Summer camp

Next week, Warner Home Video will counter Hollywood’s annual summer brain-drool deluge with some choice celluloid trash of yore. Its Cult Camp Classics DVD sets handily assemble such gems as Hot Rods to Hell and Trog (“From a million years back … horror explodes into today!”) in four thematically cohesive volumes of three movies apiece. Well, more or less cohesive: Volume 1, “Sci-Fi Thrillers,” wedges the decidedly un-campy Brit Godzilla knockoff The Giant Behemoth (1959) in with two bona fide Yank schlock masterworks from 1958: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and Queen of Outer Space.

The “cult” and “camp” labels fit this pair like a sticky glove, but they’re also fascinatingly pre-feminist artifacts of the era’s bottom-feeding indie producer-distributors. Attack, directed by no-budget stalwart Nathan Hertz Juran and produced by Woolner Brothers, is as much a metaphysical disquisition on marital infidelity as it is a soap-operatic mixture of small-town malaise, interstellar visitation and a big, pissed-off wife. Allied Artists’ Queen, arguably the campiest movie ever made (Zsa Zsa Gabor gets top billing, for Pete’s sake), concerns a planet with an all-female civilization—ruled by a horrifically burned monarch, naturally—that’s invaded by earthmen who, you know, fuck everything up. It’s directed by Three Stooges vet Edward Bernds, so draw your own conclusions.

The set includes commentary from Z-movie historian Tom Weaver and the films’ actors, but these extras don’t make up for that ill-chosen third feature, The Giant Behemoth. Richard Cunha’s Missile to the Moon, another girls-in-charge space romp from 1958 (available from Image), would’ve been ideal—it even shares a cast member with Queen, Laurie Mitchell, who chats with Weaver on that disc’s commentary track. With so much regal pulchritude available, who needs overgrown lizards?