Yeah I was only 2 at the time but you would of thought Mankind landing on Mars in 1973 would of made a significant mark on the history books! I guess what with the end of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal in full swing that a crew of 10 landing on the red planet 54 million kilometers away, just ain’t all that newsworthy!
I bet it was down to the Science Advisory Committee Division Of Interplanetary Exploration covering up the facts. They didn’t want the first successful mission to Mars to be surrounded by….. murder!
Having achieved the impossible and landed on the surface of the infamous Red Planet things suddenly changed for the worst. Unfortunately on landing, the ship was damaged beyond all repair. 10 crew members stranded! The SOS was put out with a rescue ship on its way. The six month wait felt like an eternity. When it arrives, only poor Col. Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson) is left, a lone survivor. It didn’t look good. HQ wanted answers. Commander Van Heusen (Kim Spalding) is ordered to rescue him but bring him back for questioning. The evidence strongly points to him murdering the whole crew? With food and water rations set to run out sooner for ten mouths, it sure would go further for, let’s say, one!
Col. Edward Carruthers – “The planet became dangerous, treacherous and alive with something we became to know as only…… death!”
Explaining his innocence, Edward blames it on some figured force of unseen terrorising power. Surely the guys nuts and making it up to cover his murdering ways? Besides Mars is a dead planet, nothing could live on such a desolate barren planet? Well at least if there was such a thing, they were all safely locked up on their rocketship. Hang on a minute! Who left the bloody cargo bay doors wide open?
“IT” was onboard and this rescue crew were about to have a really bad day. A monster so repulsive, so hideous, it looked just like a…….. a giant man dressed in a rubber suit! With crashing, smashing hands, this otherworldly savage sucked dry all fluids of its victims. What were they going to do? Trapped inside a giant tin can hurtling back to Earth with a beast in its belly. Death wasn’t far away. Lucky they have a box of hand grenades and a bazooka to fire off around the ship!
Tagline – IT! … Reaches through space! … Scoops up men and women! … Gorges on blood!
Can this group of explorers fend off such a monsterous attacking alien barbarian or are they all gonna be beaten to pulp and lose their juice? One thing’s for sure, they certainly gonna put up a good fight against this unwanted guest. With a selection of revolvers, gas bombs, explosives and the trusty rocket launcher they were checking out, kicking and screaming.
- Directed by Edward L Cahn who I see was no stranger to science fiction b-movies throughout the 50’s. Check these titles. The Creature with the Atom Brain, Invasion of the Saucer Men, Invisible Invaders to name a few. He was churning out 5/6 films a year.
- It! The Terror From Beyond Space was written by Jerome Bixby who wrote many science fiction tales ranging from episodes of Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, co-wrote the classic mini Raquel Welch film Fantastic Voyage and finished his story The Man From Earth on his deathbed before it was made into a critically acclaimed film in 2007.
- Now the amazing thing about this movie is what it inspired. It is said Dan O’Bannon got some big inspiration on his screenplay for director Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien. There’s definitely similarities to be seen, picking alien being up from a planet, trapped inside a spaceship, the crew being picked off one by one, venting the oxygen out the airlock and there’s even a nod to the going down the air vent tunnels. Quite incredible when you think about it.
- Obviously poor old HR Giger couldn’t live up to the 1958 alien design concept but he did give it his best try.
It! The Terror From Beyond Space has kick started my Wolfman Proudly Presents Science Fiction month of January special. It’s a clever little story, of course it’s cheap at times and totally implausible with the exploding missiles and toxic gas flying around all over the shop. Still, the film delivers in it’s punchy 69 minute runtime. Even with that short duration you still get to care for the crew as their doomed fate awaits them. Keep a lookout for Lt. James Calder (Paul Langton) stuck behind some containers with a flamethrower (hang on a minute! that’s another reference to Alien).
It’s a brilliant piece of 50’s sci-fi and really well worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.
Oh just before I go, this line on the poster is brilliant. Let’s hope the Curiosity Rover wandering around on the Martian surface doesn’t bankrupt some insurance company?
Tagline – $50,000 by a world renowned insurance company to the first person who can prove that “It” is not on Mars now!