Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Ann Anderson, Kim Spalding, Ann Doran,
1958, 69 Minutes, Directed by: Edward L. Cahn
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
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 . . .
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?!)