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Night Fright (1967)

Director: James A. Sulivan
Starring: John Agar, Bill Thurman, Carol Gilley, Ralph Baker Jr., Dorthy Davis
Not Rated  Running time: 75 minutes
Public Domain

An obscure Texas-lensed semi-remake of Russ Marker's even more obscure (and never completed) The Demon from Devil's Lake. A government space craft used for experiments involving animals and radiation crash lands in a small town. Unfortunately for the locals, the biggest and meanest one, a monster that looks like its half-gorilla/half-Vulcan, survives and begins chomping down on local teens. The Sheriff (B-movie legend John Agar) and his loyal deputy (Bill Thurman; Keep My Grave Open) try to destroy the creature before any more locals get killed.

Pretty standard low budget monster movie with lots of teen dancing, neckin' in vintage convertibles, malt shops, and scenes of the cops standing around trying to figure out what the hell is going on. The film's creature, which is more than a little reminiscent of the Robot Monster, is barely seen thanks to too-dark day-for-night sequences. If you want to know what it looks like, check out the cover art, because it looks like a furry blur in the movie. The creature scenes are entertaining, but otherwise its pretty tedious, with way too much time spent showing people walking around in the woods.

Agar is good as the earnest-cop-just-trying-to-do-the-right-thing kinda role he played many times before, while Thurman makes for a likable sidekick. Other than that, the most interesting thing about Night Fright is its Texas drive-in circuit pedigree. Many in the cast and crew worked with Larry Buchanan and S.F. Brownrigg at some point in their careers. So if you're interested in regional filmmaking of the drive-in era, Night Fright is worth checking out. If not, skip it. There are better monster flicks available where you can actually see what's going on.

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