Tuesday, 11 January 2011

It 'B' Movie Sci-fi Classic ...

It! The Terror Beyond Space

Martian monster mayhem aboard the confines of a space ship in fifties sci-fi cult classic, It! The Terror Beyond Space.

Colonel Carruthers (Marshall Thompson) was commander of the first pioneering space trip to planet Mars, and he is the only living member of that crew. All of his team are dead, believed murdered by their superior officer !.

A second space ship is sent to Mars in order to retrieve Colonel Carruthers, and bring him back to Earth on sentence of the death penalty for crimes against his fellow man. Carruthers is adamant that he did not kill anyone, and that an unseen alien presence was responsible.

As the crew of the second interplanetary craft undergo final preparations to blast off from the surface of Mars an unwelcome stowaway comes aboard undetected. Hold up in the cargo bay of the multi level space craft it lays in wait for its prey as the ship heads for destination Earth. It is not until they are well underway that the crew become aware that it is not Colonel Carruthers who is the inhuman monster, but what resides in the lower level of their ship hungering for human sustenance !.

With belief in Colonel Carruthers installed the crew follow his lead in defending themselves against a hideous alien man beast. Its height and build too colossal to challenge in normal combat, and its three digit claws lethal in their swipe. The creature has intelligence and uses not only brute strength but guile, as it assesses its environment and adapts accordingly, taking full advantage of conduit shafts and dark lit recesses.

Members of the crew are picked off and the remainder have to batten down the hatches in retreat to the upper levels of the space ship. The creature recognises that it has all that it could want with a sustainable environment, and a livestock of human portions ripe for the taking whenever it so desires. The creature must kill in order to survive, and the human crew must kill in order to live !.

It's old school fifties schlock horror / sci-fi that may well have terrified patrons back in 1958, but sits harmlessly enough as a matinee monster movie for a modern audience. Interestingly enough although made in 1958 the film is set in the future tense of 1973. A prediction of its generation perhaps of when actual space travel to other planets might transpire ?. The plodding monster is endearingly clear for all to see just a silly old man in a big old rubber costume. Still scary enough for the very young mind you as the creature face close ups, and swiping claws still deliver some shocks.

Restored to a former original glory, care of a high definition enhancement for the MGM HD Channel, the film looks sharp and clear even in the darkened scenes. An irony of this wonderful clarity is that it lessens the scares of the movie which were heightened due to the very dark hues of the time aged Black and White production shoot.

The movie has a couple of familiar scenes that may well have been the inspiration for Ridley Scott's much later creature feature in space Alien (1979). The scurrying through conduits to flush out the creature, and without question how the surviving crew members finally confront their alien is all but identical in design and delivery. 

Marshall Thompson is well cast in the lead as the beleaguered Colonel Carruthers. Perhaps most famous for his starring role in televisions Daktari during the mid to late sixties, he has a charisma that is well suited to the heroic role. If he can tame a cross eyed lion named Clarence, then you can believe he will be the 'mane' man when squaring up to ... It! The Terror Beyond Space !.

It! The Terror Beyond Space Trailer

Movie IMDB Link

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