Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Review: Out of the Darkness

  • Directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol
  • Starring Sorapong Chatree
  • Released in Thailand in 1971; all-region PAL DVD available from Mangpong with English subtitles.

Thailand's first science fiction film, and also the first film by MC Chatrichalerm Yukol, comes from a time when a single film had to be many films at once - action, comedy, romance, drama, even musical.

The story begins in Bangkok, where a scientist and his assistant (played by Sorapong Chatree, in the first of a string of films for Chatrichalerm) notice some meteors falling in southern Thailand.

They pack up their car and head for the Andaman coast, starting their search at a mining camp, where they promptly get into a shootout. After vanquishing the gunmen, who were apparently attacking for no other reason than to have a shoot-out scene in the film, they meet the mine's owner and are taking to his swinging pad of a house, where a bunch of groovy kids are hanging out partying.

The kids, all good looking and fashionably dressed in the latest loud styles of 1970s upper-class Thailand, are eager to help the scientist. One woman, named Chonlada, agrees to accompany the dashing Sek to a cliff, where Sek woos the lovely Chonlada.

Meanwhile, some of the other kids muse about Sek and Chonlada going off together and kid another guy, who thinks he's Chonlada's boyfriend. They break out into song. It's like a Bollywood movie, without the wet saris. But at 140 minutes, it's nearly as long.

Finally, off at a nearby island of sea gypsies, an alien emerges from the water and attacks the tribe's chieftan. Possessed by the alien, he goes back to his village and shoots green death rays from his eyes and wipes everyone out, except for his daughter, the bikinied, lei-wearing sea gypsy princess who looks like she belongs in the cast of South Pacific.

Eventually, the alien makes its way to the mainland and possesses more people. Sek and the others must find a way to kill it.

By Chatrichalerm's own admission, the film is "terrible." But I'd still probably watch it again, just for sheer camp value.

The special effects are nothing special. The alien is a blob-shaped thing with tentacles that remind me of the squid in Plan 9 from Outer Space (actually Tim Burton's Ed Wood, in the scene where Bela Lugosi is depicted having to move the giant squid's tentacles himself because there is no motor for the prop).

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)


  1. Where did you buy this movie? I can't find it at ethaicd, my favorite store :/

  2. I got mine from a Mangpong shop in Thailand.

    They used to sell many of Chatrichalerm's early films. Many titles are out of print, but I've noticed some being reissued and on sale at Mangpong. I could not, however, find it in a quick search of Mangpong's website.

    The Thai title is มันมากับความมืด, or Mun ma gub kwam mud, literally "it comes out of the darkness."


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