DISCOVER--fifty schlocky vintage sci-fi movies worth a look

by jonabbott56 | created - 02 Jan 2013 | updated - 28 Jan 2016 | Public

As the old cliche goes, nobody ever set out to make a bad movie... although in the field of '50's sci-fi, it's fair to say that some cared more than others about the end result. Most of these films failed due to a combination of lack of funds and over-ambitious intentions. That's why they're worth a look, even if its only on fast-forward to 'the good bits'. Somewhere in these calamities there's about five minutes of good footage.

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1. Around the World Under the Sea (I) (1966)

G | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The crew of a five-man submarine travels the world oceans, planting sensors on the ocean floor to warn scientists of any impending earthquakes.

Director: Andrew Marton | Stars: Lloyd Bridges, Brian Kelly, Shirley Eaton, David McCallum

Votes: 538

2. The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)

Approved | 80 min | Sci-Fi

A military officer survives a nuclear blast, only to begin to uncontrollably grow into an increasingly unstable giant.

Director: Bert I. Gordon | Stars: Glenn Langan, Cathy Downs, William Hudson, Larry Thor

Votes: 2,153

3. The Atomic Submarine (1959)

Not Rated | 72 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

Ships mysteriously disappear on route across the Arctic Sea, and a specially-equipped submarine is sent to investigate.

Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet | Stars: Arthur Franz, Dick Foran, Brett Halsey, Tom Conway

Votes: 1,230

4. Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

Approved | 62 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Scientists become trapped on a shrinking island with intelligent, murderous giant crabs.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, Russell Johnson, Leslie Bradley

Votes: 2,616

5. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

Not Rated | 65 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

When an abused socialite grows to giant size because of an alien encounter and an aborted murder attempt, she goes after her cheating husband with revenge on her mind.

Director: Nathan Juran | Stars: Allison Hayes, William Hudson, Yvette Vickers, Roy Gordon

Votes: 4,480 | Gross: $0.48M

6. Attack of the Giant Leeches (2008)

Not Rated | 78 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

In a small town, the silence is shattered by a rash of disappearances at the swamp near the old deserted factories. Bodies are being discovered with no blood left in their bodies. It's up ... See full summary »

Director: Brett Kelly | Stars: Mark Courneyea, Kerri Draper, Kevin Preece, Shawna McSheffrey

Votes: 228

7. Attack of the Puppet People (1958)

Approved | 79 min | Sci-Fi, Horror

Lonely, deranged puppet-master designs a machine that shrinks people.

Director: Bert I. Gordon | Stars: John Agar, John Hoyt, June Kenney, Susan Gordon

Votes: 1,885

This is, as the image shows, and everyone knows, Attack of the Puppet People.

8. The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965)

Unrated | 70 min | Horror

Surfers are being brutally murdered. Is the culprit a sea monster or just one of the teens' jealous parents?

Director: Jon Hall | Stars: Jon Hall, Sue Casey, Walker Edmiston, Elaine DuPont

Votes: 738

9. The Giant Behemoth (1959)

Not Rated | 80 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Marine atomic tests cause changes in the ocean's ecosystem resulting in dangerous blobs of radiation and the resurrection of a dormant dinosaur that threatens London.

Directors: Douglas Hickox, Eugène Lourié | Stars: Gene Evans, André Morell, Leigh Madison, John Turner

Votes: 2,119

10. The Black Scorpion (1957)

Approved | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

Volcanic activity frees giant scorpions from the earth who wreak havoc in the rural countryside and eventually threaten Mexico City.

Director: Edward Ludwig | Stars: Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas, Mario Navarro

Votes: 2,366

11. The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)

Approved | 71 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

Gor, a powerful criminal brain from the planet Arous, assumes the body of scientist Steve March. Through March, he begins to control the world by threatening destruction to any country ... See full summary »

Director: Nathan Juran | Stars: John Agar, Joyce Meadows, Robert Fuller, Thomas Browne Henry

Votes: 1,338

12. Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)

Approved | 64 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

Astronauts travel to the moon where they discover it is inhabited by attractive young women in black tights.

Director: Arthur Hilton | Stars: Sonny Tufts, Victor Jory, Marie Windsor, Susan Morrow

Votes: 1,369

13. The Colossus of New York (1958)

Unrated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A brilliant surgeon encases his dead son's brain in a large robot body, with unintended results...

Director: Eugène Lourié | Stars: John Baragrey, Mala Powers, Otto Kruger, Robert Hutton

Votes: 899

14. The Cosmic Man (1959)

Passed | 72 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A spherical UFO proves to contain one alien visitor. How to deal with him? Investigators disagree...

