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Unknown Terror, The

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1957; vt Beyond Terror). Emirau Productions/Regal Films/20th Century Fox Film Corporation. Produced by Robert Stabler. Directed by Charles Marquis Warren. Written by Kenneth Higgins. Cast includes Charles Gray, John Howard, Sir Lancelot, Gerald Milton, Mala Powers, Paul Richards and May Wynn. 76 minutes. Black and white.

Explorer Jim Wheatley (Gray) disappeared six months before the film begins, while exploring a mysterious cave in southern Mexico. His sister Gina Matthews (Powers) and her husband Dan Matthews (Howard) think he may still be alive, and mount a rescue expedition. Spelunking expert Peter Morgan (Richards) insists on coming along despite his weak leg, injured while saving Dan from a past cave-in; Dan, caused that accident, allows him along out of a sense of guilt. In Mexico, the party finds the local villagers – who still reportedly practice human sacrifice – unwilling to help. They soon meet Dr Ramsey (Milton), who is researching new antibiotics derived from fungi and moulds found in the area and is married to local woman Concha (Wynn). He claims ignorance of Jim and what the locals call the "cave of death". Ramsey also says he saves intended sacrificial subjects and sends them away to safety, but is quickly shown to be untrustworthy. It emerges that he is a classic Mad Scientist who for reasons not made clear has developed an ever-growing fungal monster located in the dread cavern. Dan is killed there; the sacrifice subjects are revealed to be living as fungus-encrusted Monsters who nearly kill Gina and Pete. Ramsey has rigged explosives to seal the cave and keep the fungus from escaping and overrunning the world, although he is consumed by it himself when the explosives detonate. Gina and Pete escape through an underground river to the sea.

This poor Horror in SF film bears some similarities to Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (1959), but is much inferior. The allegedly monstrous fungoids look remarkably like overflowing soapsuds from a washing machine. [GSt]


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