Release Date(s)1957 (April 25, 2017)
Studio(s)Allied Artists Pictures (Warner Archive)
- Film/Program Grade: D
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: D
Roundly considered to be one of the worst movies of its era, From Hell it Came is a 1957 schlocker from director Dan Milner, who also helmed The Phantom from 20,000 Leagues two years prior. Featuring a plot about a group of scientists who set up their laboratory on an island inhabited by superstitious natives and coming under attack from an island prince reincarnated as a tree monster (aka the Tabonga), it’s a low budget monster movie with very little monster in it, but one that Joe Dante describes as “probably one of the worst movies of the 50s.”
To be perfectly frank, From Hell it Came is as dull as dishwater for great portions of its running time, but its monster could likely have carried it through if they had chosen to show more of it. It’s only on screen for about 10 minutes of its 71-minute running time, meaning that we’re stuck with otherwise unnecessary scenes of excruciating dialogue exchanges and character interactions. Some of these scenes involve actress Linda Watkins, who goes to great lengths of annoyance with an accent falling somewhere between Britain and Australia. It’s anybody’s guess as its true origin. The rest of the cast includes Tod Andrews, Tina Carver, and Baynes Barron.
Warner Archive re-presents From Hell it Came on Blu-ray, upgrading from their previous MOD release. Sporting a new transfer taken from a new 2K scan of a fine grain master, the film dazzles in high definition, more so than its DVD-R counterpart. The black and white cinematography is well represented with excellent grayscale. Everything appears crisp with high amounts of fine detail and well-rendered grain levels. Contrast and brightness is never a problem and leftover film damage is altogether absent, allowing for a clean and stable presentation. The audio is presented via an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD track with optional subtitles in English SDH. Although limited in its aural capabilities, it’s a fine representation nonetheless. Dialogue is always clean and clear while sound effects and score have good separation with no major distortions, hiss, crackle, or dropouts. The sole extra that’s been included is the film’s original theatrical trailer, but presented in HD.
Released on a double bill with The Disembodied, From Hell it Came’s appeal is mostly for deep-diving genre fans or folks who likely saw it on TV when they were kids. It’s more of an example of what some of the worst movies that the decade it came from had to offer, especially from Allied Artists Pictures who also managed to give us classics like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and House on Haunted Hill. With its trailer and original one sheet being far more intriguing than the film itself, it’s a bit of stinker with unintentionally entertaining qualities. Warner Archive’s efforts in bringing it into the high definition fold are quite commendable. For a certain section of film fans, this excellent presentation is certainly a blessing (or a curse, depending on how you look at it).
- Tim Salmons