This science-fiction entry comes from the fertile brain of Ray Bradbury, but, like many of his wonderful stories, it does not translate well to the screen; his florid writing simply becomes lifeless and unfulfilling in motion pictures. This may have something to do with the paucity of verbs
Bradbury employs in his writing; verbs convey action, and action is necessary for the screen. Steiger gives a wonderful effort, assisted by his then-wife Bloom (who overplays her parts and hams up the narration). Steiger is the strange tattooed man, and Bloom is the tattoo artist who has covered
his entire body with bizarre and wonderful illustrations, each telling a story. Drivas, a young vagabond en route to California in 1933, encounters Steiger and the two tramp along together. When they bed down for the night, the shirtless Steiger warns the boy not to stare at his fantastic torso.
Nevertheless, Drivas glares at one tattoo and is suddenly swept into a futuristic home where a jungle playground offers live, ferocious beasts concocted by the children of Steiger and Bloom. When the parents grow overbearing, their children entice their animal friends to kill Steiger and Bloom.
Another tattoo prompts a journey to a strange planet where astronauts are trapped in incessant rain that slowly drives them crazy--except for Steiger, who makes it safely, at the expense of his comrades, to the sanctuary of a "sun dome." The third tattoo takes Drivas to a mountaintop where Steiger
and Bloom decide to kill their children, thereby preventing the kids from experiencing the horror of the impending nuclear holocaust. Bloom, however, believes that she has persuaded Steiger to spare their children and is relieved when she awakens the next morning to find the world still intact.
However, Steiger has gone ahead and poisoned the children. When Drivas stares at the only blank spot on the body of the sleeping Steiger, he sees himself being strangled by Steiger. Terrified by this vision, Drivas sends a huge rock crashing onto Steiger's head. But the Illustrated Man survives,
staggers to his feet, and stumbles after Drivas with murderous intent at the fade. Replete with gratuitous violence, these offbeat stories are neither enlightening nor entertaining. The irony is shallow, and the message is bleak and pessimistic. Pretension runs rampant in this would-be allegorical
morality play. Still, Steiger's intense performance provides more than a little interest.
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- Review: This science-fiction entry comes from the fertile brain of Ray Bradbury, but, like many of his wonderful stories, it does not translate well to the screen; his florid writing simply becomes lifeless and unfulfilling in motion pictures. This may have someth… (more)