It Conquered the World (It Came From Another World, 2007)

Mihm_It_Came_From_PosterThe A-Rockin’ Scientist  Professor Jackson is back!!!   Along with the Canoe Cops!!!! Wait one second…

Associate of Professor Jackson Dr. Frasier is in the woods when he witnesses a meteorite fall to earth.  He goes to investigate and appears to be attacked by a force from the meteor.

Professor Jackson is called in to determine what has happened to Frasier.  He goes out and is assisted by the Canoe Cops, Sven and Gustav.  They locate Dr. Frazier, who seems unaware of just how long he has been gone.  They bring him home and Professor Jackson runs tests to see if he is okay.  But of course, he isn’t.  Because there would not be a frickin’ movie if he was fine.  Frasier is possessed by an alien intelligence that seeks to rule the earth.  He uses mind control on the Professor’s girlfriend and escapes to set his diabolical plans in motion.

Again, Professor Jackson must save the world..but can he stop the evil alien fiend being that has possessed his dear friend?

This one has it all.  A ping-pong ball eyed alien! Romance!  A Canoe Paddle Battle! Science! Josh Craig returns to the role of Professor Jackson, this time with an even more pronounced Shatner inspired vocal pattern.  It is a bit over the top but is also a lot of fun.

Like the Monster of Phantom Lake, the budget reads in the film as “No Budget”.  As noted, the evil alien is actor Mike Mason with what look to be ping pong balls for eyes. As a semi-sequel, Jackson and Elizabeth are the only characters to return.  The film acknowledges his love interest Stephanie…with a single line noting she is dead.

This one has more jokes slipped into it, as well as a musical number.  This time around it is a slickly produced song…but played off as being performed by the cast.  There are split screens, clearly different singing voices and far more instruments than the cast members are playing (the song was performed entirely by Mihm).

It Came From Another World is an enjoyable romp.

Humanoid From the Deep (The Monster of Phantom Lake, 2006)

Mihm_Monster_Phantom_CoverChristopher R. Mihm’s debut is a tale of toxic waste and teens in danger.  Professor Jackson (a professor of science!) and his assistant Stephanie have come to the woods of Wisconsin to study the local frogs.  Meanwhile, a group of teens is on a camping trip to celebrate graduating from high school.  Unbeknownst to any of them, a local company has its employees dumping toxic chemicals into the lake.

When the shell-shocked veteran Michael “Lobo” Kaiser falls into the toxic lake, he is mutated into a giant algae monster that begins to attack those around the lake.  It falls to the Professor and Stephanie to figure out how to stop the monster.

The Monster of Phantom Lake features a monster that looks like it was made from paper mache and duct tape…and this works within the confines of the film.  With large round and unblinking eyes, the mouthless creature successfully evokes a b-movie monster from the 50’s.

The teens are noticeably not teens and their dialog sounds like what adults in 50’s Hollywood thought teens sound like.  The dialog, in general, is quite campy and dated, such as when the professor cheerfully notes he does not pay much attention to the talk of women.

Then there are goofy additions like the Canoe Cops Sven and Gustav.  The joke is they get around in a canoe.  And they have Norwegian accents.  This aspect is a very Minnesota thing.

What brings it all together is a sense of sincerity.  Mihm is not mocking the films of the 50’s.  Instead, he is looking back fondly.  This is not to say they lack humor.  The laughs, including the dated language and cheap effects, are intentional. They are simply not derisive.

There is a warm-hearted charm to the Monster of Phantom Lake and it’s simplicity, looking back to a far complex time for movies.

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