Mar 7, 2018
Terror from the Year 5000 (1958) (part 6 of 8)
Cut to a restaurant where, for some reason, the Prof is standing outside. I guess they have a policy against serving short bald guys. Or insane scientists. Bob wanders out and the Prof asks if he got in touch with the hospital. Bob says the girl at the front desk insisted that Victor “went home”, but for reasons unknown, he’s convinced that she was mistaken. Because girls are just plain dumb, right, Doc? Instead of going back to the hospital to check, Bob casually asks, “Is there a good movie in town?” Yeah, why not? Maybe Atomic War Bride is playing.
We next see Victor at a bar, pounding down shots [!]. You half-expect him to turn to the guy next to him and go, “You lost your job? Big F’ing deal. I got radiation poisoning!”
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Meanwhile, the Prof, Bob, and Claire are coming out of a movie theater. What movie did they see, I hear you ask? According to the posters outside, it’s I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, which just happens to be another AIP release. Shameless self-promotion doesn’t get much more shameless than this, does it?
The movie poster gives Bob the cute idea to imitate the walk of the Frankenstein monster as they head down the sidewalk. As he stiffly lumbers down the street, I can’t help but notice that this actually makes his performance seem more animated. The Prof and Claire have a good chuckle at this, apparently not too concerned about that guy who’s getting tested for radiation poisoning, whatever his name was.
Speaking of whom, we find Victor still knocking back the Jägermeister. He orders another shot, so the bartender turns to a guy right behind him. This guy nods, so the bartender goes ahead and pours the shot. I’m guessing that if your job description is “the guy who okays every shot”, you’ve got to be living a cush life.
We next see a drunken Victor stumbling out of the bar and heading down to the docks, eventually finding his way into a small motorboat. Uh-oh. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Or when they’ve been exposed to radiation.
Drunken Victor starts the motor and speeds off, which prompts some sailor guy to run out and shout, “Hey you! Come back here with that boat! Come back here! C’mere!” Look, dude, you’re a sailor stationed in Spooner Beach, Florida. I’m sure you can live without your boat for a couple of hours.
Victor practically runs the boat aground when he gets back to Prof. Erling’s island. (Captain Hazelwood, I presume?) He runs inside and uses a crowbar to get back into the boiler room, apparently eager to fire up the Hot Water Heater again.
Meanwhile, the Prof, Bob, and Claire are all in a bar, and coincidentally, it’s the same bar that Victor just left. We know it’s the same bar because they’re being served by the bartender who gives the okay to every shot. It turns out he knows the Prof when he tells him, “Don’t count on any work from your assistant tomorrow!”
The Prof gets a confused look and asks, “Why not, are your drinks that strong?” [??] (How many has the Prof had already?) The bartender clarifies that he meant Victor, saying he was so drunk that he had to get tossed out. Suddenly, someone yells at the bartender to turn on the TV set and he walks off.
Prof. Erling, apparently wanting to stick his head in the same hole in the sand as Bob, insists that the bartender must be “mistaken” about Victor having been there. Um, yeah, right. You’d think the whole damn world must be “mistaken” if you listened to these two.
When the bartender turns on the TV, all he gets is static. Claire says this must mean that Victor’s back at the house operating the Hot Water Heater. Bizarrely, Bob once again tries to assure them otherwise: “Let’s not get all jumpy because a TV set goes on the blink!” Something tells me that no less than God himself handing down a stone tablet engraved with the words “VICTOR IS AT THY HOUSE” would convince Bob that he isn’t still at the hospital.
The Prof finally admits that Claire is right, because the Hot Water Heater creates “a distinctive pattern of interference: That pattern!” Claire asks, “What does it mean?” Uh, what do you think it means? Girls are so stupid!
The Prof tells her someone’s operating the Hot Water Heater at “a higher voltage than ever before!” They all decide to go back to the island, but first we actually get to watch as the Prof stops to pay for their drinks. I guess no one told him they were supposed to “dine and ditch”.
Meanwhile, Victor has his face artistically positioned behind the Electrical Arc Generator. He puts his hand to a switch, but doesn’t flip it. Then he turns a bunch of dials all the way to the right like he’s Nigel Tufnel cranking his amps up to eleven. This causes the science-y noises to reach a fevered pitch as he yanks on something that looks exactly like a slot machine arm.
As he peers into the Hot Water Heater, we cut to the others racing back to the house in their motorboat. Claire reminds them that the Prof’s equipment will cause the engine to conk out soon. Bob’s solution? “We’ll worry about that when it happens!”
Claire notices the lights are flickering on and off at the house, and the Prof predicts that Victor will blow out the generator soon. Unsurprisingly, the motor on the boat dies out and can’t be restarted. So, Bob, if I remember correctly, this is the time to worry about it.
Victor touches That Switch again, but this time, he actually flips it, causing lots of stuff to go blammo. Out of the smoke, a dark female figure emerges, wearing a black bodysuit covered with big sequins about the size of half-dollars. The figure runs straight towards the camera, shrieking “Eeee! Eeee!” like a pelican swooping down to catch some fish.
We cut back to the folks in the boat. Now that Victor’s blown all the fuses, the motor starts again and the three continue on their merry way. Meanwhile, Old Man Angelo is in his shack, royally pissed that the lights are blown out and he can’t drool over his stack of girlie magazines. He angrily storms out of his shack just as the Prof’s motorboat pulls up. They tell Angelo what happened and they all rush into the boiler room, where they find Victor lying on the ground with burn marks on his face.
