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The Incredible Hulk

USA 1977
produced by
Kenneth Johnson, Chuck Bowman for Universal
directed by Kenneth Johnson
starring Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Susan Sullivan, Jack Colvin, Lara Parker, Susan Batson, Charles Siebert, Mario Gallo, Eric Server, Eric Devon, Jake Mitchell, William Larsen, Olivia Barash, George Brenlin, June Whitley Taylor, Terence Locke, Susan Cotton, Don Keefer
screenplay by Kenneth Johnson, Richard Christian Matheson, Thomas E. Szollosi, based on the Marvel Comics-character, created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, music by Joseph Harnell

TV-series
Incredible Hulk, Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doctor David Banner (Bill Bixby) was madly in love with Laura (Lara Parker), & she with him as well, but then she died in a carcrash, & even though he tried to save her, he just couldn't build up enough strength to do so ...

Since that time, he & Doc Elaina (Susan Sullivan) - who is of course madly in love with him - try to tap into that strange phenomenon, when people can build up enough excessive strength in stressful situations that allow them to perform almost superhuman feats ... of course, actually Banner wants to learn why he could not build up this excessive strength to save Laura, & wants to prevent that from ever happening again ...

Eventually Banner comes to the conclusion that Gamma Rays must be the answer, & since Elaina is nowhere to be found to stop him, he showers himself witht eh stuff and ... nothing !

But that night, when he angrily tries to fix a flat tyre & hurts himself, he suddenly transforms into a green, hulky giant which will henceforth be known as the Hulk (& will be played by Lou Ferrigno). Immediately, the Hulk thrashes his/Banner's car, then goes on the prowl for a bit. The next morning, in a scene echoing that in 1931's Frankenstein, the Hulk meets a young girl (Olivia Barash) & growls friendlily ... bzut the girl, seeing the green giant, jumps into the next lake. But - unlike in Frankenstein, the Hulk throws a tree into the water to save her. Still, the girl's father (George Brenlin) shoots at him, & the Hulk growls about menacingly for a bit ...

Later, back as David Banner (but still in his outfit torn by the transformation), Banner stops by Elaina's place, 6 hearihg his unbelievable story, she makes some tests on him in an empty laboratorium. Eventually, Banner insists on being locked into a diving bell for extreme deep sea diving (thus with very thick walls), and inside, triggered by a nightmare, he turns into the Hulk, & rips the diving bell open from teh inside with is bare hands. Then he menaces Elaina, but she manages to calm him down.

When they later talk about the experiment, little do they know that a journalist, Jack McGee (Jack Colvin) iws eavesdropping on them, & he soon puts 2 and 2 together, figures they have to somehow be in league with the green giant everybody is talking about, & snoops around in their lab a little ... which eventually causes the lab to blow up, & Elaina being still inside. Banner spontanuusly turns into the Hulk, runs into the empty building & gets her out, but alas too late, she dies in his arms.

Jack McGee's newspaper article though twists things around a bit, according to his version, Banner & Elaina both died in the explosion that was caused by the Hulk.

... & since Banner finds himself presumed dead, he starts wandering the USA.

 

The comic this film was based on, The Incredible Hulk was first published  by Marvel comics in 1962. It wasn't among Marvel's more inspired comicbooks though (even if very few Marvel comics from this era could actually be called inspired): The Incredible Hulk followed an incredibly one-dimensional plot-formula - whimpish scientist gets angry, turns into the Hulk, causes havoc, has to make an escape -, & was in fact little more than a blatant rip-off of Bert I.Gordon's The Amazing Colossal Man from 1957 (in the comicbook version the transformation is also caused by an atom bomb explosion) with a bit of Jekyll & Hyde thrown in. (Judging by this, it's all the more surprising that writer Peter David could, in the 1980's & 1990's turn Incredible Hulk into one of the most entertaining comicbooks ever published by Marvel.)

It's little surprising that this tv-movie - that would be expanded into a longrunning tv-series the following year - fails to totally impress, for various reasons: Even in this one film, where the Hulk doesn't appear until halfway through, the plot starts getting formulaic, the episode spends way too littkle time on its actual narrative & way too much time on setting up the whole series, the whole horror aspect of the story is just too toned down for mainstream tv audiences, & womehow the story as a whole seriously lacks excitement.

Some nods to classic Universal horror movies at least are nice though.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD