May 29, 2018
Terror from the Year 5000 (1958) (part 2 of 8)
We cut to daytime at the museum. Bob is asleep on his desk, but awakens when Miss Blake enters. He stares at her groggily as some tooty sitcom-ish music informs us that this is supposed to be lighthearted.
“Goodness,” Miss Blake says, “Did you spend the night here?” What was her first clue? Or does Bob usually put his head down on his desk first thing in the morning? Miss Blake asks if he found out how old the statue is, and he tells her it’s from 5200 AD. She replies, “Oh, that’s not unusually old.” [??] Bob then points out he said AD, not BC, but Miss Blake’s statement is utterly nonsensical either way.
Bob says he must seem like “a raving drunk”, to which Miss Blake replies, “Oh, I didn’t mean that.” What she meant is that he seems like a raving idiot. You know, the kind who smoke around, blow on, and slam archaeological artifacts down on their desks. Bob says he wants to know what the thing is made of, so he’s going to send it out for a full “metallurgical analysis.” Remember that slack I cut this movie when I said that maybe the statue was made from organic materials and not metal? That sure didn’t last long, did it?
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We next find the statue sitting in another lab somewhere, surrounded by miscellaneous science-y equipment. A guy in a white lab coat does some science-y stuff around it, when suddenly another guy in a lab coat who looks about fifteen years old wanders in. He says, “Well, here I go again with my Geiger Counter!” and adds, “Boy, if I could have a buck for every guy who thinks he’s found uranium!” The other guy just ignores Fifteen Year Old Geiger Counter Guy as he pours random liquids into beakers. Geiger Counter Guy sees the statue and says, “Now, there’s an interesting centerfold! [?]” I think I found uranium, too. This guy must be sleeping with it under his pillow.
Geiger Counter Guy asks what it is, and Other Scientist Guy says, “I don’t know yet!” Um, isn’t it pretty obvious that it’s a statue? Geiger Counter Guy goes to take his leave, but not before patting the statue on its exposed behind [!] and saying, “Bye, gorgeous!” I didn’t realize it before I saw this movie, but scientists are lonely men. Very, very lonely men.
As he leaves, he happens to sweep his Geiger Counter past the statue, causing it to register a response. Gee, that was convenient. Geiger Counter Guy pronounces it to be “radioactive! It’s hot as a firecracker!” Then he stands back about three feet. Yeah, that should help.
Other Scientist Guy tells him to grab some tongs and toss the thing into water. Does this really help? Particularly when half the statue’s base is sticking up out of the water like Achilles’ heel? Other Scientist Guy says to “get some lead shielding on that thing! And hurry!” Hey, you’re a scientist too, you know, why does the kid have to do all the work?
We cut to Other Scientist Guy talking to Bob, who’s now holding a wrapped package that’s supposedly a lead box containing the statue. Other Scientist Guy says if Bob had been around the statue for a week, he’d be “a sick man”, and in two weeks, he would have been dead.
Um, hi. Not to intrude here, but remember that “Carbon-14 thing” that was mentioned earlier? Well, Carbon-14 happens to be a radioactive isotope, and when you carbon date something, you’re essentially quantifying the presence of that isotope. Given all that, how could you possibly carbon date an object and not realize it contained deadly levels of radioactivity? Come to think of it, this film would have been more believable if Bob had simply consulted a Magic 8-Ball to determine the statue’s date of origin.
Other Scientist Guy subtly suggests that maybe Prof. Erling was trying to kill Bob when he says, “Has it ever occurred to you that if you dropped dead, you’d be the victim of an almost perfect crime?” (Okay, maybe that wasn’t so subtle.) But if he means, other than the strange telegram from Prof. Erling, the mysterious statue from Prof. Erling, and a museum curator somehow getting radiation sickness in the middle of Manhattan, then, yeah, I guess this would be the perfect crime.
Bob scoffs at the implication, saying that the Prof is an old friend. Upon hearing this, Other Scientist Guy repeats that old saw about “with a friend like that…” I’d say somebody should use Carbon-14 to date this dialogue, but it only has a half-life of six thousand years.
A little later, we see Bob ask Miss Blake if she “had any luck with that long distance call.” What, to Florida? How much luck does it take to reach someone in Florida? Miss Blake says there’s no phone listing for the professor, so Bob tells her to book a flight for him down to Spooner Beach, and also to wire the Prof and let him know. Miss Blake leaves and Bob again addresses the statue. “Tell me, my deadly little girlfriend. Are there any more at home like you?” And if so, are they single?