Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It! Terror From Beyond Space

I got this movie ages ago after reading an article about the films that inspired the classic Alien. For some reason or other it's one that I kept overlooking when I was choosing something to watch; until last night. And it's a little gem.

Made in 1958, the movie depicts the rescue attempt in the early '70s of the first manned expedition to Mars. Of the original crew only one man has survived; who tells his rescuers tales of a Martian creature that killed the others. He's promptly put under guard and brought onboard the rescue ship as they head back to Earth for his court martial. Only something comes on board with them.

Alien is basically a remake of this film; an unstoppable alien creature picks off the crew one by one. It's simply told and very much of its time- the two female crew members serve the men their chow at dinner time for example. No Ellen Ripley's here. To add to that there's the imagery of the astronauts packing 1911s and a Garand rifle on their rocket ship; perhaps a niche appeal but it certainly works for me. Also there's no attempt to "understand" the alien; at most a few moments are spend wondering about its motives and then the work of trying to utterly destroy the beast resumes. The men are men, Shirley Patterson is a delightful female lead, and the monster is not half bad at all. The special effects are certainly no worse that the recent Godzilla film (I still can't understand why the CGI monster looks like a man in a suit?).

All in all it's great B-movie fun as the relentless alien forces the crew into retreat and they try everything to fight back. Highly recommended.

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