Terror from the Year 5000 (1958)

Terror From the Year 5000 PosterWhen I first heard that there was a movie called Terror from the Year 5000, my mind went into hyperdrive at the possibilities!

What would this terror from three millennia in the future be like? Would it be some hideous monster bent on sucking our souls out through our nostrils in order to feed its black hole heart? Or maybe some type of overgrown insect cyborg unleashed by a secret cabal of scientists to cleanse the Earth after the Last Great War of 3255?

Heck, it might even be a human so advanced that he’s pure energy, whose only desire is to enslave us to do his dark bidding! In short, this Terror could have been anything and in any event was probably simply beyond my puny 21st century brain to comprehend!

And how right I was! Even if I had the full three thousand years to figure it out before hitting 5000 A.D., I would have never conceived of the horrifying menace puked up by a future gone mad! A future that sent its absolute worst back to our time to do something so evil that it left me so stunned that I had almost zero reaction to its diabolical scheme!

You see, the land of tomorrow is populated by radioactive mutants! But not just any mutants – any old crappy future could (and most likely does) have radioactive mutants – that’s simply a given. These radioactive mutants (or Radmuts as I call them) are distinguished by buck teeth, piggish nose, slightly lumpy face, and wear something like a black leotard with silver spangles sewn on it! My very brain aches just to recall this monstrosity!

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I believe that these particular Radmuts are that much more terrifying precisely because they resemble the kind of gals you might run into at the local social service office. The futureshock-type spin in the movie is that instead of these un-babes trying to get hooked up with food stamps like they do in our reality, the Radmuts are trying to kidnap our surly scientists to provide non-radioactive DNA to try and fix their population.

Yep, it’s the old “chicks from another world/land/time trying to steal our brightest minds to repopulate their worthless city” gimmick. Sometimes I think scientists just go into the biz with an eye toward a little sex slaving for themselves. Whatever. I’m pretty sure that Earth babes who’ve got plenty of real studs who lead their high school football teams to Districts twice like I did will still do alright.

That scientists are trying to make contact with the future is a pretty complicated concept, so thankfully there’s a narrator at the beginning of the movie to explain it all for us. Also thankfully (for the budget-conscious American International Pictures) there’s some stock footage to go along with the explanation. First man broke the sound barrier, then he broke the space barrier, and now he wants to break the time barrier! Do you understand what this movie is about now?

Following his receipt of a statue that is supposedly from the future and which also turns out to be highly radioactive, archaeologist Robert Hedges heads down to swampy Florida to get to the bottom of things.

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Once in Florida, the movie demonstrates its commitment to realism by devoting several valuable seconds of its slightly more than an hour running time to having Hedges rent a car at the airport from Hertz.

And when Dr. Hedges isn’t cruising around central Florida battling futuristic terrors in his Chrysler Imperial from Hertz, he likes to unwind by taking in a feature film! And the choice for discerning out-of-towner scientists? American International Pictures’ own I Was A Teenage Frankenstein! And he obviously enjoyed it because when he came out of it, he did his impression of Teenage Frankenstein’s lumbering walk much to the delight of his companions!

Professor Erling and his assistant Victor have built a big metal chamber that allows them to send objects into the future and allows the future to send objects back to them. Hedges is not convinced about this and demands proof which irritates the hotheaded Victor. Victor is also engaged to Professor Erling’s daughter Claire. You don’t need to have a fancy gadget that allows you to communicate with the future to know that Hedges won’t need a whole of convincing to steal Claire from Victor.

Terror from the Year 5000 is one of those movies that hinges on a dead three-eyed cat in a metal briefcase thrown into the nearby swamp. And if it only relied on that, it would be a really good movie. But it also features the ugly Hedges in a swimming suit! And there’s a brawl in the swamp between Hedges and Victor that sees Victor attacking Hedges from a row boat with an oar!

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Then you’ve got Angelo the handyman caught peeping Claire while she gets ready for bed in front of an open window! Later, relaxing in his shack surrounded by pin ups and reading a dirty magazine, Angelo is outraged that he would be accused of such a deed!

The Terror From the Year 5000 herself also wows us with her mysterious powers of the future when she steals the face of a visiting nurse and then proceeds to hypnotize Victor with her silver fingernails!

Top it all off with a scene of Hedges yawning while the professor yammers on about something and bring it all to a thought-provoking conclusion with the Professor telling everyone we need to do things in the here and now to prevent that awful future from happening and you’ve got yourself a dingy-looking, poorly-acted movie with a dumb story, dumber protagonists, and even dumber monster. The only scientifically sensible thing to do is to dump Terror from the Year 5000 in the metal cage and send it off into that horrid future for the Radmuts to deal with.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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