From Hell it Came (1957)

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

From Hell it Came (1957)

This would be the movie I made reference to yesterday when I discovered Uncle Fright.  If it were completely up to me the entire review would be nothing but two words.  Tree Monster.
Click Me for Amazon Actors: Tod Andrews, Tina Carver, Linda Watkins, John McNamara, Gregg Palmer
Directors: Dan Miller
Format: NTSC
Language: English
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Allied Artists
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2009
Run Time: 71 minutes
A South Seas island prince is wrongly convicted of murder and executed by having a knife driven into his heart.  The prince is buried in a hollow tree trunk and forgotten about until nuclear radiation reanimates it in the form of the "tabonga", a scowling tree stump.  The monster escapes from the laboratory and kills several people, including the true murderer (the witch doctor, whom the tabonga pushes down a hill to be impaled on his own crown of shark teeth).  The creature cannot be stopped, burned, or trapped.  Only when a crack rifle shot drives the knife (which still protrudes from the creature's chest) all the way through its heart does it finally die and sink into the swamp.  A pair of American scientists save the day.  TREE MONSTER!
According to Tim Healey, it deserves an honored place in the canon of the world's worst movies.  However, in Leonard Maltin's movie guidebook, the film was rated at 1½ stars (only the second-lowest of seven ratings available), with the comment that "As walking-tree movies go, this is at the top of the list."  James Rolfe reviewed it in his Monster Madness series, acknowledging the absurdity of having a tree monster "come from hell" rather than a demon or oni.  TREE MONSTER!

What more is there to say?  Well, Fangoria wrote…
Despite all my gripes here, FROM HELL IT CAME does hold a valid place in the pantheon. It is a great expression of the period’s Atomic Age fears and a superb example of the creature films that saturated the time. No, Tabonga is not at all scary. The plot is slow and dry, and the scientists’ constant mocking of the natives’ primitive ways comes across as a giant “We are America, and everyone else sucks,” yet the film still has a kitschy charm that makes it a decent watch.
Now available as part of Warner Home Video’s Archive Collection, FROM HELL IT CAME is recommended not as an example of brilliant filmmaking or intense scares, but more as a fun, cheesy laugh and a fine example of 1950s atomic worries. Check out the trailer below, and marvel at the wonder that is Tabonga!

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