It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)

November 1, 2008 § Leave a comment

In 1958, it must have been hard to imagine life in the fifties wouldn’t go on forever, because the small crew returning from Mars (in the distant year 1973) has several woman on board just to serve pie and coffee. The ship is returning with a prisoner — a man suspected of killing the rest of his crew when a first ship crash-landed on Mars, but in fact a fearsome monster from the planet is on board, and his innocence is proven when it begins picking off members of this new crew.

Director Ridley Scott once described Alien (the first film in the Sigourney Weaver series) as a well done B-movie, and he’s right. Both films are monster movies, or a haunted house in space, with the major difference that Scott was a more skilled director with a decent budget, and better actors (or, if not better actors, at least actors that don’t have to deliver clunky dialogue that make it difficult to believe it’s the distant year 1973). Still, it’s also fair to say Alien (1979) borrows heavily from its predecessor, and It! is entertaining enough, despite the low budget, the early reveal of the monster and the fact that it’s a guy in a big rubber suit. In fact, Alien even borrows the kitchen scenes with the crew sitting around talking, though the actors in Alien get reel-feeling dialogue like “Can I finish my coffee first?  Thanks, it’s the only good thing on this ship.” As enjoyable as the 1950s film happens to be, the two films together are a perfect example of the tremendous difference more time, money and care can make.

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