At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews

FROM HELL IT CAME (Warner Archives)

By • May 10th, 2017 •

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BluRay review by Roy Frumkes

The perfect double-bill, in a few months, would be THE LOST CITY OF Z (cinematography by Darius (SEVEN) Khondji, shot in the Amazon Basin, costing a batch of millions) with FROM HELL IT CAME (shot around L.A. at a cost of…maybe twenty thousand?). LOST CITY runs 2 hr. 20 mins, FROM HELL -71 mins. So, the running time on the double bill would be 3 and 1/2 hours – less than THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. And as harrowing as you might find parts of THE LOST CITY, that’s how conversely hilarious you might find FROM HELL IT CAME. It promises to be a fun evening.

The dreaded monster in FROM HELL IT CAME looks like it was created by some kind of cosmic cookie cutter that drifted down from outer space and stamped this thing out of a giant sequoia. You either want to run screaming from it, or have it dipped into a vat of milk. It only figures prominently in the final twenty minutes or so of the film. Up until then, we get a bunch of island natives so blatantly fake – the lead bad-guys look like they were recruited from a ‘B’ gangster film and told to dab some Man-Tan on their faces – that beside them, the ambient tree trunk looks almost real.

I don’t know if others have noticed this over the years, and especially at the time FHIC was made, sixty years ago, but Paul Blaisdell, the creature’s creator, might very well have seen the silent version of THE GOLEM with Paul Weggner. There’s a strong subliminal resemblance between the two, aside from the frozen facial poses, in that they’re both on missions of vengeance, and where the Golem is given life by placing a Jewish star where its heart should be, the tree-monster has a dagger already piercing its chest, just waiting for it to be plunged further in to pierce it’s wooden heart, thus putting it out of commission.

Best thing about the film, outside of its inadvertent laughs, is the rather full score by Darrell Calker. It never pulls the narrative up to legitimate heights, but nor does it stoop to stupid ‘horror’ cues. The composer treats the movie, or perhaps his profession, with respect.

Also Warner Archives has done well to use the original poster art on the BluRay cover, with red blood squirting out of the monster, even though we’re told during the film that what’s coming out of it is green…

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