On June 10, it was time for another trip to Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence as Darrell Brogdon was presenting two more wonderfully fun and creepy flicks from the past as part of the Cinema a Go-Go series. This time, it was all about zombies with a double feature of Zombies on Broadway (1945) and Zombies of Mora Tau (1957).
First up was Zombies of Mora Tau, a Sam Katzman produced effort starring Alison Hayes from Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958). Directed by Edward L. Cahn (Invasion of the Saucer-Men, It! The Terror from Beyond Space), this had to do with a group of dead crewman from a sunken ship trying to protect some legendary diamonds from scavengers. It had plenty of atmosphere but the hilarious script and amusing underwater special effects offered up a mixture of charm and laughs. The on-screen prologue talks of darkness and ancient worlds, as well as mentioning the twilight zone and the walking dead, long before either phrase spawned a popular series. It was originally part of a double feature that also included The Man Who Turned to Stone, a lesser effort that would have made Zombies of Mora Tau look more impressive that it really was. That said, it was the perfect film for the Cinema a Go-Go crowd, with laughter and comments at all the right moments. Definitely a film better seen with a group but it is available on DVD as part of the Icon of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman box set.
After a brief intermission and the usual prize giveaways, it was time for the second half of the double feature…Zombies on Broadway! Bela Lugosi heads up the cast but by this time, his name had lost its star power. He was still three years away from his brief resurgence in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Sadly, his co-stars here are Wally Brown and Alan Carney, two low-rent Bud and Lou copycats. The crowd didn’t quite seem as into this feature and for good reason. It’s a bit of a chore to make it through. It’s not horrible but there are some offensive black face sequences and racially motivated humor. It all must be taken into consideration of the time period it was made. That said, not horrible and seeing Lugosi on the big screen is always fun. It’s currently available as part of the Karloff and Lugosi Horror Classics DVD set.
My daughter Kayla loves these events and this time around, her husband Drew tagged along. He wasn’t scared off, so there’s hope he’ll be back for the next event in late August. As always, Darrell Brogdon puts on a great show. His weekly radio program, The Retro Cocktail Hour (two of the greatest hours on radio each week), recently celebrated its 20th year on the air. These events are a lot of fun and I highly recommend you check them out if you are in the Kansas City and Lawrence areas.