This is yet another flick I had heard about through various monster movie books I read when I was a kid but never saw. They just never aired it in my area, or they did and I never knew it, but I’m betting they didn’t. Back when my grandmother showed me what a TV Guide was me and my brother perused it with a fine tooth comb every week to see what new science fiction flick and monster movies were coming on and not once do I ever remember seeing this movie in it.
The first chance I ever got to try and see it was back in the late 90s when either TCM or AMC aired it late one night. I set the timer and recorded it but something went wrong, to this day I have no idea what happened, all I know is the following morning when I rewound the tape and played it there wasn’t any sound.
This wasn’t a big priority movie for me so I never bothered to buy the Midnite Movies DVD when it finally it disc back in 2001. TCM aired it again in the mid-2000s, I think, and this time I saw it but was not overwhelmed by it. Last night’s viewing was the standard re-evaluation and this time I did enjoy it. I always find it funny and odd how my tastes in movies tend to change over time.
With a short running time of only 69-minutes the movie doesn’t waste any time jumping right into things. After the opening credits we get a brief voice over by Col. Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson) explaining how that wreckage we see on Mars is his ship and that something horrible happened to the rest of his crew leaving him the sole survive. The camera then pans to the right where we see another rocket ship and he goes on to explain it took six months for a rescue mission to reach him.
A short scene of a press conference on Earth detailing their first trip to Mars reveals Carruthers will be brought back and charged with the murder of his crew. Back on Mars and back in that rescue rocket we further learn no one believes his account of a monster being the real culprit. In fact, Col. Van Heusen (Kim Spalding ), the head of this rescue, makes it his personal mission to coax a confession out of Carruthers before they get back.
Carruthers looking visibly defeated and resigned to his fate waits for home to arrive, but that monster has followed him on board, sneaking into an open hatch one of the crew members left open after he explains he was dumping out empty crates. Oh, that’s nice, nothing says we come in peace more than a nice mound of human garbage. Humans.
Now the fun begins as this “It” (Ray Corrigan) stakes out it’s territory in the lowest level of the ship and begins offing crew members slowly but surely, working his way up each level in the rocket until the survivors are cornered in the top and have no where to go but into the alien’s digestive track. Eric Royce (Dabbs Greer) theorized they’re dealing with a kind of “alien throwback,” a devolved species that once ruled the planet. Seems about right since it looks like a humanoid lizard-type and does nothing to try and communicate with the humans, just viewing them as potential food.
This movie is famously known for being a heavy influence on Alien (1979). I always use to think it was Alien I had to thank every time I came across a horror movie about an ET using air ducts to move around in. That’s a popular maneuver by a lot of invading alien species. There must be a handbook they use and secreting your slimy self into the humans ventilation system must be a page one/chapter one rule. I don’t blame them. It works, and Lt. James Calder (Paul Langton) is the first to find this out as he goes into the ducts to get one of his friends. Though he fares a lot better than Alien’s Dallas (Tom Skerritt) who ventures into the ducts to never return.
The FX for the most part works in a sort of late 50s scifi sort of way. It would have helped more if creature performer, Corrigan, would not have touched his head and face in the revealing manner of someone trying to adjust a mask so he can see out of it better. This happens in two scenes and the camera lingers too much in a couple of others on the full body of the beast so we can reluctantly see how much of a suit it is. Other than that it’s a nice FX creation.
Back on May 19th Olive Films re-released It! The Terror From Beyond Space on DVD and for the first time on blu-ray. MGM’s previous 2001 solo DVD as well as their 2005 re-release this time as a double feature with The Monster That Challenged The World (1957), hitting blu for the first time this coming August from Kino Lorber Studio Classics) are still in print by the way.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1.85:1 widescreen—2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio—No subtitles
The transfer on the blu looked crisp and the audio was good. Take note the ratio listed on the back of both the DVD and blu is wrong. It says 1.37:1 when should really say 1.85:1.
- Theatrical Trailer
I like viewing some of these old scifi classics late at night, it reminds me of when I first saw them on Chiller Theater when I was a kid and then on Theater Bizarre when I was in high school.