Vintage Pulp Sep 26 2009
TREASURE ISLAND
Just because a sci-fi movie is old doesn’t automatically mean it’s cheesy.

How times change. This Island Earth—for which you see the Swedish promo art above—was a visually stunning, convincingly scripted and well-directed 1954 sci-fi classic that got skewered by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang forty-four years after its release. But the guys at MST3K didn’t prove This Island Earth had been a bad movie all along—they simply proved they were sharp enough to make fun of anything. Watching this one last week, we realized big Technicolor space extravaganzas with matte backgrounds and guys in latex alien suits really don’t look any less believable than modern sci-fi sagas. Pacing, editing and camera movement have certainly been refined for today’s attention deficit culture, but all that moving, shaking and quick-cutting is also used because the new CGI monsters aren’t really much more convincing than the costumed stuntman who played This Island Earth’s famous Metaluna mutant. Sure, the mutant doesn’t look 100% convincing—but if you tell us Gollum, for instance, does, then we’ll give you the number of a good optometrist. We have to agree with the commenter on IMDB who said maybe he’d better watch MST3K to find out what’s so bad about This Island Earth, because from his perspective—and ours—it’s a treasure. It opened in Sweden as Rymdens Demoner, today in 1955.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 13
1970—Angela Davis Arrested
After two months of evading police and federal authorities, Angela Davis is arrested in New York City by the FBI. She had been sought in connection with a kidnapping and murder because one of the guns used in the crime had been bought under her name. But after a trial a jury agreed that owning the weapon did not automatically make her complicit in the crimes.
October 12
1978—Sid Vicious Arrested for Murder
Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious is arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen is found in their room at New York City's Chelsea Hotel. Vicious and Spungen had a famously stormy relationship, but Vicious proclaims he is innocent. He is released on bail and dies of a heroin overdose before a trial takes place.
1979—Adams Publishes First Hitchhiker's Book
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the first of five books in a series, is published by Douglas Adams. The novels follow on the heels of the tremendously successful British television series of the same name.
October 11
1976—China Coup Thwarted
The new head of the Chinese Communist Party, Hua Goufeng, snuffs out a coup led by Chairman Mao's widow Jiang Qing and three other party members. They become known as the Gang of Four, and are tried, found guilty of treason, and receive death sentences that are later commuted to lengthy prison terms.
1987—Loch Ness Expedition Ends
A sonar exploration of Scotland's Loch Ness, called Operation Deepscan, ends after a week without finding evidence that the legendary Loch Ness Monster exists. While the flotilla of boats had picked up three sonar contacts indicating something large in the waters, these are considered to be detections of salmon schools or possibly seals.
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