Edward L. Cahn
First posted in
a different form
on July 20, 2012
Note: From here, the film will be referred to as just It!
It! is more known for its descendent that for any worth it has on its own. How’s that for a sentence full of it.
Up until 1979, It! was just one in a long list of Let’s-Go-To-Mars-Oh-Wait-Bad-Idea flicks. Oh, a good (if far from perfect) example of the sub-genre, don’t get me wrong. As we shall discuss later on, scriptwriter Jerome Bixby did a commendable job on the story, and this might have been a crown jewel in his career had his name not been attached to another… ah… err… good story.
That said, Mars was one of our nearest neighbors. Until the spoil sport scientists ruined things in the Sixties, it was a ripe place for invading intelligence to come from, or, more relevant to this discussion, intrepid explorers to head to and discover ancient and crumbling civilizations. From this period we get movies such as Angry Red Planet, Flight to Mars, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
Hey, I never said they were all good movies, now did I?
Discovering just how lifeless Mars was killed the sub-genre and no doubt consigned It! with its fellows to the category of Might-Have-Been-Had-the-Universe-Been-Run-Right.
Only unlike its fellow films, It! had a different destiny. For in 1979 a little known flick called Alien came out and, due to its many similarities, It! moved up from mere footnote to predecessor to one of the most influential Science Fiction/Horror films of all time.
Just how influential It! actually was to the later film is a matter of conjecture. Whatever the truth of the matter, the mere hint of a connection no doubt sends many a viewer out to find it. I should know; I was one.
Turn the page and see if it warrants any or all praise it gets.