Terror from Beneath the Earth
Kevin G. Shinnick
Two years ago, I favorably reviewed director/producer Christopher R. Mihm's "Cave Women on Mars." I was happy to receive word that he is continuing to make his loving tributes to 1950s sci-fi horror. (As I write this, his newest film, "Destination: Outer Space" just had its theatrical debut.)
"Terror..." has underground nuclear testing open a passage that unleashes into the caverns of Wisawa a mutant creature that naturally (in these types of films) seeks human prey. When two small children go missing, it is up to local Sheriff (Justen Overlander), local egghead Dr. Vincent Edwards (Mike Cook), and his lovely assistant Rosemary Bennett (Stephanie Mihm) to try to stop the creature and save the kids.
Once again Mihm captures the charming and cheap feel of a Howco or Astor-style drive-in movie, from the stiff dialogue to the hokey monster that makes you think make-up artist Harry Thomas reworked leftovers from "Killers from Space" and "Frankenstein's Daughter" to create the goofy grinning bug-eyed bat creature. The cave set has that low-budget look (flat floors!) and the soundtrack music is library pull, which helps the mood of a B-movie programmer.
The black and white film is short (only sixty-nine minutes, but the programmers of the era weren't any longer) and so does not overstay its welcome. "Terror from Beneath the Earth" was the winner of the Best Science Fiction Feature Award at the 2009 ShockerFest International Film Festival. The low cost (under ten bucks) should make it easier for the casual fan to give Mihm's work a try.