Wednesday, May 2, 2018

In Space, No One Can... Yeah, You Know the Rest


Last night, eighteen brave adventurers into the digital world of horror movies, watched, I believe, our first space horror. Titled It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), It! was supposedly the inspiration for Dan O'Bannon's Alien (1979).

Not to be confused with It Came from Outer Space (1953), or It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), this It! ran on a double bill with Curse of the Faceless Man (1958).

In this Cold War era of suspicion and finger-pointing, our story is simple. An Earth spaceship goes to Mars, and the crew is killed mysteriously, save for one survivor, Colonel Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson, who many of us Boomers remember as Dr. Marsh Tracy, in the TV show Daktari). A rescue ship is sent to Mars to pick up Col. Carruthers, mainly to bring him back for court-martial, as many suspect him in the deaths of his crew. But, once the rescue ship picks up our survivor, they also pick up... Dunh! Dunh! Duhhh! something else.

It's not long before our something else, namely, It! continues its single-minded purpose, picking off the new two-legged Earth food.

It! is super-strong and hard to kill. Played athletically by famous actor and stuntman Ray "Crash" Corrigan, the creature traps the remaining crew-members in one small section of the ship.

Quick note on Mr. Corrigan: in many B-movies where a gorilla was needed, it was Ray, who came with his own gorilla costumes. Apparently, he had a collection of them.

This was a fine science fiction horror blend. The story was believable, action was excellent, and there were plenty of "No, don't go in there, you fool!" moments. You can definitely see where Alien got some of its famous "trapped corridor" scenes.

I'll have more to say about It! tomorrow.

This will take you to It! Part Deux: It! Part Deux

Keep writing, friends.

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