Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Peekaboo! The Martian monster on the loose
IT, THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (1958). Director: Edward L. Cahn. Screenplay by Jerome Bixby.

An expedition to Mars picks up the sole survivor, Lt. Carruthers (Marshall Thompson), of the first team to reach the planet. Carruthers is suspected of murdering his team mates so the food would last longer, but he insists they were actually decimated by a ferocious monster [but what about that bullet hole in a skull? everyone wonders]. Said monster becomes a stowaway on  the voyage back to Earth, and pretty soon this new crew discovers Carruthers was telling the truth. The creature absorbs all of the bodily fluids from his victims via osmosis, and is amazingly strong as well. It, an obvious forerunner of Alien, is a taut, adroit little B movie that builds up suspense as the surviving crew members do everything they can think of to stay alive and destroy the monster. Bixby wrote the classic horror story "It's a Good Life" that was adapted by The Twilight Zone. The competent cast members [who sometimes seem to be holding back laughter]  include Shawn Smith [The Land Unknown], Ann Doran, Kim Spalding as the captain, and Dabbs Greer [The Vampire] as a science officer. Thompson appeared in First Man Into Space and many other films of various genres. Cahn directed 125 movies; Bixby wrote a lot for television but did only a few full-length screenplays.

Verdict: Lively, low-budget sci fi horror. ***.


Neil A Russell said...

I always believed this movie inspired producer/director Irwin Allen to create the movie Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
When I first saw "It..." I couldn't quite put my finger on what made it so familiar and then it hit me; the movie plays out in the same matter-of-fact fashion that we see in Voyage.
And the Paul Sawtell music doesn't hurt either.

William said...

I had never thought of that but I see what you mean by the similarities, and the same composer as well. The only thing missing is the creature on the sub, unless it's the sneaky saboteur played by Joan Fontaine!