Director: Herbert S. Greene | Stars: John Carradine, Bruce Bennett, Angela Greene, Paul Langton

Votes: 374

15. Day the World Ended (1955)

Approved | 79 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

In a post-Apocalyptic world after an atomic war seven disparate people find themselves in a protected valley in the home of a survivalist and his beautiful daughter.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, Adele Jergens, Mike Connors

Votes: 1,699

16. Destination Inner Space (1966)

Not Rated | 83 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

A group of scientists working in a deep-sea research station discovers a strange craft of extraterrestrial origin.

Director: Francis D. Lyon | Stars: Scott Brady, Sheree North, Gary Merrill, Wende Wagner

Votes: 338

17. The Giant Claw (1957)

Approved | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Global panic ensues when it is revealed that a mysterious UFO is actually a giant bird that flies at supersonic speed and has no regard for life or architecture.

Director: Fred F. Sears | Stars: Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill

Votes: 2,976

18. The Hideous Sun Demon (1958)

Unrated | 74 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

After exposure to radiation, an atomic research scientist finds himself changing into a murderous, lizard-like creature every time he is exposed to sunlight.

Directors: Robert Clarke, Tom Boutross | Stars: Robert Clarke, Patricia Manning, Nan Peterson, Patrick Whyte

Votes: 1,069

This Is, as the image shows, and everyone knows, The Hideous Sun Demon.

19. The Horror of Party Beach (1964)

Approved | 78 min | Horror, Musical

Sea creatures created from radioactive sludge terrorize a beach community.

Director: Del Tenney | Stars: John Scott, Alice Lyon, Allan Laurel, Eulabelle Moore

Votes: 2,476

20. Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957)

Passed | 69 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

A teenage couple accidentally awakens an alien after hitting it with their car.

Director: Edward L. Cahn | Stars: Steven Terrell, Gloria Castillo, Frank Gorshin, Raymond Hatton

Votes: 1,420

This is known to everyone else as Invasion of the Saucer Men.

21. Invisible Invaders (1959)

Approved | 67 min | Sci-Fi, Horror

Aliens, contacting scientist Adam Penner, inform him that they have been on the moon for twenty thousand years, undetected due to their invisibility, and have now decided to annihilate ... See full summary »

Director: Edward L. Cahn | Stars: John Agar, Jean Byron, Philip Tonge, Robert Hutton

Votes: 1,375

22. It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

Approved | 69 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

The first manned expedition to Mars is decimated by an unknown life form which stows away on the rescue ship.

Director: Edward L. Cahn | Stars: Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Kim Spalding, Ann Doran

Votes: 4,219

23. It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)

Not Rated | 79 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

A giant, radioactive octopus rises from the Philippine Trench to terrorize the North American Pacific Coast.

Director: Robert Gordon | Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, Donald Curtis, Ian Keith

Votes: 4,587

24. It Conquered the World (1956)

Approved | 71 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A well meaning scientist guides an alien monster to Earth from Venus, so that he can rid mankind of feelings and emotions - but only death and sorrow results.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Peter Graves, Beverly Garland, Lee Van Cleef, Sally Fraser

Votes: 1,994

25. Journey to the Center of Time (1967)

Not Rated | 82 min | Sci-Fi

Gruff, hard-nosed new boss Stanton takes over a scientific research company upon the death of his benevolent father. Scientists Manning, Gordon and White, who are very close to a ... See full summary »

Director: David L. Hewitt | Stars: Scott Brady, Anthony Eisley, Gigi Perreau, Abraham Sofaer

Votes: 602

26. Killers from Space (1954)

Passed | 71 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi

An atomic scientist claims he was abducted by aliens after being injured in a plane crash.

Director: W. Lee Wilder | Stars: Peter Graves, James Seay, Steve Pendleton, Frank Gerstle

Votes: 1,814

27. King Dinosaur (1955)

Not Rated | 63 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

A new planet moves into our solar system and four scientists (two couples) are sent to explore Planet Nova. In between romantic interludes, the cast faces an iguana masquerading as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Director: Bert I. Gordon | Stars: William Bryant, Wanda Curtis, Douglas Henderson, Patti Gallagher

Votes: 1,136

28. Lost Continent (1951)

Passed | 83 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Major Joe Nolan heads a rescue mission in the South Pacific to recover a downed atomic rocket. The crew crashlands on a mysterious island, and spends much time rock-climbing. They meet up ... See full summary »

Director: Sam Newfield | Stars: Cesar Romero, Hillary Brooke, Chick Chandler, John Hoyt

Votes: 1,213

29. Mars Needs Women (1967 TV Movie)

Unrated | 83 min | Sci-Fi

Dop leads his fellow Martians to Earth on an interplanetary quest for females. Dop proves that Martians have impeccable taste when one of his first conquests turns out to be sexy scientist Dr. Marjorie Bolen.

