Saturday, 8 December 2012

Kronos (1957)

Kronos2Kronos starts out as another OMG that new asteroid we just found is on a collision course with the Earth films, and then quickly switches into an OMG the aliens are invading movie. Made by a small outfit called Regal Films in 1957 and distributed by 20th Century-Fox, this is classic 50s sci-fi.

This movie starts off, literally, with a bang. A team of scientists at Labcentral sounds the warming that a newly discovered planetoid is on a collision course with the Earth and the US military swings into action, launching hundreds of nuclear missiles at the planetoid. There are enough thermonuclear warheads to destroy an asteroid with ten times the mass of this one, but it has no effect.

For a while it looks like it’s headed for New York but eventually the planetoid crashes into the Pacific Ocean just off the Mexican coast.


Dr Leslie Gaskell (Jeff Morrow) has a suspicion that this asteroid is no mere rock, that it is in fact controlled by an intelligence. He heads off down to Mexico accompanied by his assistant and by his girlfriend Vera Hunter (Barbara Lawrence). At first they find nothing, but then a gigantic dome appears from under the ocean. The next day Kronos (as the thing is dubbed after a figure in Greek mythology) comes ashore. It is a gigantic robot spaceship thing on legs. It starts heading towards a nearby power plant.

Meanwhile Dr Gaskell’s boss Dr Eliot, who collapsed at the time of the atomic attack on the planetoid, is in a mental hospital. He has been rambling about a world depleted of power that has sent out giant robot accumulators to harvest power from other planets. These are of course not the ravings of a madman but the actual facts. Unfortunately Dr Eliot is now under the control of Kronos and is sending it instructions on how to find power plants.


The US Air Force has a simple solution. They’re going to drop a H-bomb on the bugger. Luckily Dr Gaskell realises that this will only make things worse - Kronos will simply absorb the power of the H-bomb. But his realisation may not have come in time. And if H-bombs can’t stop Kronos, what can?

This is pretty standard 50s sci-fi stuff but it’s generally fairly well executed and the large amount of stock footage used (of missile launches and so forth) is well integrated into the movie. The special effects are occasionally dubious and letting us see Kronos’s method of locomotion was perhaps a mistake as it’s more comical than sinister. Kronos himself (or itself) is reasonably well done and makes a fairly effective monser.


The acting is standard B-movie quality with Jeff Morrow and Barbara Lawrence being quite adequate. Veteran (and prolific) B-movie director Kurt Neumann handles matters competently.

The pacing is better than in many such movies and in packs a fair amount of action into its modest 78 minute running time. There is a brief romantic interlude in the second quarter of the movie that drags just a little, mainly because there’s no real plot associated with it.


The Image Entertainment DVD is barebones except for the theatrical trailer and is not 16x9 enhanced but it looks reasonably good.

Fun sometimes silly 1950s vintage sci-fi and recommended for fans of the genre.

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