Category Archives: Science Fiction: Alien

Flicks about creatures from planets not our own. Both the fun kind and the not so fun kind.

Quatermass and the Pit

Also Called:
Five Million Years to Earth
Date:
1967
Stars:
James Donald

Andrew Keir

Barbra Shelly
Writer:
Nigel Kneale
Director:
Roy Scott Baker
WRC Score:
4/4

(-_-)b

Quatermass and the Pit (also known as Five Million Years to Earth) tells the tale of a scientific discovery found during construction of a subway.  What scientists learn there promises to change the way we think about Humanity.  Worse, it might change the way Humanity thinks, period.

This is quite possible the best film Hammer Studio ever produced, and I don’t say that lightly.  Written by Sci Fi great Nigel Kneale, it has great ideas and a great forward momentum that is never bogged down.  Helping the cause are excellent actors such as Julian Glover, Hammer regular Barbra Shelly, and Andrew Keir as the titular Quatermass (which I will forever misspell as Quartermass for some reason.)

With those praises passed out, there are a few nagging problems, such a few stereotypical characters (stuffy, unimaginative military leader, as an example.)  Then there is a key scene that’s clearly played out by stiff miniatures.  But that last can be set aside for the time period.

What matters is that this is a great movie (2 points), highly influential in Science Fiction and in Horror.  I love it to death (2 points) and it comes highly Recommended.

Actually, all the Quatermass films come recommended.  And if you can lay hands on During Barty’s Party, an episode of Kneale’s Beasts series, you won’t regret it.

Score: 4 points out of a possible 4 (-_-)b

 

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Killers from Space

Date:
1954
Stars:
Peter Graves

James Seay

Steve Pendleton
Writer:
William Raynor
Director:
W. Lee Wilder
WRC Score:
1.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
July 27, 2012

A plane crash with two occupants turns up only one body.  Hours later, the second occupant turns up alive and well, save for two new scars.  He doesn’t know how he got them, any more than how he survived the crash.  But the Killers From Space know… Everything.

Muahahahahaha!

Or words to that effect.

Anyway.

There is a kernel of an excellent movie buried in Killers From Space. Somewhere.  You might have to do a lot of digging, maybe bring out a pick ax or some dynamite, but it’s there.  Beneath the stock footage, the padding, and a whole bunch of scenes that tell rather than show.  It’s there, damn it.

Okay, so Killers From Space is a bad movie. (0.5 points)  And honestly, i don’t know why I’m going to such length to defend it, as I can’t honestly say I liked the movie (1 point),

However, I did have my fun riffing on it while I watched it. So it’s might not be a total loss.  Either for me, or for you.

Overall Score: 1.5 total point out of a possible 4

It! The Terror From Beyond Space

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1958
Stars:
Marshall Thompson
Shirley Patterson
Kim Spalding
Writer:
Jerome Bixby
Director:
Edward L. Cahn
WRC Score:
3/4
Note: 
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.

It! The Terror From Beyond Space

Date:
1958
Stars:
Marshall Thompson
Shirley Patterson
Kim Spalding
Writer:
Jerome Bixby
Director:
Edward L. Cahn
WRC Score:
3/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 20, 2012

2016-link-box-002

It! The Terror From Beyond Space  is the story of a rescue ship returning from the planet Mars.  They’ve just picked up the only survivor of the earlier expedition, who they intend to see to Earth for trial and execution.  Unfortunately for them, proof of his innocence has decided to stow away on their rocket.

So.  Alien on a spaceship heading to Earth, killing the crew.  Sounds a wee bit familiar, doesn’t it?  Well it should, as many think this an ancestors of the Sci Fi Classic Alien.

It! The Terror From Beyond Space is in it’s own right a classic.  Not that it’s problem free, mind.  Watching it, you’ll see several shocking lapses in logic and minor monster suit issues.  Outside that, though, the acting and direction are at least competent, and at a lean 69 minutes it doesn’t waste a lot of time.  All in all, it’s one of the better Hollywood Space Outings, especially considering the time period.

While more modern films definitely have it beat, don’t let that stop you from see in a good one from a simpler time (1.5 points). I’m rather fond of it myself (1.5 points), and will no doubt be revisiting it soon.

Total: 3 out of a possible 4 points

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