Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

It Came From Outer Space


It’s a little surprising, considering his reputation as the SF poet in his later years, how many really pulpish SF films Ray Bradbury was involved in as a younger man. Someone else is listed as the screenwriter here, but it’s said that pretty much all the dialogue is Ray’s. And it’s not bad dialogue, but what are you expecting out of a movie like this? It’s one of the smarter ones from this era, and almost unique in that the aliens who crash-land on Earth (in a giant geodesic sphere: A Buckyball!) don’t intend to eat us, enslave us, or destroy our planet. They were on their way somewhere else when the primary hammenframmis burnt out. They are giant eyeballs that have the ability to assume the shape of anyone, if not the manner. All they want to do is plunder our hardware stores for some fuses and electrical tape, and they’ll be on their way. But of course the local xenophobes, led by a gun-happy sheriff, want to kill them all. Richard Carlson—king of the ‘50s monster movies—is ridiculed as “that crazy stargazer” because he owns a telescope. And as always in movies of this time, the start of the Theremin music reliably signals the next appearance of the giant eyeballs. This was filmed in 3D, so there’s the usual assault of stuff that would have stuck out of the screen. I doubt it would have improved anything much. Short on thrills, and even short on pleasurable schlock.