ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE (1952)
Article 1801 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-18-2006
Posting Date: 7-18-2006
Directed by Fred C. Brannon
Featuring Judd Holdren, Aline Towne, Wilson Wood
Martians hatch a plot to save their dying world by blowing the earth out of its orbit and having Mars take its place. They will have to contend with Larry Martin and his rocket suit.
There are some movies that have made such a strong initial impression on me that I can’t watch them again without having those original feelings rush back. This is not necessarily a good thing, especially if that initial impression was bad. This serial is one of those unfortunates. For years, I’d heard about serials and they sounded like so much fun, I couldn’t wait to see one, and this one came along, and almost singlehandedly turned me away from the whole serial genre permanently. Usually, the first episode of a serial is one of the strongest, but not in this one; it’s merely the longest episode, and it feels no different than the rest of them. What does it say about this one that its first two cliffhangers largely consist of footage from other serials? And that when it comes time for the inevitable recap episode (Chapter 10, for those who want to be forewarned) that most of the footage here is from those first two cliffhangers? This is a tired, lazy, and uninspired serial, and with Republic’s trademark fights long gone by this time, the footage that doesn’t look like it was borrowed from other sources mostly consists of dull heroes and villains standing around talking. There are a few good moments; the robot is fun, and the final episode has a bit of life to it. Other than that, there’s little to recommend here, unless you really have to see every serial with the rocket man outfit in it or you really have to see Leonard Nimoy in a Martian outfit.