B Movie Challenge: The Beast from the Beginning of Time

A long, long time ago (in a galaxy much like our own) filmmakers were allowed to roam freely, lensing whatever schlocky fossils of junk they wanted. The sands of the hourglass dripping never stopped these Archaic Homo Sapiens with seven dollars, a group of local stage actors, and a mail-order make-up kit for Halloween from picking up a camera and capturing “moments in time” as the late great filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich once stated (I don’t think he ever saw this bone of contention, though). As a society we love to preserve our ancient relics for posterity, even archiving some of cinema’s prodigious achievements in the cold shafts of mountains. I highly doubt one of those cans of chilled chemicals contains a copy of the 1965 science fiction (non)classic The Beast from the Beginning of Time

In the early 20th century when Clile C. Allen designed a newer zoom lens for use in motion picture cameras, I am pretty sure Allen never dreamed the invention would be abused (and overused) by the Wichita, Kansas KARD-TV Channel 3 station crew (who financed this film. I mean it this was made with TV equipment and starred most of the crew from the station)! Throughout the timeline of the production, almost every shot is a zoom lens. Characters will begin a very heavy dramatic speech, only to be zoomed in on while they are crying (probably because as a crew member they contributed their finances for the $10,000 budget). This trend became popular in ATO (after The Office) times, so you could say KARD-TV Channel 3 was ahead of its time. However, though they might have seen a future for the use of the zoom lens, they could not see the bad stage acting done throughout nor the missing frames when major events happen ([SPOILER ALERT] we don’t even get to see a dinosaur bone stab through the beast’s chest like a neanderthal vampire!) or even the opening without credits (they eventually come on later). The zoom lens is a luxury when used correctly (see any Kubrick example) but it is certainly not a necessity.

As for the plot of this Hollywood Neolith, two archeologists randomly dig in a forest somewhere (not sure why or for what reason, but they sure do) and dig up the remains of a creature that will prove Darwin is full of dinosaur oil! Naturally, when you find a half-human/half-human thingy-ma-bobber that threatens the established timeline of man, someone will raise a finger in protest. Unfortunately, when they raise that finger, the creature rips off their entire arm in protest (I guess they don’t know how to HANDLE the relics with care). Throw in some electrical storm chaos, a few cocktails from someone’s basement office (the sets shake when they walk around), and a paper mache Stegosaurus and you have yourself a film that will not soon be forgotten (unless you want to).

Excavating Your Way at a muddy 58 minutes, this film was directed by Tom Leahy (a TV horror host who went on to direct shows like Major Astro and Nightmares), who also played the titular beast in the film under the pseudonym Nelson Strong (at least there was never a WEAK signal). You can find this diamond in the rough on most streaming services due to it being sort of in the public domain (this was made before TV rights were worked out), but because of it being filmed on studio equipment, most of the crisp negative has been lost in time. So clean off that bloody shovel, toast some bagel pizza bites over an eolith stone oven, and dig into an evening of entertainment that due to its length won’t take eons for you to enjoy (although with the zooms in might seem that way).

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues and short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, Negative Creep: A Nirvana-Inspired Anthology, A-Z of Horror: U is for Unexplained, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Born and raised in Iowa, Klink lives with his family in Pennsylvania where he shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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