|Peekaboo! The Martian monster on the loose|
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. ***.