Grindhouse

Atom Age Vampire

The Day the Sky Exploded

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Atom Age Vampire

Although this wacked out horror classic saw a 1960 release in Italy, it didn’t see US distribution until 1963 on the bottom half of a double bill with the spaghetti space opus Battle of the Worlds. Shorn of at least 15 minutes when it arrived here, Atom Age Vampire underwent a name change from its original title, Seddok – L’Erede di Satana (or Seddok – Heir of Satan).  Moving at a frenetic pace, laced with overwrought scenes of hyperbolic dialogue, we follow a stripper (Susanne Loret) distraught that her sailor beau (Sergio Fantoni) is having doubts about their impending marriage. Trying to reach him before his ship leaves, she has a car accident, disfiguring her. Nuclear researcher, Dr. Levin (Alberto Lupo) sends his assistant (Monique Riviere) to lure her from the hospital to use her as guinea pig for his cell-regenerating wonder drug, Derma 28. It works, but repeated injections are needed, and Levin is fresh out! To make matters worse, he’s fallen in love with Loret. He injects himself with an earlier version of the drug that turns him into a monster, all the better to kill street women for their glands. Will Loret’s lover, Fantoni – having second thoughts and just returned – be able to find and rescue her from this fiend? Along with the concurrent The Awful Dr. Orloff (directed by Jess Franco), this is an entertaining knock-off of Franju’s Eyes Without a Face. And – surprise – it wasn’t the last!

Director
Anton Giulio Majano
Starring
Alberto Lupo, Susanne Loret, Sergio Fantoni
Year
1960
Country
Italy
Format
35mm
Running Time
87 minutes

The Day the Sky Exploded

Released in Europe in 1958 but not until 1961 here in the States, this Italian-French co-production was co-directed by Paolo Heusch and (an uncredited) Mario Bava, who did the cinematography and special effects. A manned mission to the moon has to be aborted. The astronauts eject, but the atomic missile booster continues, exploding in an asteroid belt that dislodges many of them from their orbit, sending them hurtling towards Earth. As the tight cluster of gargantuan rocks approach, tidal waves, earthquakes, high winds and firestorms plague the planet. Is our world doomed? Hero scientist/astronaut, John McClaren (Swiss actor, Paul Hubschmid, veteran star of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms) labors with scores of others to find a solution to the onrushing cataclysm. Wunderkind Bava was also responsible for the ingenious assembly of the prodigious amount of disaster stock footage here.

The Day the Sky Exploded… drums up a bit of suspense and believability, just so long as you don’t ask how 3,000 A-bombs happened to be on warhead rockets capable of reaching outer space on a moment’s notice.” – Wild Realm Reviews

Director
Paolo Heusch
Starring
Paul Hubschmid, Fiorella Mari, Madeleine Fischer
Year
1958
Country
Italy/France
Format
35mm
Running Time
80 minutes

Upcoming Showtimes

Tue, January 31
7:30 pm
Atom Age Vampire
9:30 pm
The Day the Sky Exploded

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