sneak in now and then.

Richard Prosch said...

I didn't see KRONOS until I was an adult, but I can grok the scary quotient for a little kid. Our show was "Boo Theater" where I saw the Corman Vincent Price movies. To add to my fear, it was on Channel 5, a station with sporadic interference and ghosting --to this day, sudden static scares the bejeezus out of me.

Skata said...

The book by Bill Warren is incredibly useful and very entertaining. A little pricey, but definitely worth getting.