Saturday, October 13, 2012


In the far-future year of 1990, when we have established a base on the Moon, scientists at the Space Technology Institute have begun receiving signals indicating that an alien life form is sending emissaries to Earth. But when the aliens crash-land on Mars, Basil Rathbone, head of the institute, sends up a rescue crew, including Judi Meredith and Dennis Hopper; all they find is a crashed ship and a dead alien astronaut. It turns out that a surviving alien took a small craft to the moon Phobos, so John Saxon, Meredith's boyfriend, and Don Eitner take their own small rescue craft from the Moon base and find an unconscious female alien with green skin and tall, pointy silverish hair. Only two will fit in the craft, so Eitner is left behind to be picked up by a later craft (sadly, as Eitner was likeable, this plotpoint is dropped completely), and Saxon takes the alien to the Mars ship so they all can go back to Earth. Unfortunately, they soon discover that the mute alien is a vampiric creature, killing off the crew one by one to get nourishment. They try feeding her with stored plasma, but that only lasts so long. And what's up with those pulsating eggs that Saxon and Meredith find on the ship?

This B-sci-fi flick from American International, with its alien beast feeding off a spaceship crew, seems like the missing link between IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE in 1958 and ALIEN in 1979. The film was shot in under a week with a very low budget, but the director, Curtis Harrington, was able to use footage from a Russian sci-fi film to stand in for outer space and planet backgrounds, and that colorful footage is essential to making this movie interesting. As for the acting, the less said, the better. Saxon is stoic and hunky, and Florence Marly makes the alien pretty creepy, especially when her eyes glow. Dennis Hopper seems distracted, like he didn't enjoy taking direction; Meredith is dull; Rathbone basically appears on screen, delivers his lines, glowers a bit as if to say, "Damnit, I used to be Sherlock Holmes!") then exits—though to be fair, I should point out that he died the year after making this. Harrington generally does a good job matching the Russian footage to his own; a nice drinking game might be to have a sip every time you notice a shift from Russia to American International. [DVD]

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