Written by Martin Varno, based on a story by Gene Corman
Directed by Bernard L. Kowalski
Starring John Baer, Angela Greene, Ed Nelson, Georgianna Carter, Michael Emmet
Released by: Alpha Video.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Worth grabbing for an MST3K party. That’s about it.
A secret project is trying to put man in space–but at what price? At what…price? Major John Corcoran (Emmet) has piloted the craft in question but due to some strange something-or-other that he’s valiantly tried to record on the reel-to-reel flight recorder, he’s crashed. And he hasn’t survived the ordeal. Or has he? His corpse doesn’t seem to want to decay, and something strange seems to have come down from outer space with him…
[ad#longpost]Many are the films that did not age well. Put in the proper context, though, they fare better. Some films need a whole lot of context…like some horror movies. Stuff that really freaked people right the hell out back in the day just doesn’t work for those who have grown up seeing a lot worse on CNN. The envelope has been pushed and shredded a few times over now. However, there’s a number of films that when you watch, you can’t imagine them having been worth a damn even many decades ago.
This is one of those films. From the opening credits (which look like they were done by the same folks who did the credits for Lost in Space) on down, you know this is in trouble even before you get to the creature, which looks like a cross between Swamp Thing, Man-Thing and a parrot. It might not have been so clunky, but not helping matters is the incredibly blundering “Can’t we all just get along? Must we destroy everything different from us?” vibe that permeates everything, not to mention the obligatory “Mankind’s progress will kill us all” meme that was the impetus behind a lot of films a lot better than this one. Just because these bits are outdated and cliche, doesn’t mean it’s a bad film–at least not by themselves. Not helping matters are sequences in which nothing happens, which makes you believe that even at sixty-two minutes, the editor really had to stretch it to fill the time.
It’s not the fault of the cast, however. Our two testosterone-laiden male leads are supposed to be manly and want to blow shit up, so that’s what they bring to the table. The other males are either eggheadish or mysterious and they serve that function. And the women…well, this is a horror movie from the 50s, so they are meant to be “victimized” and scream a lot. That’s about all. The facility they were operating out of was meant to be so super secret it was hidden away from anything resembling civilization, which translated into English means “We have no budget.” The script was produced on no budget as well: none of the reactions to anything or in the least way believable. Not even for 1950s sci-fi horror.
Suffice to say there’s a reason that this was tapped for an episode of MST3K. It doesn’t even have the cute and fuzzy badness that makes Robot Monster so endearing and timelessly wrong. There’s no features on the disc, but I’m not sure what in the world you would desire from it. The MST3K episode is probably better viewing. So be forewarned.
Second stop on Widge’s 2005 Halloween Film Fest. For the previous stop, click here.