This is somewhat of a common occurrence for me. Every now and then, one of my friends will ask me if I have seen a particular movie. Nine times out of ten, I will have seen the movie in question but occassionally there will be a movie that I have not seen, which usually prompts me to go see it. Anyways, two months ago, my friend Mark asked me if I had seen this particular movie. I had to think about it for a bit but the answer was that I had. Now I happen to own several movies by this director but did not own this. So I fixed that and now I bring you today’s movie, The Cyclops.
The plot: Susan Winter is organizing an expedition into the mountains of Mexico to try and find her fiance Bruce, whose plane had crashed 3 years ago. She is accompanied by three men, scientist Russ Bradford (who is a friend of Bruce’s), pilot Lee Brand, and mining expert Marty Melville. Ignoring the orders of the Mexican authority, the quartet heads towards a restricted mountain area. As they fly around the area, a series of downdrafts unnerves Marty and he attacks Lee and tries to force the plane down but Russ holds him back while Lee recovers and lands the plane. When they get out, Russ spots a giant lizard but when he calls Susan and Lee over, the lizard is no longer in view. Meanwhile, Marty has found some uranium ore and wants to leave right away to file a claim for it but Susan refuses to leave. While Russ and Susan go searching for Bruce, Marty convinces Lee to fly him out of there but before they can leave, Susan and Russ return and take the keys to the plane. As they go searching for Bruce, they see several gigantic animals which unnerves the men to where they all agree that they should go home the next day, despite Susan’s protests. The next morning, Susan spies of piece of wreckage from a plane but before she can do anything, she spies something that causes her to scream out. The three men go looking for her and find her in a cave but as they check on her, a giant cyclops blocks the entrance with a boulder. Russ tries to see if Susan can communicate with the cyclops and though it looks like it is working, Marty tries shooting it with a rifle, which angers the monster and he kills Marty. When a giant snake appears, the cyclops battles the snake which allows the three people to escape. The manage to make it to the plane but before they can start it, the cyclops appears. Russ lures the monster away and manages to stab it in the eye with a flaming spear. The three then get on the plane and leave as the cyclops succumbs to the injury.
The second movie directed by Bert I. Gordon (a.k.a. Mr. B.I.G.) is an entertaining movie to watch, and while it did show that he needed to improve with his craft, those imperfections actually make this movie more entertaining. The actors were pretty decent, especially Lon Chaney Jr. (of Wolfman fame) who played the role of the self interested Marty really well. The special effects primarily involved the use of a backscreen projection but a lot of the scenes involving the animals resulted in transparent animals. There was also a scene where the cyclops grabs Susan, and inadvertently grabs some of the background as well. The design for the cyclops itself was rather unique, and one that Gordon would use in a later film. Instead of the classic single eye in the middle of the head look, he chose to have one eye look slightly bigger while having the other side of the monsters face be deformed. Like I said, an entertaining movie to watch, even with the bad special effects.
Rating: 3 out of 5