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A Filmmaker's Review: "The Magnetic Monster" (1953)

by Annie Kapur 12 months ago in movie
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5/5 - a whole lotta cheesy Sci-Fi fun!

There are many reasons to watch what they call 'B-Movies' and I have been glad to find others who enjoy them just as much as I do. But what is a 'B-Movie' anyhow?

Many people think that B-Movies are arthouse films made with nearly no money. That is simply not the case. An arthouse film is an arthouse film no matter how much money is involved. A 'B-Movie' rather is a movie made by a commercial company such as 'Paramount', 'Columbia Pictures' or even 'MGM Studios' which is sort of a low-budget filler between two big pictures. We have the big budget 'A-Movies', the lower budget 'B-Movies' and then we have the arthouse and independent movies which are completely separate to the commercial realm.

This movie is about a nuclear scare. Once upon a time in a shop that sells clocks and electronics, radiation starts to make the clocks stop and the machinery move on its own. From the over-the-top jumping out of the way of the lawnmower that the visiting woman does all the way through to the man who threw the pins upon the ceiling to see if they stuck, this entire starting point for our 'radioactive problem' is cheesy as hell - but my god is it fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously - it is a fast-moving film which is not actually very long to watch and though it is filmed in black and white, it still makes for a lot of vibrance. The overacting is part and parcel to the whole B-Movie experience and honestly, it is well worth the watch.

When I first saw the trailer to the film the very first thing I thought is: 'man, are these explosions fun!' But in reality, in the back of my mind I was also thinking: 'did they just show me the entire climactic point of the film in a single trailer?' The answer is no. They don't. There is actually a lot more fun to be had from the sub-story of the pregnant wife to the man who wants to stabilise the atom all the way down to the fact they have to land the plane whilst a man's gums are bleeding. This movie has several sub-stories that are well-worth getting lost in and are actually quite thorough especially for a 'B-Movie' with only an hour and a half of running time.

As we begin towards the climax of the movie we get these weird cuts from the plane to the guys who are trying to get it to land. I would say that these were strangely put and out of time, but in the case of a B-Movie, I think it brings out the real raw quality of the film. It makes us sit there are physically watch for these changes rather than expecting them. I can concur that the people attempting to do this probably didn’t talk to each other and that this was entirely by accident; but it makes for a very effective scene in the end. By the time the film finishes, we are left with a very coarse and very raw climax to the film alongside the love story, alongside the villain and alongside the whole ‘mad scientist’ stuff of Frankenstein. I feel kind of bad for thinking that this film was directed by Edward D Wood Jr now because it is actually quite good. Anyways, if you’re going to watch a B-Movie or if you’re just starting the experience: watch this one - it’s fantastic.

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About the author

Annie Kapur

Film and Writing (M.A)

150K+ Reads on Vocal

IG: @AnnieApproximately

Pronouns: (she/her/hers)

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