The Unknown Terror (1957)

unknown terror poster 1957 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 4/10

Fun nostalgia

Not a very inspiring sci-fi or horror film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Unknown Terror

Studio:  Emirau Productions/Regal Films

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  August 12, 1957

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

unknown terror cast mala powers john howard paul richards gerald milton

Well, you’re certainly not mysterious in a sinister way, mister

Jim Wheatley (Charles Gray) has disappeared in the search for the Cave of Death.  When new evidence of Jim’s exploration is discovered by his sister Gina Matthews (Mala Powers), she goes in search of her brother with her husband Dan (John Howard) and his former partner and her former lover Pete Morgan (Paul Richards) to a small Caribbean village run by a man named Ramsey (Gerald Milton).  Milton and the people of the village seem to be hiding a secret…the Cave of Death is near and no one that enters escapes!

Directed by Charles Marquis Warren, The Unknown Terror is a science-fiction horror movie.  The low-budget film received poor reviews and was released as a double billing with Back from the Dead.  The film received frequent TV play through syndication following its release.

unknown terror fungus monsters cave of death

Hey…this is our cave, buster!

I saw The Unknown Terror as part of one of the TV airings on a UHF station probably on a Saturday afternoon in the early 1980s.  All I remembered was a cellar full of monsters and the ending which featured the characters trying to escape through a tunnel…for years I couldn’t find the title of the movie, but the miracle of the internet allowed me to finally find The Unknown Terror though it was never released on VHS or DVD…I just wish the film received more attention.

This doesn’t mean that the movie is good.  It is a rather cliché sci-fi and adventure plot.  The basic story somewhat resembles Doctor Who:  The Seeds of Death which also featured a killer foamy fungus threatening to expand without bounds.  The movie is short and it could easily be expanded…but the movie isn’t that great so keeping it short and sweet is probably the better choice.

unknown terror cave of death fungus monsters paul richards

There is a fungus among us!

The cast is ho-hum.  The core cast played by Mala Powers, John Howard, and Paul Richards form a rather bland love triangle.  I kind of like the evil American mad scientist played by Gerald Milton.  May Wynn plays the sympathetic Concha Ramsey.  Popular calypso singer Sir Lancelot also makes an appearance performing a song which helps lead the crew to the location of the cave.

The best part of the whole movie is the monstrous fungus.  There are a few monsters who are possibly natives overcome by the fungus (as part of the sacrifices), but the fungus and the natives are largely bubble bath out of control…a nice hose could stop the monsters.

Despite loving The Unknown Terror, I can’t recommend The Unknown Terror.  It is the type of movie that only means something to me because of childhood memories.  There are better and more effective horror movies and sci-fi movies out there.  I knew it wasn’t good as a kid, and it isn’t good now.  If you want a short and simple horror movie with a 1950s vibe to pass some time, The Unknown Terror could be the answer…just don’t look for anything great.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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