The Cyclops (1957)
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Audience Reviews for The Cyclops
Gordon's biggest and most well known films are THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN and WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST. These achieved big heights for Mr. BIG, but before these two were even made, a lesser known effort containing an oversized mutilated man was unleashed to drive-ins by Allied Artists: THE CYCLOPS.. Bert I. Gordon movie predates THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN, so that would make it Gordon's first Giant Man movie: the giant man in WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST is very similar to this one. Unfortunately, it's a very dull movie, one that takes forever to get to the action (like KING DINOSAUR). The presence of Lon Chaney Jr. is interesting, but it's definitely one of his weaker performances The actors play their stereotypes well considering that they mostly just stand around and argue. Lon Chaney's avaricious securities crook isn't particularly convincing, but he's certainly animated. The other three are never caught staring blankly or smiling when they shouldn't, which happens in too many of these pictures. Your standard "radiation" excuse accounts for the giant animals. The giant man's face has been deformed because the area's (rather exotic) radiation acts differently on scar tissue -- the man had a wound over his eye when he entered the 'forbidden valley' Makeup man Jack H. Young outfits stuntman Dean Parkin with a beautifully-designed facial appliance that gives half of his face a "melted" look, with a single staring, bloodshot pop-eye. Young's most clever trick is the illusion that half of the Cyclops' upper lip is gone, exposing the teeth beneath. It's a truly surreal Tromp-l'ioeil effect. 2 The makeup will startle most anyone on a first viewing. Dean Parkin's extreme facial contortions add greatly to the effect. When the Cyclops suddenly rises into the frame and roars (he always seems to be contorting his mouth, as if in a perpetual howl), The Cyclops were abridged by a few seconds. I know a couple of people associated with WB's archives, and they want to see things like this fixed as much as anyone. When they can, they do. (The title is now fixed, read this.) The giant takes a large spear in his one remaining eye (not something to wish on anyone), and it's been shown that someone cut the Allied Artists negative to remove a subsequent bit of bloody trauma when he yanks the spear out hokey monster effects, barely a plot, THE CYCLOPS may not be Bert's best or most well known effort, but it's still 66 minutes of harmless fun with giant monsters, great dialog and Bert's charmingly cheesy effects. Overall, if you are a fan of this film or a fan of Mr. BIG, I'd say this is a no-brainer. Director Bert I. Gordon's follow-up to his "Colossal Man" films has James Craig, Gloria Talbott and a very worried-looking Lon Chaney adventuring to a remote land where a giant mutated one-eyed bald guy terrorizes them. Lots of real lizards substituting as mammoth dinosaurs are also abound in this "nature gone bad" favorite. The Cyclops delivers exactly what it promises, in the form of a huge guy with one great, googling eye and only half a face, seen clearly and often- and what's more, it manages to bring on the monster action early while still keeping the standard build-up to the revelation of the title beastie by thoroughly stuffing the second act with all those lizards, spiders, snakes, and hawks. If you were too young to care that all the creatures were rendered mostly transparent by matting shortcuts, or that the cyclops makeup was as cheap and crappy in execution as it was imaginatively gross in concept, The Cyclops would have seemed just about perfect. The Cyclops was when he first used a giant human being, the title character who is 25 feet tall, but it really underlined his career, as his second of six films in two years, which also included The Amazing Colossal Man and War of the Colossal Beast. He'd return to giants often in his films, whether human or not, with pictures like Earth vs The Spider, Village of the Giants and The Food of the Gods. lizard, hawk, iquana, are half transparent, utterly ridiculous. While the cyclops may look a little ridiculous, not a real cyclops but a giant with a deformed face that has left only one eye visible, he's added into the frame well Duncan Parkin gets a thankless job as Barton, the Cyclops of the title. It's not the mask he has to wear, as cheap as it is, because it's actually quite memorable. It's the fact that he's stuck playing the character like a retarded kid without the power of speech, mumbling unintelligibly The Cyclops is not Bert's best work. The plot construction is amateurish, the acting spotty, and the technical effects are weak (more on that later). But Gordon valiantly tries to make the most of limited resources, making L.A.'s Bronson Caves and County Arboretum stand-in for the wilds of Mexico. He sprinkles in a little mythology to add some class to the proceedings. And it doesn't hurt that the movie features a cool, hideous monster that scared the heck out of me when I was a kid. the technical effects, especially the matte work, are subpar even for the 1950s. The monsters are washed out and differently lit than the backgrounds and the human figures. Jack Young's make-up is startling, imaginative, and just plain gross. A huge fold of skin covers the right eye, as if the creature's forehead had melted. The remaining eye is lidless and bloodshot, and pops out of the skull like a watery ping-pong ball. The right side of the mouth and jaw have been ripped away, displaying enormous teeth. Voice artist Paul Frees provided the monster's caveman-like grunts, groans, and screams. Frees contributed to countless movies, cartoons and TV shows, including scads of 50s sci-fi movies where he was often featured as a portentous narrator: The Thing From Another World (1951), When Worlds Collide (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The Deadly Mantis (1956), Beginning of the End (1957), etc. Duncan "Dean" Parkin does a good job of conveying the Cyclops' confusion and frustration with gestures and facial tics, while still chilling the viewer to the bone A clip of "The Cyclops" was used as part of the original opening sequence of WPIX Channel 11 New York's "Chiller Theatre" back in the 1960s.[ Production effects were limited to backscreen projection, rudimentary matte work, and incorporating large images into the scenes. In the film, there is a scene in which the creature grabs Susan, but he also grabs the background as well, revealing the black color behind it
Filled with transparent critters (really Bert I know you can do better), Lon Chaney's hysterics and an eye gouging, it's a hoot of a 50's sci-fi movie.
This was the scariest thing for me when I was about 4. Good ol' Cyclops still looks pretty creepy to me, but my daughter just laughed at it!
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