Night Caller From Outer Space (1965)

“You’re not just up against a criminal mind; we’re fighting an alien civilization, one at least a hundred — or maybe a thousand — years in advance of ours!”

Synopsis:
An alien (Robert Crewdson) places an ad in Bikini Girl magazine in order to lure British girls back to his planet. Meanwhile, scientists Jack Costain (John Saxon) and Ann Barlow (Patricia Haines) assist Detective Hartley (Alfred Burke) in an investigation of the mysterious kidnappings.

Genres:

Review:
This unusual alien invasion flick suffers from a slow start, ridiculous low-budget effects, some incredibly corny lines, and one of the most incongruous title songs ever written. Nonetheless, after the first 15 minutes the film moves along at a fast clip, with the actors turning in surprisingly decent performances, and viewers kept in suspense the entire time. The movie’s black-and-white cinematography is chillingly atmospheric (though the off-kilter camera angles and occasional hand-held shots don’t quite work). Recommended for those who enjoyed The Quatermass Xperiment (1955).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Patricia Haines’s intelligent performance as a female scientist who risks her life in order to learn more about the alien
    Haines
  • John Saxon’s earnest depiction as Haines’s colleague
    Saxon
  • Some unexpected moments of humor — such as the scene where a middle-aged couple (Marianne Stone and Warren Mitchell) describe the mysterious disappearance of their daughter
    Couple
  • Atmospheric black-and-white cinematography
    Typewriter

Must See?
No, but it’s a surprisingly effective low-budget thriller. Peary lists it in the back of his book as both a Sleeper and a Personal Recommendation.

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2 Responses to “Night Caller From Outer Space (1965)”

  1. Here we go again: “sleeper’ and “personal recommendation’?! Did I see the same movie?! Following the (stated) wildly inappropriate theme song, the 1st 3rd is rather dull (admittedly, it’s amusing to hear the soldiers wonder if “the thing’ is “foreign”), with the kind of generic scientist talk that turns the viewer’s mind to shopping lists (“Hmm…we need milk…”). This leads us to a momentary laughable “scare’ involving a silly rubber claw. Things once again turn sluggish in mumbo-jumbo speculation, with another false alarm “fright’. A pronounced ludicrousness sets in, while the film itself remains dull and crying for cinematic value. Somewhere in all this there is a spirited cameo by Aubrey Morris as a gay bookseller and (stated) comic relief in the form of a couple relating their daughter’s disappearance (engaging and clearly out of another film). One genuine shock is still silly (how could it not have been, even during initial release?). Then we’re back to more bla-bla-bla talk about “transmutation of matter”. Of course, things can sometimes be forgiven at The Big Finish but the one here is The Big Snooze. As someone who loves sci-fi, I’m hard-pressed for any merit in this non-must. Sheesh!

  2. Yeah, it’s a dog; or being British I suppose you’d say its a hound.

    NIGHT CALLER is perhaps the funniest bad movie I’ve ever seen, though you have to stretch your attention span to Kubrickian lengths to truly enjoy it. In fact, if you remember the Monty Python episode where aliens come to Earth and change everybody to Scotsman so they can win the Wimbledon tournament you will find this movie is not very far off, all the way down to a wooden American in a lead role.

    The difference? No tennis.

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