Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Cinematic Good vs. Evil Morality Play

When you're barely 7 years old, this type of movie was the epitome of cinematography.  No UFOs or government cover-ups here.  Just clear cut good vs. evil...morality play(?) with the US Navy playing the role as the cavalry coming to the rescue.  

Psychologically speaking, the Navy was perceived as being above board as compared to the other military services.  The Vietnam War was ramping up by the time that the film was released so this movie had no social "stain" attached to the Navy.

The Navy vs. the Night Monsters was released in 1966.  I remember seeing this film at the base theater at Dyess AFB, Tx either in 1966 or 1967.  It was shown as a Saturday matinee and the theater was filled to the brim with was a raucous group high on Hersey bars and diet sodas back then...pure sugar. 

Here is the plot summary from Wikipedia:

A group of scientists discover biologic specimens dating back to the first Ice Age. A plane carrying the prehistoric trees and plants is scheduled to touch down for refuelling at a naval weather station base on "Gow Island" before continuing on to mainland for further research. Along the way seven of the eight passengers on board mysteriously disappear, and the pilot crash lands the plane on Gow. As the only apparent survivor, the pilot is found in a state of shock, leaving the members of the Naval base to determine what happened.Unloading the trees from the plane, the local scientist Dr. Beecham recommends planting them in local soil to ensure they survive. It is later discovered that the trees are actually acid-secreting monsters that kill, and it is up to the locals to figure out how to stop them.

The cost for the movie ticket, a dime.  Candy bars were a nickle, the Coke was a dime.  To some movie goers today, this would truly be a paranormal phenomena.  CIA conspiracy?...hardly...perhaps a subliminal message that environmentalist wanted to portray... a stretch at most. 

Note:  Movie poster image from Wikipedia. TH 


  1. Oh my God, I remember seeing this one at the AFB Saturday matinee as well! It was the only theater around that still played the serial shorts (as well as either one of the Popeye quickies, or one of the old Republic News reels from WWII) at the beginning of the film. If you didn't go to the theater every Saturday, you'd miss a whole chapter from the serial, and with those things in the head of a little kid, that meant you might as well have never gone to the movies in the first place. "The Spider's Web" was great! "Flying G-Men" (as well as all of the Tarzan serials) really sucked . . .

    I remember our Mom use to give us an allowance of 50-cents every Friday, and if we spent it all on firecrackers or candy, we didn't go to the movies the next day. It's kind of creepy how parents try to instill discipline in a child by forcing him to weigh the differences between immediate gratification and the future rewards of being thrifty. Unfortunately, all it did was teach me that bad movies were great, and all of those little things we love the most -- candy, firecrackers and movies -- were temporary and, therefore, intangible at best. Oh, yeah, I also learned that Peter Cushing and Doug McClure (the guy who said "watching 'The Sound of Music' is like being beaten to death by a Hallmark card") were the two greatest cowboys to ever stare down a T-Rex in the off season. Gotta love 'em!

    Sorry this is so short, but I have research to do. I'm going to find a DVD copy of "The Navy vs. the Night Monsters" even if I have to make it myself! Thanks for the idea . . .

    One quick question the Wikipedia plot outline made me a little curious about: when, exactly, was the FIRST Ice Age? I'm wondering if maybe they meant the LAST Ice Age, but I don't recall any migration of acid-spitting trees during the LAST Ice Age. Also, I had intended to mention that the monsters were an awful lot like those taking over the world in "Day of the Triffids", but then I saw the little blurb on the bottom right of that poster you printed. Not real important -- after all this one's got the Navy!

    Cheers, Tim.

  2. You got 50 cents for a weekly allowance? You military brat "one percenter" brother and I got only 25 cents each per week! The matinee on most military bases was the best gig in town. In my mind, the dependent ID card's only true value was the unlimited access to the base theater though my mother preferred the commissary privilege.

  3. I didn't see this movie, wasn't even born in 1966. It reminds me of the recent Battleship. Navy (good) vs alien invaders (bad). Things haven't changed that much.

  4. Nab, great to see you here! I've yet to see Battleship, will see it once its on my local cable company's (Cox) on demand programs...its free!

    The above movie was your classic B movie, but it was action packed and filled with suspense...for a 7 year old.

    I'll have to ask James if he secured the DVD copy.