Had to fit in the 50’s science fiction classic This Island Earth. As a teenager I was always fascinated by this films incredible imagination. What was the mystery of why these big headed aliens were sneakily kidnapping nuclear scientists? What was their purpose? And before you knew it this wide-eyed wolf-boy was taken on a kind of road movie throughout the stars with added giant alien bug thrown in for good measure.
Tagline – 2-1/2 YEARS IN THE MAKING ! …to bring you sights of FANTASTIC AMAZEMENT never before possible on the motion picture screen
We get introduced to the dashing, booming voiced Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) who’s not only a superhunk and an experimental scientist, he’s also a pilot. He’s so damn cool Lockheed have leased him a T-33 Shooting Star jet to muck around in. What a guy!
Mind you he soons regrets showing off as the jet suffers engine failure whilst racing through the sky. Surelly poor Cal’s number is up? Getting ready to meet his maker the jet suddenly takes on a bizarre green glow. Stranger still is the jet starts to stabilize as the landing gear automatically releases. Flying down to make a smooth landing at the airport. Jeez that was a close call! Lucky his trusty sidekick Joe Wilson (Robert Nichols) had seen the weirdness unfold from the ground. It was the beginning of much strangeness to come.
Joe Wilson – “Cal, I – I know everybody’s seeing flying saucers and screwy lights up in the sky. Well, you can put me in the booby hatch too, because, so help me, I saw this ship turn a bright green up there.”
Cal and Joe work together at an experimental laboratory, testing electronic condensers and trying to find news ways of conducting power. With mysterious packages arriving, including an instruction manual with pages made of paper thin metal. Both Cal and Joe are intrigued and build a device from the diagrams. Some kind of communication panel? A voice sounds, then a face. A strange looking white haired man with a rather large cranium. This mysterious man is called Exeter (Jeff Morrow) and Cal is about to be invited to a think tank gathering of big brains from around the world.
Relief crossed Cals mind when he realised he wasn’t being catfished by a group of giant foreheaded weirdos. They didn’t want his body, what they wanted was his expertise in the field of electronics. What he didn’t know was the fact he’s part of Exeter’s special research project and he’s not the only candidate.
What could be happening at this house on the hill filled with scientists. And this strange Exeter fella wasn’t the only big headed dude wandering around. He had a friend, Brack (Lance Fuller) with an equally freaky head. Something fishy was going on here, they couldn’t be trusted. Cal recognised a familiar face, a brilliant scientist he had met before, Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue). Can the two of them figure what is going on and escape this mysterious cult like place?
I think after witnessing technology far advanced from anything on Earth, Cal and Ruth had the wise decision to make a run for it. With a high speed car chase whilst being bombarded with laser beams. Exploding cars, people, a house and most probably the friendly science cat Neutron! It was safe to say that after escaping in a plane these two had had one helluva busy day. Time to reflect with a cup of tea…………..
Tagline – Two mortals trapped in outer space… challenging the unearthly furies of an outlaw planet gone mad!
Not so blooming likely! Abducted in their plane, they were now inside a UFO flying through space to Exeter’s home planet of Metaluna! And this is where the real fun and excitement begins. For the last half hour they throw the science fiction book at them. Space travel, alien planets, decompression tubes, rival warring factions, comet bombs, a mutant and an iconic scream. It goes bonkers. I’m sure you’ve seen it, want to revisit it? It’s on youtube at time of writing, here This Island Earth.
I loved this film as a kid and watching it again for probably the 10th time still gave me that warm feeling. It sums up everything I adore about 50’s sci-fi films. Wonder, excitement, UFO’s, aliens and adventure through the stars.
I’ll let director Joe Dante sign us out of this post as he chats about his passion for This Island Earth.