Sunday, July 13, 2014

It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

Director: Edward L. Cahn

Writer: Jerome Bixby

Composers: Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter

Starring: Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Kim Spalding, Ann Doran, Dabbs Greer, Paul Langton, Robert Bice, Richard Benedict, Richard Hervey, Thom Carney, Ray Corrigan, Bert Stevens, Pierre Watkin

More info: IMDb

Tagline: It Breathes. It Hunts. It Kills!

Plot: An Earth rescue expedition goes to Mars to rescue an earlier mission and finds only one survivor, the expedition leader Col. Carruthers. He is under arrest and will face a court-martial on his arrival back on Earth. No one believes his fantastic story of a Martian monster that methodically killed all of the members of his crew, one by one, until only he was left. On the return trip however, they realize the monster is on board and living on the lower decks. It begins to attack the crew who quickly become concerned about their own survival.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yeah.

If you're a sucker for 50s sci-fi or if you'd like to see the basis for what later became ALIEN (1979) then this is a must-see.  Some of the ALIEN links include a ship responding to a distress signal, a single (and by single I mean unmarried and available) alien on a ship picking off the crew one by one, using a blow torch to fight it and destroying it by opening the air lock but that last bit was done to deplete the oxygen thereby killing it (I was hoping it'd get sucked out into space).  The picture's a pretty good time, especially when you're with friends.  There are a lot of unintentional laughs throughout but only because we're seeing this nearly sixty years later and we're smarter about space and physics and we've also evolved to the point we can laugh it how sexist we used to be back then.

Lest you think the gals only made sandwiches and drinks, they did everything on this ship much to our entertainment.  The monster was pretty cool and effective.  There was a good use of shadows, particularly in the beginning and the kills were pretty cool.  This mo-fo went apeshit on the victims (in shadow) which was really badass.  And I love how free the crew was shooting their guns off willy nilly.  They had quite the arsenal including a box of grenades sitting around that had 'GRENADES' stenciled on the side.  My only gripe with the picture is that it's just over an hour long and it feels much longer.  I'm not sure how a second viewing would hold up but it really surprised me that it felt as long as it did despite a roomful of us goofing on it and having a great time. 

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