Sunday, November 21, 2010

They Came From Beyond Space 1967 **

Dir: Freddie Francis Stars: Robert Hutton, Jennifer Jayne, Michael Gough

I hate to say it but this is a case where the poster is better than the movie (I plan to discuss how movies compare to their posters when I get around to reviewing Terrornauts). But the movie is okay, as long as you think of it more as an extended English episode of Outer Limits than an actual feature.

Plot has hero Hutton not being affected by alien mind control because he has a steel plate in his head, which leaves him to investigate a phenomenon attacking his scientific colleagues including the woman he loves, portrayed by the very pouty-lipped Jennifer Jayne.

The scenes where mind control takes over are fun, because suddenly there is an explosion of groovy, jazzy music. As Hutton investigates he finds a secure compound the mind-controlled are working at with all sorts of suspicious whatnot taking place. When he starts getting too close to the secret, he gets zapped by some alien type zappers, which apparently cause him to pass out and wake up to see this:

This of course only makes him want to investigate further, leading him into the compound where he uncovers what appear to be frozen bodies. He basically kidnaps his girlfriend, still possessed as she is by aliens, only he has now figured out how to get the bad presence out, and that the way to keep it out is by having people wear pots on their head.

This all leads to a pretty interesting ending, as he stows away on a craft being sent nightly to the moon from the compound, where he discovers the secret of the aliens, as revealed by the Nimoy-esque Michael Gough, who would later play Alfred for four Batman films.

This is the kind of movie that is sort of problematic from the perspective of a b-movie fan. It's actually almost compelling enough to be a real film, and shows some film making skill; but at the same time, the type of thrills one hopes for from a crazy low-grade picture are only there sporadically and in small doses. So it's neither one or the other. But like I said, it would be decent if condensed down to an episode of a sci-fi anthology show. This film doesn't give you a wild ride, it is more something to be hypnotized by on a Sunday afternoon when bombed out on cold remedies and afterwards wonder what the heck it was you just watched. At least enjoy the wallpaper and curtains.

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