Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) is the one whose monsters are a new race of creatures formed via radiation mutation. In this film, a band of scientists travel to an island near where the government tested atomic bombs. Their reason for going is two-fold, they must find the previous scientific team that has gone missing, and they must perform the research that same team was attempting to complete.
When the team starts hearing the voice of one of their missing cohorts in a cave, they figure he must be alive, but what they don't realize is that it is actually a strange, large, mutated crab monster who takes in the mind and personality of its victims. As characters fall for the monster's ruse, more and more personalities become a part of its arsenal.
To make matters worse, not only is the creature pregnant, but the island itself is crumbling to pieces around the team. If they are going to stop this threat once and for all, they will have to do it before they are sucked into the sea.
In War of the Satellites (1958), the space race is in full swing and while we have made it out of our atmosphere, it seems that a force field is surrounding the Earth. After several failed, and expensive, attempts at penetrating the barrier, a message falls from the sky explaining that Earth has been put in quarantine because Humans aren't ready for space travel and will infect the rest of the space population.
When humanity decides to defy the alien ultimatum, the team behind the probing project decides not to send any more astronauts; they will send themselves. What they don't realize is that the head of the project has been taken over by one of the aliens and is using his influence to keep humanity down whenever he gets the opportunity. When the ship launches with the scientific team on board, they will have to not only face off against the unknown alien race, but their own companion as well.
Not of This Earth (1957) introduces an alien race that looks like humans with the exception of eyes that are completely white. This time, the invading race is looking to use human blood as a possible cure for a disease they have. The movie follows one particular visitor as he gathers a team of humans to unwittingly help in his research. As the group becomes more and more suspicious of their boss, they start to investigate him and start uncovering some very strange details. They really start to think something is wrong when they analyze the visitor's food (a vitamin rich drink that not only contains everything necessary to live, but also some unknown compounds) and his private quarters, which contain a device he uses to contact his home planet.
The conspiracy gets uncovered when a second alien appears on a similar mission and our main alien helps out the new character by giving her a blood transfusion. The process goes horribly wrong though when he accidentally uses not only canine blood, but blood being tested for, and found positive for, rabies. Needless to say, the new alien's body doesn't react as well to this particular blood as it would have to the human blood that had been previously tested.
Unlike the Roger Corman Double Feature I recently reviewed, this trio of movies also comes with a few special features. Not a lot, but enough to make it even more appealing. The main extra is an interview with Corman and several people who learned under him and became big names in Hollywood themselves. Those interviewed include Peter Fonda, Peter Bogdanovich and Joe Dante. This featurette not only covers Corman's style as a filmmaker, but also how learning under him was so unlike going to a typical film school. I found this extra to be pretty interesting, and anyone with an interest in filmmaking or Corman himself probably will as well.
While I hadn't had the chance to see any of these three films prior to this collection, I found them to be very iconic in the sense that they really seem to embody the Sci-Fi genre as it was in the late 1950's. Between the obligatory radiation-mutated monster and aliens that want to harvest our bodies for their own diabolical means, I felt like all three of these films were great examples of the nature of the genre several years before even the first human spaceflight occurred and not too long after the detonation of the first nuclear weapons.