by Jim Nintzel
Looking for a cheap night out? It doesn't get much better than a $3 ticket for the Loft Cinema's showing of The Hideous Sun Demon at 8 p.m. tonight:
Good old radiation helps transform a straitlaced scientist into a hideous reptile freak whenever he’s exposed to the sun in this classically cruddy hunk of ‘50s monster junk.
Pray he doesn’t run out of zinc oxide! In The Hideous Sun Demon, Dr. Gilbert McKenna (Robert Clarke, The Man From Planet X) drops his sample — oops! — of “a new isotope that has never existed in nature before” and consequently receives a massive dose of 1950s sci-fi-grade radiation. As so often happens in these cases, the results are gruesome and tragic — whenever he is exposed to sunlight, Gil turns into a scaly-skinned lizard man (but one who keeps his khaki pants on, naturally), driven to kill. “You mean a human being could evolve backwards through time?” ask his plucky main squeeze, Ann. Alas, her question can only be answered with a resounding “yes.” Well, a yes and some hilarious “scientific” proof. Even though he becomes a murderous reptile at the pull of a curtain, “scientific” proof. Even though he becomes a murderous reptile at the pull of a curtain, some obscure legal statute says that Gil can’t be kept in the hospital against his will. Full of whiskey and self-pity, he heads out on his own, a ticking monster time bomb ready to detonate the minute his sunblock sweats off. The pleasures of The Hideous Sun Demon are many: rubber lizard suits, headlines reading “Weird Killer Still at Large,” a lounge singer named Trudy with an unusually lopsided piano playing style, and day-for-night sequences in which the night is so bright that one cannot see the actors’ faces. Truly a movie best experienced in the dark. (Dir. by Robert Clarke, 1959, USA, 74 mins., Not Rated)