Tag Archives: 1965


The fifth submission in the June review writing contest: by Andreas O. Stoehr.

DIRECTED BY: Antonio Margheriti

FEATURING: Tony Russel, Lisa Gastoni, Massimo Serato, Franco Nero

PLOT: In 2015, the space police fight to stop an organ-miniaturizing mad scientist from

Still from Wild, Wild Planet (1965)

building a utopian community.

WHY IT DESERVES TO MAKE THE LIST: Although the synopsis might make it sound like a typical space opera, Wild, Wild Planet is anything but. Everything about the film simultaneously screams “bad!” and “weird!” The dubbed dialogue, for example, is as laughable as any Toho monster movie, with a mix of technobabble and would-be ‘60s clichés like “That’s the wildest, most way-out I’ve ever heard!” The grandstanding villain, Nurmi, constantly repeats his ill-conceived master plan, and his kidnappings are carried out by beautiful women teamed with bald, four-armed mutants.  This is 1960s Italian sci-fi at its wildest and most way-out.

COMMENTS: I’m not sure why Margheriti (who was credited as “Anthony Dawson”) hasn’t become more of a cult figure, though being name-checked in Inglourious Basterds might raise his status among film geeks.  Wild, Wild Planet displays much of the same untalented passion you might expect from Ed Wood or Coleman Francis, and with the screenplay so awkwardly translated into English, it feels even more delirious.

The film’s futuristic aesthetic, which was already outdated in 1965, involves bad model cities and psychedelic dresses; it’s like “The Jetsons” meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers by way of “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.”  TVs advertise “Computo-dolls,” and the only remaining form of art has performers dressed as butterflies prancing around in a circle.  When the mutant henchmen attack, they do so by suggestively enclosing victims in their trench coats; one scientist escapes in the midst of this process, and ends up as a comatose midget.  It may be ridiculous, it may be cheap, but it sure ain’t predictable.

Who, after all, could guess that the climax would take place on a resort planet amidst an exploding river of blood (that looks suspiciously like cranberry juice)?  With its bizarre interior design and enough hilarious non sequiturs to rival Plan 9, Wild, Wild Planet is a weird, weird movie.


The Wild, Wild Planet has a colourful bizarreness to it… But despite throwing up such an outre and colourful plot, the way Antonio Margheriti allows it all to transpire on screen is really rather pedestrian and dull. This rather wild skew of ideas ends up as a rather murky plot.”–Richard Scheib, Moria: Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review

3. REPULSION (1965)

“I hate doing this to a beautiful woman.” -Attributed to cameraman Gil Taylor during the filming of Repulsion


FEATURING: Catherine Deneuve

PLOT:  At first glance, manicurist Carole (Catherine Deneuve) seems merely to be painfully shy.  The early portions of the film follow her in her daily routine, and we grow to realize that her mental problems go much deeper: she daydreams, she seems to be barely on speaking terms with the outside world, she is dependent on her sister (who wants to have a life of her own) to care for her, and she is repulsed by men.  When her sister goes on a two week vacation, Carole’s fragile condition deteriorates, and we travel inside of her head and witness her terrifying paranoid delusions firsthand.


  • This was director Roman Polanski’s first English language movie, after achieving critical success with the Polish language thriller Nóż w wodzie [Knife in the Water] (1962).  The relatively recent success of Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) undoubtedly helped the film’s marketability, as it could be billed as a female variation on the same theme.  But despite dealing with insanity and murder, Polanski’s film turned out nothing like Hitchcock’s classic; whereas Psycho was clearly entertainment first, with horrors meant to thrill like a roller-coaster, Repulsion was relentlessly tense, downbeat and disturbing, strictly arthouse fare.
  • Ethereal Star Catherine Denueve (who had been the lover of, and given her first break in films by, roguish director Roger Vadim) was coming off her first major success in the lighthearted 1964 musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg [The Umbrellas of Cherbourg].  Playing a dangerous, asexual, schizophrenic woman in a role that called for little dialogue immediately after her role as the romantic lead in a musical demonstrated her tremendous range and helped establish her as one of the greatest actresses of the late 1960s and 70s.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: There are many enduring images to choose from, including the hare carcass and simple close-ups of Deneuve’s eyeballs, but the iconic image is Carole walking down a narrow corridor, as gray hands reach out from inside the walls to grope at her virginal white nightgown. (The scene is a sinister variation on a similar image from Jean Cocteau’s surrealist classic Le Belle et La Bette [Beauty and the Beast] (1946)).

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD:  Although there are several otherwordly, expressionistic dream sequences in the film, Polanski creates a terribly tense and claustrophobic atmosphere even before the nightmares come with odd camera angles and the strategic use of silence broken by invasive ambient noises. As Carole floats around her empty apartment, silent, alone, and ghostlike, ordinary objects and sounds take on an otherworldly quality. The effect is unlike any other.

Original trailer for Repulsion

COMMENTS:  Polanski begins the film with a close-up of a woman’s eyeball, an opening Continue reading 3. REPULSION (1965)