From Hell It Came (1957)

Angry tree stump on the loose!
Angry tree stump on the loose!

This sci-fi-supernatural-horror flick was directed by Dan (THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES) Milner, written by Richard Bernstein, and stars Tod (RETURN OF THE APE MAN) Andrews, Tina (THE MAN WHO TURNED TO STONE) Carver, Linda Watkins, John (WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST) McNamara, Gregg (ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU) Palmer and Robert Swan.

US one sheet poster
US one sheet poster

An island prince is accused of a murder he didn’t commit, is executed with a dagger hammered into his heart and then buried. Scientists based on the island, dealing with an outbreak of plague, must now deal with an altogether different problem… when the deceased prince returns from the dead… as a vengeful tree monster!

The prince is innocent! This is a travesty of justice! I hope he returns as a killer tree!
The prince is innocent! This is a travesty of justice! I hope he returns as a killer tree!
Stumpy likes the ladies
Stumpy likes the ladies

FROM HELL IT CAME has a talky start, where we must suffer some Dick Van Dyke-level ‘cockney’ chat courtesy of Mrs Kilgore (Watkins). We also get to hear some outdated views on a woman’s role in life, when the female protagonist, Dr Terry Mason (Carver), is told by her boyfriend she should become a wife & mother at home, rather than a doctor.

The wooden monster, known as Tabanga, paces (very slowly) through the trees...
The wooden monster, known as Tabanga, paces (very slowly) through the trees…
As with so many 50s monsters, this bark-covered beast likes to scare the ladies!
As with so many 1950s movie monsters, this bark-covered beast likes to scare the ladies!

But don’t worry, forget about all that chatty stuff, the film livens up once the stump-monster sprouts from the grave. I know this creature is the butt of jokes and is considered to be a very goofy, stupid movie critter… but I actually found it kind of creepy in several scenes! The leering lump of wood is not a very agile monster (it’s a stiff hunk of bark, let’s face it!), so it basically just lurks amongst the foliage sometimes and looms over its victims, and I guess this is what I found slightly eerie and freaky about it!

The sneering wooden lump strikes again!
The sneering wooden avenger strikes again!

The wooden, radioactive, revenge-seeking Tabanga (pronounced Tabonga in the film) was designed by an uncredited Paul Blaisdell and looks charmingly ridiculous as it goes on its (plodding) South Seas island rampage.

Tabanga is, of course, is the only reason to watch this flick!

Please don't laugh! (Okay, you can if you want to)
Please don’t laugh! (Okay, you can if you want to)
The angry stump stomps about!
The angry stump stomps about!
She done him wrong... so he dumps her into a pit of quicksand!
She done him wrong… so he dumps her into a pit of quicksand!

Below are some of Paul Blaisdell’s concept sketches for Tabanga. The monster suit was built by Don Post Studios, but it was clearly based Paul’s designs. Paul, unfortunately, never got paid for his work and didn’t get his sketches back, either. 

Paul Blaisdell concept art showing the front and back of Tobanga
Paul Blaisdell concept art showing designs for the front and back of Tabanga
More concept art, including an exploration of how Tobanga grows up from the ground
More of Paul’s concept art, including an exploration of how Tabanga grows up from the ground

Here are some simply stump-tastic posters…

US three sheet poster
US three sheet poster
US poster
US poster
US half sheet
US half sheet
UK quad poster
UK quad poster
US insert poster
US insert poster

Some lobby cards…

Lobby card
Lobby card
Lobby card
Lobby card
Lobby card
Lobby card
Lobby card
Lobby card

Newspaper ads…

From Hell It Came was released by Allied Artists on a double bill with The Disembodied
From Hell It Came was released by Allied Artists on a double bill with The Disembodied
'The DOUBLE DEMON show!'
‘The DOUBLE DEMON show!’

Double bill pressbook for FROM HELL IT CAME and THE DISEMBODIED…

Above: various pages from the pressbook...
Above: various pages from the pressbook…

Okay, one more look at Tabanga terrorising a victim…

I'm rooting for Tabanga!
I’m rooting for Tabanga!

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