Film #263: THE LAND UNKNOWN / THE DEADLY MANTIS
The Land Unknown / The Deadly Mantis
3 out of 5 stars
A two-in-one disc of science fiction classics. First up, THE LAND UNKNOWN is a solid – albeit rather unknown – “lost world” flick from 1957 directed by long-time television stalwart, Virgil W. Vogel. The story is about a group of scientists who discover a prehistoric world inside a deep crater in the Antarctica. Lost and running out of resources, the team meets up with another man who’d also been lost in the world. Of course, it all turns out for the best after some fighting over the woman (it was, after all, made in the '50s), a few bloodless deaths, and a valiant sacrifice. In the end, THE LAND UNKNOWN is a surprising little film. Fun, a little on the innocent side, and a fine movie for a rainy afternoon. Next up… THE DEADLY MANTIS is another fun little “Big Bug” movie from the same year as THE LAND UNKNOWN. Directed by Nathan Juran (THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, ATTACK OF THE 50 FT WOMAN, 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH) and starring Craig Stevens (PETER GUNN, tons of television shows) & William Hopper (Paul Drake on the PERRY MASON television show), the film’s setup is handled well (albeit a little long) and the giant bug prop is cool in a dopey kind of way. MANTIS follows the standard plot for these kinds of things and the ending is a little rushed (due to all that setup), but the film is an innocuously fun little time-waster and “nostalgic fans” will revel in it. Some will remember this film being lampooned on MST3K in 1997. All in all, this two-fer disc is a solid rental, safe for kids, and worth checking out.