Friday, January 9, 2009

IT’s the cute, smiley monster from Mars

Movie • IT! THE TERROR from BEYOND SPACE • 1958
As I suspected, IT! The TERROR from BEYOND SPACE was an inspiration for the original Alien. Don’t expect the same kind of terror, though. This creature from Mars has a permanent frown plastered on his face, and that's about as scary as he gets. That's not to say, of course, that this picture wasn't brilliant! IT! The TERROR from BEYOND SPACE was a double feature with The Monster That Challenged The World, and I loved both :) I wish I could turn his frown upside down because he makes me so happy.
An astronaut crew crash lands on Mars in January of 1973… Ooh, fu-ture ;) Edward Carruthers is the only survivor, and is suspected of killing his crew to survive longer. It’s really a simple and believable set-up. His rescuers are bringing him back home to Earth to face trial. We learn this in the press room back on Earth where reporters smoke cigarettes freely in a small room… Blech!
Of course, an emergency air lock is left open by mistake, and our frowny creature sneaks in to hide among the cargo, plotting his viscious attacks for the return trip. Carruthers is subject to accusations and requests of confession early on. I thought it would be good to continue that tension after the creature starts killing, but the rescue crew knows right away that he’s not involved.
After the first victim goes missing, everyone is darting around looking under tea cups for him as if he was an Easter egg. This hour and ten minutes had me chuckling the whole time.
I guess it was a fifties thing, but I had to wonder what a rescue rocket was doing loaded with hand grenades and gas masks. I felt like I was watching Lost for an instant! But then the creature bent a rifle with a wood stock, and I was all better. Chuckles all the way through - including the tetherless space-walk.
IT! The TERROR from BEYOND SPACE was only a little over an hour, so you have no excuse but to give this gem a look-see.

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