Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The '60s space opera The Human Duplicators

The Human Duplicators, 1965, 80 minutes, color, directed by Hugo Grimaldi. Starring George Nader as Glenn Martin, Richard Kiel as Dr. Kolos, Dolores Faith as Lisa, Barbara Nichols as Gale Wilson, Hugh Beaumont as Austin Welles. Schlock-Meter rating: 7 stars out of 10.

“The Human Duplicators” is an absolutely funny movie. It boasts horrible, funny special effects, an Outer-Space android villain (Kiel) who speaks like a surfer valley boy in California, a blind “girl” who is clearly an adult (Faith), and the worst performance ever by a female secret agent (Nichols).

The plot: Kiel is sent from another planet to take over from an earth scientist the creation of android duplicates of humans. He takes over the scientist’s house and laboratory and turns everyone into androids, except the blind “girl,” who he develops a crush on. Two government secret agents (Nader and Nichols) are called in when one of the androids crashes a secret government agency (which looks a lot like a motel) and creates havoc. The androids appear to be made of porcelain, since they crack into pieces when they stumble.

Eventually, Kiel turns traitor to his cause, battles the androids he has created and saves the day. In a scene meant to bring tears, he returns home to be destroyed, (or perhaps receive a new voice accent). There is one cool scene where secret agent Nader escapes from a dungeon and has to battle his android, himself.

A real treat: Late in the movie, during an action sequence, a cameraman filming from the outside can clearly be seen. As mentioned, Nichols, who also plays Nader’s girlfriend, is pathetic. This high-level government agent boasts a terrible New York accent that Fran Drescher would spurn. Also, her giggling cutie-pie persona and annoying nasal whine makes her more suitable for burlesque than the CIA.

However, this is one of those truly “so-bad-it’s entertaining” cult fiascoes and is worth a rental. The MS3K version adds to the hilarity. Notes: “Leave It to Beavers” Hugh Beaumont has a small role as a government agents and 60s actress Margot Teele, who often played “sexpots” in The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle USMC, has a small role as a lab assistant/android. Faith starred in another Grimaldi film, "Mutiny in Outer Space."
-- Doug Gibson

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