Tree monsters attack in a sci-fi film recently released on DVD

A 1966 sci-fi thriller, "The Navy vs. the Night Monsters,” is one of the strangest DVDs to appear on recent release lists.

By Dennis King Published: May 25, 2010
Last week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists was "The Navy vs. the Night Monsters.”

The influence of low-budget horrormeister Roger Corman is all over this campy 1966 sci-fi thriller, which was released in a new DVD edition. Although Corman’s producing work is uncredited, this movie — shot in 10 days and deftly exploiting the ample charms of ’60s sexpot Mamie Van Doren — bears his unmistakable stamp.

Killer trees infest a South Seas island, trees that bleed acid and seem determined to cremate the human race. When Navy nurse Van Doren and some others (including song-and-dance man Bobby Van and "Father Knows Best” bad-boy Billy Gray) are imperiled by this botanical menace, the Navy is called in to wage battle.

Director Michael A. Hoey and producer Jack Broder reportedly waged battle with each other during the hurried filming, with Hoey objecting that the special-effects "tree stump monsters” looked ridiculous and refusing to shoot them. But Broder prevailed, probably figuring that with Van Doren in a low-cut nurse’s frock, nobody would even notice the cheesy trees.

"The Navy vs. the Night Monsters” is not rated and is being released by Video Music Distribution for a suggested retail price of $12.

Dennis King was a full-time movie critic at the Tulsa World for two decades. He now blogs about film. projections

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