Director: Larry Buchanan | Stars: Tommy Kirk, Yvonne Craig, Byron Lord, Roger Ready

Votes: 858

30. Missile to the Moon (1958)

Approved | 78 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

Escaped convicts Gary and Lon are caught hiding in a rocket by scientist Dirk Green, who forces them to pilot the ship to the moon. Dirk, who's secretly a moon being, wants to return to his... See full summary »

Director: Richard E. Cunha | Stars: Richard Travis, Cathy Downs, K.T. Stevens, Tommy Cook

Votes: 916

31. The Mole People (1956)

Approved | 77 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

A party of archaeologists discovers the remnants of a mutant five-millennia-old Sumerian civilization living beneath a glacier atop a mountain in Mesopotamia.

Director: Virgil W. Vogel | Stars: John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont, Alan Napier

Votes: 2,860

32. Monster on the Campus (1958)

Approved | 77 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

The blood of a primitive fish exposed to gamma rays causes a benign research professor to regress to an ape-like, bloodthirsty prehistoric hominid.

Director: Jack Arnold | Stars: Arthur Franz, Joanna Moore, Judson Pratt, Nancy Walters

Votes: 1,435

33. The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)

Approved | 84 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Giant mollusk monsters attack California.

Director: Arnold Laven | Stars: Tim Holt, Audrey Dalton, Hans Conried, Barbara Darrow

Votes: 2,287

34. Not of This Earth (1957)

Approved | 67 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An alien agent from the distant planet Davana is sent to Earth via a high-tech matter transporter. There, he terrorizes Southern California in an attempt to acquire blood for his dying race, the result of a devastating nuclear war.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Paul Birch, Beverly Garland, Morgan Jones, William Roerick

Votes: 1,391

35. The Phantom Planet (1961)

Unrated | 82 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

After an invisible asteroid draws an astronaut and his ship to its surface, he is miniaturized by the phantom planet's exotic atmosphere.

Director: William Marshall | Stars: Dean Fredericks, Coleen Gray, Anthony Dexter, Francis X. Bushman

Votes: 2,473

36. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Not Rated | 79 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Evil aliens attack Earth and set their terrible "Plan 9" in action. As the aliens resurrect the dead of the Earth to destroy the living, our lives are in danger.

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr. | Stars: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Mona McKinnon, Duke Moore

Votes: 34,532

37. Queen of Outer Space (1958)

Unrated | 80 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

American astronauts are drawn by a mysterious force to the planet Venus, which they find to be inhabited only by beautiful women and their despotic queen.

Director: Edward Bernds | Stars: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eric Fleming, Dave Willock, Laurie Mitchell

Votes: 1,785

38. Robot Monster (1953)

Approved | 66 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

The monstrous Ro-Man attempts to annihilate the last family alive on Earth, but finds himself falling for their beautiful daughter.

Director: Phil Tucker | Stars: George Nader, Gregory Moffett, Claudia Barrett, Selena Royle

Votes: 4,287 | Gross: $1.00M

39. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Not Rated | 81 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

The Martians kidnap Santa Claus because there is nobody on Mars to give their children presents.

Director: Nicholas Webster | Stars: John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck, Bill McCutcheon

Votes: 10,471

40. The She-Creature (1956)

Approved | 77 min | Fantasy, Horror, Romance

A mysterious hypnotist reverts his beautiful assistant back into the form of a prehistoric sea monster that she was in a past life.

Director: Edward L. Cahn | Stars: Chester Morris, Tom Conway, Cathy Downs, Lance Fuller

Votes: 1,377

41. Target Earth (1954)

Approved | 75 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Giant robots from Venus invade Chicago. Stranded in the deserted city are strangers Frank and Nora.

Director: Sherman A. Rose | Stars: Richard Denning, Kathleen Crowley, Virginia Grey, Richard Reeves

Votes: 951

42. Teenage Cave Man (1958)

Approved | 65 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

A young man defies tribal laws and searches for answers. The result of his quest yields knowledge of past generations.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Robert Vaughn, Darah Marshall, Leslie Bradley, Frank DeKova

Votes: 1,236

43. Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)

Not Rated | 86 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

A young alien and a teenage earthling fall in love, and plot to stop the alien's race from using Earth as a food-breeding ground for giant lobsters from their planet.

Director: Tom Graeff | Stars: David Love, Dawn Bender, Bryan Grant, Harvey B. Dunn

Votes: 2,926

This is, as the image shows, and everyone knows, Teenagers from Outer Space.

44. The Time Travelers (1964)

Approved | 82 min | Sci-Fi

In 1964, a group of scientists create a portal that takes them to a barren, mutant inhabited, Earth in the year 2071.

Director: Ib Melchior | Stars: Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, John Hoyt

Votes: 1,988

45. Tobor the Great (1954)

Approved | 77 min | Sci-Fi

A young boy-genius befriends his grandfather's robot, designed as a test pilot for space travel and coveted by foreign spies.

Director: Lee Sholem | Stars: Charles Drake, Karin Booth, Billy Chapin, Taylor Holmes

Votes: 654

46. Valley of the Dragons (1961)

Approved | 82 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi