The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ant-Man and the Wasp
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All Critics (16)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (5)
| DVD (1)
As with Alien and Jaws, for example, the most frightening things about this creature are the things that we don't see.
It's a wonderful little horror thriller that will whet the appetites of fans that love claustrophobic genre pictures.
Unintentionally funny low-budget 'Fifties horror effort. ("Mars is almost as big as Texas," one character thoughtfully muses at a point. "Maybe it's got monsters.")
Combination science fiction film and thriller is an early look at space travel on film.
In tone, it's really the predecessor of James Cameron's gung-ho sequel Aliens.
One of the best sci-fi flicks of the '50s; the basis for 'Alien.'
An excellent claustrophobic alien tale that debatably inspired "Alien"
Proudly displays all of the limitations of its bargain-basement budget.
A towering classic of 1950s sci-fi horror cheese. It's more fun, more memorable and certainly more influential than the handful of big-budget sci-fi movies of the era.
Considering the budget constraints the film was operating under, this film nevertheless proves to be an entertaining one.
Love these old movie titles that are sooo long, 'The Terror that Emerged from Darkest Space and Glooped its way Across the West...in Technicolor!'. This movie does appear to be the inspiration for that classic Alien movie called...errmm...'Alien'.
Indeed the plot is very familiar, but for the time I think it was a nice change of pace. Its easy to assume that this plot would go down the usual route of an alien lifeform loose inside a ship killing everyone, or the same thing, but on another planets surface. Interestingly its all about a rescue crew that pick up one last survivor of a previous mission to Mars. All of the crew from that previous mission are dead accept one man, Col. Carruthers, he is suspected of murdering the crew so he could survive longer with the food rations. The Col claims an alien creature killed everyone but is unable to prove it, low and behold said creature finds its way on-board their ship just before it blasts off back to Earth. Let the killing begin!
What follows is a very lowkey and much more down to earth horror thriller than most of this genre (and era). There are no pretty boys here, its all unfit looking middle aged men with receding hairlines, clearly some are more blue collar than the others (with local accents and names like Gino), and a couple women...again not exactly centre-page types either. Its very much the working man in space, with a few, more intelligent types, for good measure. The ship is amusingly basic in design, much like something from a Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes cartoon actually, and doesn't really contain anything fancy, no big laser weapons or teleports etc...All the sets are very simple, obviously based on real technology of the time to a degree, and add to the plot by giving the crew real problems to solve (instead of just whipping out some hi-tech futuristic gizmo to save the day).
You can clearly see the similarities between this movie and that Ridley Scott flick. The way this movie has been shot, the camera angles, the shadow work, hiding the beast for as long as possible, the air ducts, the crew eating together, they smoke, using an airlock to kill the creature, utilising spacesuits, finding the beast impossible to kill etc...The more you watch, the more you see Dan O'Bannon kinda ripped this movie off. The main difference here being the crew are stocked to the gills with all sorts of weapons.
The weapons actually let this movie down really, first off why would futuristic space age man have revolvers, rocket launchers and grenades on their Mars bound spaceship? Secondly they actually set a trap within the ship using the hand grenades, lots of them! Now call me cautious, but wouldn't that be kinda dangerous to the ships interior? and a slightly wild and uncontrolled way to set a trap, in a confined space. Talk about collateral damage! Next I find it amusing how nothing kills this thing, nothing! Its bullet proof, gas proof, rocket launcher proof (yes they fire rocket launchers inside their control room), radiation proof, fire proof etc...Eventually they kill it with suffocation, although I'm amazed it wasn't oxygen proof too.
The creature is simply a man in a rubber suit I'm afraid, a very obvious crinkled rubber suit. Now on the plus side the creature mask is quite convincing, quite scary for the time I'll bet, its a nice design. The frame of the beast is also good, the actor inside was obviously quite tall, he's padded out, the hands and feet are big, and the claws are a solid touch, in silhouette the alien is pretty fearsome. A lot of the design work is down to the oversized hands actually, along with the aliens slightly pointed shaped head, the three fingered/clawed hands look great in shadow/silhouette, hence the clear imagery on the movies poster. Unfortunately the bloke inside the suit didn't work too hard on his alien-esque movements, he runs and walks around like some set worker, its quite amusing actually, you half expect him to whip out a ciggie at any moment.
The acting is pretty good throughout, there are good moments tension with some eerie shots, and in general the effects are effective. Of course there will be some unintentionally funny moments to the modern day viewer, especially with the space walking outside the ship, effects. Its hilarious how a simple bulb pings on and off to alert the crew in an airlock when its safe to leave, especially when you can see the door is a regular door and you can see the slight crack around the door! Its also amusing how the rescue crew allow Carruthers (the suspected guilty crew member) to wonder around with complete freedom, he can even play chess with them and is allowed to search for other missing crew members. Why isn't this guy locked up?
Definitely a fun B-movie with some lovely hokey space effects for us fanboys. Even though the man in the rubber alien suit is pretty funny in the way he moves, it also spoils the movies tension really. Still, its another classic in every aspect with the alien design becoming a well know image in the sci-fi horror archives. For once the movies poster does do the film justice too, its actually an accurate portrayal of what happens in the movie.
In this classic 50's sci-fi drive in movie. Col. Edward Carruthers(Marshall Thompson)loses his crew to an alien monster than drains it's victims of their blood and water(even from the bone marrow and tissue)during an expedition on Mars. A second space vessel, one of rescue when the first ship crashes on Mars, picks up Carruthers who is not believed by anyone including his government back home that an alien monster killed his crew. That is until, they themselves are being killed one by one after the monster found a way into their ship on it's way off Mars to Earth. It seems almost indestructible after countless attempts by the crew to kill it with grenades and guns. Somehow the crew will have to find a way to destroy it as the monster holes them up on the bridge after getting through their first two department levels. What's even worse is that two of the crew, including leader of the rescue mission, Col Van Heusen(Kim Spalding), are attacked by the creature with a bacterial infection spreading into their bone marrow. Another crew member, Lt. James Calder(Paul Langton)is stuck in the lower engineering room with the monster after he and Carruthers attempt to electrocute it. Hiding between the Induction pumps which make the ship land properly and orbit safely, Calder keeps a blowtorch at it's eyes not allowing it to get him(..although, his leg is broken). That presents a problem in itself..if that creature were to attack the equipment in that engineering area, the space ship would not be able to land, but merely drift in space. And, to add to all this, a sick and jealous Van Heusen(he's in love with Ann, played by Shirley Patterson, who is bonding with Carruthers)unshields the reactor hoping radiation will kill the monster who is caught in the room with it after Carruthers closes the hatch to that specific room. Now, the crew, or who's left of them, will have to figure out a way to stop the creature with most of the ship full of radiation! A possible solution, regarding the monster's desperate need of oxygen due to it's huge lungs, may be the crew's only means of harming it.
Despite being dated and low-budget, this sci-fi thriller is a winner. The idea of a crew having to match wits with an almost unkillable alien beast adds a great deal to the film even if the monster is merely a man in a hideous rubber suit. I credit director Ed L Cahn and writer Jerome Bixby for creating a tense situation which is pretty much "The Thing from Another World" set in a space ship. Still, that whole "race against time" angle along with the idea of "having few places to run" just makes this little B-film a must for fans of 50's creature features. Cahn and Bixby create an intelligent flick that makes up for the budgetary constraints with taut situations where these characters have to come up with ways to combat their predator when options are limited. Highly recommended if your into these kinda movies. It's clear when you watch this flick how much Ridley Scott's "Alien" was inspired by it.
Classic old school sci-fi monster movie! Horrible effects, horrible dialogue and a horribly realized monster! GREAT STUFF!
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