It! The Terror From Beyond Space
"It" rightly gets the kudos "it" deserves these days.
It's the future, 1973, and the first manned expedition to Mars is marooned. When a rescue team finally reach the stricken ship they find only one survivor; the leader, Col. Edward Carruthers. He claims that an alien life form killed his crew but this is met with scepticism as Carruthers tells the story.......
Pretty much forgotten until Ridley Scott's enormously successful Alien in 1979 caused ripples on account of plot similarity, It! The Terror from Beyond Space now rightfully sits with the best of the sci-fi schlockers from the 50s. Sure it's hokey and the old man in the rubber suit issue is hardly the work of cinematic genius, but its science heart and its claustrophobic construction more than make up for budgetary restrictions. Set on board a classic V-2 vertical type rocket ship, Edward L. Cahn's film benefits from having Jerome Bixby on pen duties. Bixby's credentials boasts the likes of Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and Fantastic Voyage, so the writing here was in good hands. For sure it's not exactly breaking new ground with its basic plot, but it has a little more to offer than at first seems.
As for the titular creature itself? Well it proudly displays all of the limitations of its bargain-basement budget. Played by Ray "Crash" Corrigan, it's a lumbering, grunting piggy type alien that we get to see too much of during the second half of the movie. But with Kenneth Peach's toned down black & white photography at work, the creature remains a potent character as it stalks its prey around the metallic interiors of the ship. The cast are the usual assemblage of B movie performers, with Marshall Thompson and Shirley Patterson putting in a good shift. While Grant Whytock in the editing department deserves a mention for keeping the film free of pointless filler.
A taut and creepy little shocker that is a must see for anyone interested in the glorious days of the sci-fi schlocker and creaky creature feature. 8/10
The Monster That Challenged The World
Instant TERROR......just add water!
An earthquake out in the Salton Sea awakens the creeping dread, gigantic vampire water snails are on the loose and they are hungry for human fluid!.
Just about the right side of good, The Monster Who Challenge The World holds up well because of it's well constructed creatures and a bit of care and attention to the boffin discussions. Far too many 50s creature features just used a basic premise of creatures obliterating mankind because they were in an odd mood, but much like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, this picture at least takes time to give us a bit of a nature heartbeat to help us understand the methods of a mollusc, and that alone should be applauded, learn while we have fun so to speak. The cast ooze B-movie standards, and that is in no way a bad thing here, whilst the Catalina Island locale sequences are pretty nifty to help salt the beef as it were!
Good honest fun that isn't short on creepiness, and top marks to the makers for introducing a very ingenious creature to a truly wonderful genre. 6/10