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

Thursday, February 10, 2011


IT CONQUERED THE WORLD (1956). Producer/director: Roger Corman.

"For a few dollars you can have a woman who'll fit all of your fetishes."

"It and some others are the sole survivors of a race born too soon."

Dr. Paul Nelson (Peter Graves), who's in charge of a space project, discovers that one of his missiles has been commandeered by a Venusian who is using it to arrive on Earth. Furthermore, Nelson's buddy Dr. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef), is in direct contact with the alien. While Anderson insists that the creature has only benevolent purposes, the alien's first action is to suppress all energy so that no machines work. Then it sends out beasties that resemble small flying manta rays that attach themselves to humans and turn them into mind slaves. Anderson doesn't seem to care that this makes people as emotionless as the Venusian visitor, but his wife (Beverly Garland) certainly does. With a good script and dialogue by Lou Rusoff, It Conquered the World is absurd but zesty sci fi/horror, with an amusingly hideous monster created by Paul Blaisdell. It shares some ideas with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a better film which was released the same year. Corman briefly used a similar type of flying creature in Not of This Earth the following year. Dick Miller and Jonathan Haze have small roles as soldiers. Graves and Sally Fraser are acceptable as Nelson and his wife; Van Cleef is fine as Anderson; and the ever-reliable Beverly Garland pretty much steals the show with her dynamic performance as Anderson's desperate and angry spouse. Nice score from Ronald Stein. This was remade -- badly -- as Zontar, The Thing from Venus.

Verdict: One of Corman's liveliest and most "fantastic" films. ***.


Neil A Russell said...

I don't know what mental problem I have, but I love these old sci fi flicks from the 50s.

I can watch the worst of them for hours on end and just immerse myself in the crazy plots.

Bringing these kinds of movies back to life is one of my goals as a filmmaker, probably a fool's errand, something like trying to make silent films!

I can even sit through the John Agar version of this from the 60s, yeah it's awful but what the heck.

William said...

I think there are a lot of people who feel just as you and I do when it comes to these old sci fi flicks and creature features. Even the "bad" ones can be quite entertaining. I'll be posting a review of "Zontar" with Agar shortly.

Again, thanks for your comments.

And good luck with your films!