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What's Happening: Contact with radiated coelacanth causes victims to regress into savagery
Famous For: One of director Arnold's least favorite of his own films
Arthur Franz (Invaders From Mars, Atomic Submarine) seems to purposefully play the ambitious scientist-hero as an annoying nerd. Yet the character is ultimately likeable . Though clipped and self-assured, he is an honest gentleman. This movie lacks punch as a whole but has its moments. The conclusion is slow, but the pacing rarely lags for the first hour. Although I'm sure the premise is scientifically unsound, it is an interesting one: a lab coelacanth infects victims with a radiated virus that plunges them into an earlier stage in their evolution. A dog becomes a wolf, a common dragonfly becomes a giant dragonfly, and a man becomes an appetite-driven brute.The movie therefore combines the Jekyll-Hyde story with I Was a Teenage Werewolf or The Wolf Man. The movie 's thesis seems to be that science must work to conquer man's primal instincts. As our scientist-hero puts it, "Civilization isn't inherited; it's learned ! Wipe it out for one generation and man is right back where he started." The conclusion seems to imply that the hero wishes to "die like a man" but Bill Warren's entry on the film disputes this; Warren thinks he is trying to take the easy way out. Warren notes how the movie anticipates Altered States which also has a college researcher turning into a primitive.
Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 50322-50327). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.
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