“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
- John Saxon 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.
2 thoughts on “Planet of Blood / Queen of Blood (1966)”
First viewing. A once-must for fans of ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ – which is probably tons of film fanatics who aren’t necessarily sci-fi buffs.
As per my post in ‘Revival House of Camp & Cult’ (fb):
“Perhaps she’s only accustomed to some sort of… liquid nourishment.”
‘Queen of Blood’: The makers of ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ were once little kids like we all were, of course – as such, they soaked up their inspiration early on. They had certainly seen ‘It! The Terror from Beyond Space’ (recommended) – and another direct influence was ‘Queen of Blood’. This Roger (“I can make a movie out of *anything*!”) Corman-produced quickie gave young director Curtis Harrington the opportunity to fashion stock footage from a Russian film studio (which is not half-bad) into a new kind of space flick. With a laughable budget, Harrington still succeeded more than one might think. Like a lot of sci-fi films from the ’50s-’60s, ‘QOB’ saves its best stuff for the last 30 minutes: the performance of Czech-born Florence Marly. With green skin, a cotton-candy-esque bouffant and ‘Village of the Damned’ eyes, Marly manages a genuinely creepy, mute spin on Bela Lugosi. Also in the cast: John Saxon, Hollywood veteran Basil Rathbone (taking it all seriously) and Dennis Hopper (3 years prior to his re-invention in ‘Easy Rider’). The ending has surprising punch. (Harrington would later make ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’ and ‘What’s the Matter with Helen?’)
Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (1965) is a much bigger influence on Alien and Heinlein’s book Starship Troopers (1959) is the big influence on Aliens along with Galaxy of Terror (1981) which Cameron was a major player on.