“Get away,” Victor mumbles. “Don’t come near me!” He must still be worried about those girl cooties. The Prof tells Claire to go get some water, and tells Angelo to go get a doctor. When Claire finally comes back with the water, the Prof shouts, “Never mind that now! Get some blankets, and hurry! He’s going into shock!” Hey, shocked people don’t get thirsty?
We fade into Victor convalescing in bed, and a doctor examines him as Claire stands nearby. The doctor says someone will need to keep an eye on Victor, and since the Erlings don’t have a phone for some reason, he wants to send over a nurse. Victor then yells some standard delirious non sequiters while Claire looks concerned.
Meanwhile, Bob and the Prof go down to the circuit breakers and get the lights back on. (So what was that well-lit room we just saw Victor in?) The Prof wonders what it was that sent Victor into shock, and Bob theorizes it has something to do with that suitcase he dumped in the water. Astoundingly, the case is still down there [!]. So, after Victor nearly tried to kill Bob, nobody even bothered to go back and see what was in there that was so damn important in the first place.
The next day, Angelo comes out of his shack and sees a mysterious dark figure with blinking lights superimposed all around it. We get a reverse angle on Angelo’s face, and to approximate all the blinking lights, it hilariously looks like about twenty people are using their watches to reflect the sun into his eyes.
Mesmerized, Angelo walks forward, only to be attacked by the dark figure. This turns out to be the same woman that came out of the Hot Water Heater, because we again hear the pelican-like “Eeee! Eeee!” screams as she attacks. Angelo wrestles with her, and we get some brief glimpses of a hideous, deformed face before he finally goes down for the count.
Some time later, Claire is lounging around in a bikini as Bob dons a scuba mask. The director finds it necessary to throw in some useless dialogue about where the diving equipment came from, as if the sudden appearance of a scuba tank would cause stampeding in the aisles.
Bob dives down into the murky waters and finds the briefcase, and again opens it up while he’s still underwater [!]. He then brings it up to the shore to show to Claire. (You really know how to impress the ladies, Doc.) She looks inside and pronounces it to be an “ordinary house cat!” A close-up, however, reveals that it has four eyes. So, either Victor’s been doing some crazy things with the Hot Water Heater, or this island is pretty close to the local nuclear reactor.
Bob tells her that it’s “not like any cat you’ve ever seen before!” To which Claire asks, “What’s so different about it?” So I guess to her, having four eyes is really not that big of a deal. Bob grimaces and shuts the case, promising to tell her later.
Claire goes strolling away, and comes upon Old Man Angelo’s Torgo hat floating in the water. She calls over Bob and points at it, asking, “What’s that?” Um, most people would call that a hat.
Abruptly, the next shot is of Bob flipping over Angelo’s corpse. Claire gasps a little bit, but you know she’s just relieved that she can leave her shades open at night now.
We next find the Prof examining Angelo’s body in the boiler room [?] while Bob looks on. Hey, who needs a coroner when you’re a Movie Scientist, right? The Prof says Angelo has the same kind of burns as Victor, and somehow comes to the conclusion that he was dead before he was thrown in the water. Which is fine, except his body wasn’t in the water, but I guess we weren’t supposed to notice that.
Still, Bob feels the need to ask, “You don’t think it was some kind of wild animal?” [??] Other than fire-breathing dragons, which kinds of wild animals cause burns? The Prof barely contains his contempt as he speaks more slowly for Bob, explaining that a wild animal wouldn’t try to conceal the body this way.
Claire strolls right on in and the Prof asks how Victor is doing. Claire says she told Victor about Angelo’s untimely passing, and the Prof is none too happy about this. Getting his trademark pained-patronizing look, he tells Claire that she shouldn’t have done that. She swiftly replies that she’s glad she did, because Victor knows what killed Angelo. So shut the hell up, “Professor”. Geez, now I know why the newspapers make fun of you.
They head up to Victor’s room, where he tells them all about his Hot Water Heater adventures. He says that after he brought the deformed cat through, he thought he was on the trail of something great. “Cat!” Bob sneers. “You call that horrible thing a cat?” Um, I know it’s deformed, but what else would you call it?
“I thought that I had contacted savages,” Victor explains, “And that cat was something their witch doctors had made [!!].” Yes, that makes perfect sense. Savages in the year 5200, who have witch doctors that can make extra eyes appear on cats. You know, it’s all starting to come together now.
Bob explains that the cat was really mutated by radiation, which sets Victor to thinking that maybe that’s why the woman that came out of the Water Heater was so deformed. Hmm, you think? Bob goes ballistic when he hears a woman came through the machine, screaming, “If she came from the same place as that cat, it’s a wonder you could still recognize her as a woman!” Look, do people have to keep picking on Anna Nicole Smith like this?
Victor says that he’ll be better soon and then they can all go out and look for the woman. Claire insists he’s going to stay in bed, doctor’s orders. Plus, she reminds him (and the audience), there’s still a nurse heading out to the island to take care of him. Gee, do you think this nurse might end up being important later?
Victor suggests that, given Future Woman killed somebody and everything, it might be a good idea to stop her from getting off the island. The Prof grudgingly agrees to this, but doesn’t consider calling the police or anything like that. I mean, it’s only Angelo she killed, right?