The Cosmic Monster (1958)
Forrest Tucker is an actor who easily fit into the western genre but at the same time moved into the word of science fiction with low budget efforts like this made in England production. Just the previous year he had starred in an early Hammer horror, The Abominable Snowman opposite Peter Cushing.
Behind spectacles and a lab coat we first find Forrest working under Alec Mango’s head scientist studying the effects of magnetic fields on the earth. As fate would have it their third member of the team suffers an accident opening the door for attractive Gaby Andre. Before getting a look at her both men are appalled that a woman would be assigned to the lab. “This is preposterous. This is highly skilled work!” Tucker continues, “I know the type. Frustrated, angular, spinster. Very dedicated to her calling without a sense of humor. Bossy and infuriatingly right every time.”
Moments after meeting her Tucker’s already flirting and planning the seduction. Only in low budget efforts can this somehow work.
Before we know it there is an accident in the lab and strange weather is occurring with reports of spaceships flooding the local newspapers. Could they all be connected to the experiments Tucker and crew are conducting? Our leading man certainly thinks so.
Enter Martin Benson as a rather mysterious visitor to the small town who seems to know more than he should about the world of magnetism and the effects it can have on the world of insects and spiders. Radioactive rays have been released and are sure to have an effect on their growth rate.
It’s all going to add up to a poor imitation of films such as the 1954 favorite Them. The Military are called in and enlarged insects are magnified for our terrifying pleasure as they spin webs and try to catch the likes of Forrest’s leading lady.
There’s a lesson in here to be sure that will come near the fade out as Tucker and Benson talk of things man shouldn’t be dabbling in.
There would be both westerns and sci-fi titles ahead for Tucker. He starred in both F-Troop and The Ghost Busters on television while appearing in films like Chisum opposite John Wayne in 1970. His final film Timestalkers fittingly combined both genres.
Martin Benson who turns up here to lend a hand will for me always be Father Spiletto, the speechless scarred monk who helps unravel the mystery of The Omen in 1976.
Low budget to be sure but that doesn’t mean one can’t find some enjoyment with this 75 minute time filler on late night tv. Also, note the movie title on screen doesn’t match the poster. Singular vs, plural.