Deadly Ray from Mars (1966)

Article #1510 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-3-2005
Posting Date: 9-30-2005
Featuring Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton

Flash Gordon packs fifteen weeks of adventure into ninety minutes when he flies to Mars to fight Ming the Merciless.

I’ve gone on at length before on my opinion of feature versions of serials. Quite frankly, I’m as bored with rehashing this opinion as I’m sure you are with hearing me beat this dead horse. However, I still have plenty of them to watch, and my reaction remains the same. So how am I going to write about the experience of having watched yet another one? Simple; I’ll couch the experience in an extended but labored simile which I nevertheless hope will prove somewhat entertaining.

Watching an episode of a serial is like eating a candy bar. It’s sweet and tasty but full of empty calories and has no nutritional value. One is enough for any reasonable length of time, as their rich sweetness definitely calls into play the law of diminishing returns. Of course, not all candy bars are created equal; some I like quite a bit, while I have no appetite at all for others. Got that?

Watching a feature version of a serial is like wolfing down a given number (in this case, fifteen) of a specific candy bar in a compressed period of time (say, ninety-six minutes). The fact that I like this particular candy bar makes little difference; the sickening overdose of a sugar rush renders the experience aggressively unpleasant. In this context, the only positive thing about the experience is that this candy bar has almonds, which remain tasty nonetheless (i.e., I like the sets).

Personally, I’m glad it’s only a simile. I am on a diet, you know.


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