“She seems so human, yet obviously not human at all!”
Shortly after his girlfriend (Judi Meredith) and friend (Dennis Hopper) are sent to Mars to meet with a recently landed spaceship, an astronaut (John Saxon) follows them to provide much-needed support — especially when the lone alien they rescue (Florence Marly) turns out to be challenging to manage.
- Basil Rathbone Films
- Dennis Hopper Films
- Science Fiction
Like Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (1965), this low-budget AIP sci-fi-horror flick (directed by Curtis Harrington) was re-purposed from existing Soviet footage to stylish effect. While the first half-hour moves glacially, and the pacing overall is too slow, the screenplay takes a surprising enough turn (once Marly emerges from her slumber) to shake things up significantly, and make one take serious notice. Green-faced Marly’s wordless performance is a marvel to behold, as she hypnotizes the men around her and clearly has malevolence up her sleeve (or perhaps up in her beehive-do):
Naturally, inquiry-driven scientists — most particularly Dr. Farraday (Basil Rathbone) back on Earth — demand she be brought back safely at any cost, despite the clear risk she poses. It’s been noted that both this and Bava’s flick bear a remarkably strong resemblance to Alien (1979), which is part of what makes them each worth a look despite their flaws. The final scene is genuinely chilling and icky.
Note: I’m leaving out a spoiler genre that would give away too much. Stay away from any online reviews if you want to be surprised.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Florence Marly as the alien
- Atmospheric cinematography and sets
- Artistic opening titles
Yes, once, for its unusual storyline and bold visuals, and as a clear inspiration for Alien. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.