Monday, September 27, 2021


It's time to pay some homage to the director who gave us some of our favorite sci-fi and horror movies from the fifties. Besides his work in movies, he also directed 19 episodes of SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE for TV and more..

Here's one they played a lot on local TV in the fifties, it always freaked me out near the end, and loved the magnetized lawnmower in the hardware store. Herb was uncredited for his work on this one as he was an up and coming director in 1953 for this Ivan Tors production.

A year later in 1954 Herb worked as assistant director ( directed by Richard Carlson ) on RIDERS TO THE STARS. This is another movie they played a lot on TV back then. What I remember most is this astronaut that gets toasted by a meteor! Really creepy part for a six year old.

Also in 1954 Herb was the director for GOG, filmed in 3-D, wow! They also played this movie a lot on local TV, soon after it's theatrical release. It had some crazy moments to be sure.

Then in 1957, Herman Cohen called on Herb to direct this all time classic horror flick, can't remember when it played on TV for the first time. Herb stated that he loved working with Whit Bissell, always on time, knew his lines and could play any character he was assigned. The amputated leg was almost considered too shocking for the kids!

The same year he worked on another Cohen movie, BLOOD OF DRACULA. This movie is one crazy murder fest featuring the song "Puppy Love" by Jerry Blaine, who also contributed the song "Eenie Meenie Miny Moe" for I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF.

Cohen called on Herb once again in 1958 to direct one of my favorite movies, HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER. It starred Robert H. Harris as the bad guy, Pete, Paul Brinegar as his helper Rivero, Gary Conway as the Teenage Frankenstein and Gary Clarke as the Teenage Werewolf.

In 1962 Herb directed Lon Chaney in THE DEVIL'S MESSENGER, which has the devil using his rolodex where he has the names of all the souls assigned to Hell. This is one boring movie and comes across as some TWILIGHT ZONE episodes.

Herb even worked for Joseph F. Robertson by directing this insane little movie. Here's some awesome trivia... Burt Reynolds did two screen-tests for the role of the teen character, Paul Lawrence, but his acting was so wooden, Rod Lauren got the part!!! Wild.

In 1980, Herb was assistant director on MONSTROID, which starred James Mitchum, John Carradine, Philip Carey and Anthony Eisley. This cursed film was started in 1971 and it was up to Herb to finish it up. I think I read that Andrea Hartford, the love interest, committed suicide soon after wrapping up the production, over insecurity and being dumped by her lover, so sad!

Last on the list is this sexy horror film also from 1980, based on everyone's favorite novel "Conjure Wife" by Fritz Lieber. It stars Teri Garr, Richard Benjamin and Lana Turner. So, here's our little salute to the fifties monster movie director, Herbert L. Strock.


Grant said...

I guess Burt Reynolds could be a little wooden early on, at least in dramas (though in that comical TWILIGHT ZONE episode "The Bard," he's very funny).
Though the idea of him playing the lead role in THE CRAWLING HAND is pretty entertaining.

Realm Of Retro said...

and a little Lon Chaney Jr. all in one post! This is so cool!
The blu-ray Magnetic Monster is awesome and one funny thing is how Richard Carlson who normally bores me to tears goes into this groovy rant about him and other Atomic (remember that word?) Scientists being known as the A-MEN, almost in an FBI spinoff type of thing.

I really love this movie, you can get comfortable with it
even if there is an atomic fiend lurking about!

MM also uses scenes from 1934 German GELD (Gold) and the blu-ray transfers are actually blu-ray themselves with fantastic clarity as though Ivan Tors got his hands on an original print. I think he did.

fixer in Poland said...

I love all horror movies!

SCB said...

Loved Leiber’s novel, and was pleasantly surprised by the first movie adaptation, Burn Witch, Burn. I never heard of Witch’s Brew, so thank you for letting me know Eegah!

EEGAH!! said...

Actually that was Tabonga's write up, but thanks anyway SCB!

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