King of the Rocketmen / Zombies of the Stratosphere

 

As many of you know in the early days of cinema (well, the 30’s 40’s and 50’s) weekly serials were seriously popular.  We all know about Flash Gordon and his battles with Ming but a specialist in these serials were Republic Pictures.  I actually remember watching a few of these during school holidays and with every every episode ending with a ‘cliffhanger’ you couldn’t wait until the next day to see what happened.

Two of these popular serials were the films above.  King of the Rocketmen is a real favourite of mine and I hadn’t seen it in probably 30 years.  I remember the guy with his rocket pack and the weird noise it made whilst flying, but that was about it.  I couldn’t remember the ‘plot’ which basically is the bad guy Dr Vulcan up to all sorts of villainous escapades.

Now, Zombies of the Stratosphere features another Rocketman fighting off strangely dressed martians.  This I had never seen and although I felt it isn’t as classic as ‘King’ it’s fun escapism.  It also features an early role for Mr Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy.
One thing for sure, even now decades later, that rocket suit is still incredibly cool and it’s put me in the mood for watching The Rocketeer again with Bill Campbell and Jennifer Connelly.  The Rocket suit also crops up in Radar Men from the Moon where Republic created a character in the name of Commander Cody.  That’s also great fun as well.
I personally recommend picking all the above titles up if old fashioned heroics is your thing.  King of the Rocketmen is my personal favourite and although very dated it is terrific entertainment.

  • Starring Tristram Coffin (King)   Judd Holdren (Zombies)
  • Director Fred C. Brannon
  • Distributor Cheezy Flicks