The idea here is that this is a movie made in 1957 and lost for over 50 years. And that’s exactly what it looks like. Every detail is right, from the lovely, saturated Technicolor, to the deliberately bad back projection shots when people are driving around in cars. (It’s supposed to be happening in the Mojave Desert—where all the more discerning monsters from outer space landed in the 1950s—but it was shot entirely on sets in British Columbia.) Everything in it is spot on. The “outdoor” sets are just phony enough without being ridiculous. All the clothes, hair, cars, and props are exactly right. The story is an amalgam of all the bad monster pictures you are trying to forget, but can’t. There’s the teenagers who nobody believes, the pipe-smoking scientist, the stupid cops. They have everything exactly right, and I kept asking myself … why? (I sampled a few reviews, and they pretty much all felt exactly as I did.) A labor of love, but not very entertaining. The sad fact is, we don’t really need another monster movie from 1957, unless you can put some sort of edge on it. What point do you make by playing it almost totally straight, as if it really had come out of a time capsule?
The obvious approach here would have been to make a spoof, but that’s been done, too. (If you want a pretty good example of that, see The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.) So I don’t really know where they should have gone with all this effort, except to know that what they did do, didn’t really make it. The best moment was in a movie theater where they were screening The Blob, which, of course, is best-known for its brilliant scene where the blob oozes out of the projection booth and sends the teenagers screaming into the street. That scene is repeated here. There should have been more of this stuff.