In 1959, Robert Clarke wrote, produced, directed, and starred in The Hideous Sun Demon. It was a family affair. Apparently, he got help from many of his family members during the course of production. This film is a testament to the importance of having a consecrated relationship with your loved ones. With strength and determination, anything is possible. This fallacious b-mess could also be used as evidence in a court of law after I butcher every member of Robert Clarke’s family with a serrulate bayonet. I plan on dressing up as the sun demon and disemboweling those responsible for Hideous. Just for the sake of irony, I’ll commit these murders in broad daylight. You see, your common sun demon only becomes a sun demon when exposed to ultraviolet rays. It’s a scientific fact.
Our plot concerns Dr. Gilbert McKenna, a scientist who was grazed by radiation thanks to a freak accident. As a result of this setback, McKenna transforms into a reptilian creature whenever he is exposed to sunlight. He is forced to become a recluse and only traverses the outdoors at night. This indecorous predicament takes its toll on McKenna’s state of mind. He takes up alcoholism, hedonism, and violent tendencies. Of course, these were character traits that he possessed before the whole radiation quandary, but I digress. If you need a tacky mummery to throw on at your Halloween bash, Hideous is the movie for you. If you need a classic sci-fi/horror outing comparable to the likes of Forbidden Planet or The Day the Earth Stood Still, you’re better off shooting your own “classic” in your backyard with a sound stage constructed out of Legos and a monster outfit held together with a gelatin/caramel compound.
I have to give Robert Clarke an “A” for effort. I’m sure that he had good intentions. He pulls off a clever shot here and there. The sun demon’s first reveal is resourcefully framed. We see the brute’s reflection on a mirror right before it’s shattered. On the acting front, I felt embarrassed for the starchy cast. Clarke ranges from embalmed to labored. Seeing him try to emote was like watching a man trying to ovulate. His toilsome cries of “Why me? Why me???” are hilarious. There are a couple of lusty bombshells on hand, but they don’t offer much outside of being human wallpaper. NOTE TO SELF: Buy beautiful women instead of wallpaper.
I mocked the creature suit earlier, but in all honesty, it’s not that bad. It will never be mistaken for a real-life sun demon, but taking into consideration that this production was born out of pittance, it’s a respectable piece of work. It’s made clear that Clarke couldn’t afford an entire outfit. The oh-so-hideous sun demon scampers about in a pair of pants. A PAIR OF PANTS. If that doesn’t terrify you, nothing will. The climax is slightly enjoyable, if only because it signifies that The Hideous Sun Demon is drawing to a close. It’s one brutal watch, but I have a fondness for slummy, jerry-built schlock recitals. In 1983, this cinematic scab was turned into a re-dub entitled What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon?. Believe it or not, one of the voices dubbed over the original film was that of Jay Leno. After the voiceover gig, Leno’s career went straight downhill.