Monday, April 12, 2010
It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958) review
IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE 1958
Marshall Thompson (Commander Carruthers), Shawn Smith (Ann Anderson), Ray "Crash" Corrigan (The Alien)
Directed by Edward L. Cahn
When the leader of a Mars expedition is taken into custody by a rescue team for the murder of his crew, the ships crew members come to the realization they are not alone. A seemingly indestructible monster has stowed away aboard the spacecraft and begins slaughtering the ships team. The remaining survivors try to devise a method to destroy the creature before they reach the Earth.
The director of such trash flicks as VOODOO WOMAN (1957) and CURSE OF THE FACELESS MAN (1958) takes the reigns of one of the best alien movies of the 1950's. Speaking of creatures from outer space, a certain Ridley Scott movie owes a huge debt to this modest, lean and mean 69 minute sci fi/horror film. A number of shots and scenes instantly bring Scott's classic tale of outer space horror to mind. Whether it be characters crawling around in cylindrical air ducts, or the sheer intelligence of the creature.
What makes IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE work so well is the surprisingly adept and smart script from Twilight Zone and Star Trek writer, Jerome Bixby. Compared with other similar alien movies such as THE ANGRY RED PLANET (1959), Cahn's movie doesn't totally follow conventions and Bixby's script allows the proceedings to stand out amongst a horde of by-the-numbers productions. It's far more darker than most of these types of movies and this is no doubt due to Bixby's contribution.
Paul Blaisdell, the creator of some of Hollywood's best 'B' movie monsters, designed the intelligent reptilian menace donned by stuntman, serial actor, Ray "Crash" Corrigan. He brings a lot of ferocity to the brutal beast which adds to the suspense level of the film and there's a lot of that to go around.
The crew constantly attempt various plots and ploys to destroy the marauding monster without much luck. Bullets, burning, electrocution, hitting it with radiation and blowing it up all don't work on the monster. The method by which the creature is finally disposed of is also kind of similar to the fate of the xenomorph in Ridley Scott's classic sci fi/horror classic.
Even at a brisk 69 minutes, IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (1958) is essential viewing for fans of the golden age of science fiction-horror movies. It's one of the most memorable of its kind to come out of the atomic age era of 1950's Hollywood fright flicks.
This review is representative of the MGM DVD. It is also on a double feature DVD paired with THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (1957).