STARRING: Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Ann Anderson, Kim Spalding, Ann Doran, Dabbs Greer

1958, 69 Minutes, Directed by: Edward L. Cahn

An alien monster manages to find its way onto a spaceship and then kills off the crew members one by one. It hides its victims in the spaceship’s air ducts and practically nothing the crew tries to kill it with has any effect on the creature . . .

Alien? Nope, instead it is this 1958 Black & White movie which has long been considered to be an “influence” on Ridley Scott’s seminal 1979 classic.

It is instructive today to watch both these movies – perhaps as a double bill – to see how much film-making technique as well as societal attitudes has changed in the 20 or so years between the two movies. Alien is simply light years removed from this unintentionally funny low-budget ‘Fifties effort. (“Mars is almost as big as Texas,” one character thoughtfully muses at a point. “Maybe it's got monsters.”)

It! was made in an era in which science fiction was relegated to B-movie status as Hollywood was unwillingly to lavish any big bucks on it (1956’s Forbidden Planet was a rare exception). Compare this to the millions lavished on Ridley Scott’s post-Star Wars horror movie. In the 1950s It! the two women spaceship crewmembers it seems are onboard to serve the men coffee and nurse them. In Scott’s post-feminist flick the hero is a woman. In both movies everyone smokes – not a clever thing to do on a spaceship . . .

Unintentionally funny with some bad acting and a hokey rubber suit monster, It! will most likely please DIY MST3K types who want something to poke fun at while chugging down beers or ‘Fifties science fiction aficionados. Dedicated Alien fans would probably also want to check it out for mere curiosity’s sake. Anyone else would probably want to stay clear of it. Luckily the whole affair clocks in at a brief 69 minutes running time, which is a blessing.

(For a rescue mission to a supposedly dead planet like Mars the crew in this movie is packing some serious heat! A bazooka! What exactly were they expecting?!)


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