“You honestly believe I’d murder nine of my closest friends in order to survive on Mars?”
The lone survivor (Marshall Thompson) of a manned mission to Mars is accused of murdering his crewmates — until a vicious alien (Ray Corrigan) shows up on the ship sent to take him back to Earth, and the lives of everyone on board are threatened.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Falsely Accused
- Science Fiction
It! is primarily known for its sandwiched reputation as the film inspired by Howard Hawks’ The Thing (1951), and as the unofficial inspiration for Ridley Scott’s bigger-budget variation on the same theme — Alien (1979). Despite its labeling by Peary as a Camp Classic — due to its obviously low budget and stereotypically one-dimensional characters — It! remains a surprisingly effective little sci-fi thriller, one which packs a fairly scary wallop and makes good use of a smart, economical script by Jerome Bixby. Once it’s established that Corrigan DIDN’T murder his original crewmates in a fit of survivalist panic (yeah, right — how likely is THAT?!), we’re able to focus on the very-real menace of a seemingly un-killable alien presence on board the claustrophobic quarters of a spaceship. As with Alien, we’re kept in suspense about which character will be the next to bite the dust — and we genuinely feel for the predicament of one astronaut stuck in close quarters with the beast as his air supply slowly dwindles. Don’t dismiss this one out of hand as simply Alien-on-a-diet; it’s actually worth a look.
Note: Director Edward L. Cahn’s follow-up film — well, one of SEVEN films he made the next year! (Take that, Roger Corman!) — was The Invisible Invaders (1959), which (somewhat surprisingly) received full Criterion treatment for its release onto DVD.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Effectively creepy low-budget special effects
Yes, for its historical importance, and as a fine little B-flick in its own right. Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.
One thought on “It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)”
First viewing. A once-must, for its place in cinema history (and, as noted, of special interest for fans of the ‘Alien’ series and/or the ‘Thing’ films).
I was rather surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It’s a fine example of a film working in spite of its low budget and what it generally has working against it (i.e., somewhat cheesy production value). In this case, it’s not too difficult turning a blind eye to the film’s flaws because the director and cast are doing overtime to keep audience interest.
As noted, the script is the film’s main asset. It is, indeed, smart (even though a little suspension of disbelief is required). Overall, the plot is constructed well and builds effectively.