Tuesday, March 04, 2014


In England, a group of scientists is studying the changes in matter when exposed to powerful magnetic fields. For example, a chunk of copper has its molecules realigned so it becomes flexible. An accident, however, injures one of the researchers and causes strange disturbances in the village, where people are already wary of the experiments. An army brigadier wants to shut things down but agrees to observe the scientists, including American Forrest Tucker and his French assistant Gaby Andre. During one experiment, everything in the lab becomes magnetized and a freak accident creates havoc. In the village, there is strange weather, and a tramp sleeping outside gets his face burned; soon, he's become a monster thanks to a hole being ripped in the "heavyside layer" of the ionosphere. Insects begin mutating (like the giant spider pictured above) and attacking people; in the best scene, a giant beetle eats a person's face off. A stranger named Smith (Martin Benson), who is an alien, helps the earthlings deal with their self-inflicted problem. Basically, this is a giant-bug movie with elements of DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (the benign alien) and the British Quatermass films. The effects are so-so, as is the acting (Tucker doesn't look happy) with the exception being Benson as the alien. One scene of a teacher trapped in her schoolroom builds up some tension, but otherwise this is a run-of-the-mill sci-fi melodrama.  Also released as THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X and COSMIC MONSTERS.  [TCM]

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