Marshall Thompson is the sole survivor of the first manned mission to Mars, and tells the crew who have rescued him, that his nine fellow crew members were killed by an alien. Kim Spalding, heading the rescue team, disbelieves Thompson, thinking that he himself killed everyone and wants him court-martialled. Not surprisingly, it turns out that Thompson was telling the truth, and the killer alien has snuck on board, ready to bump everyone off one-by-one, as was before.
1958 Edward L. Cahn (“The Creature with the Atom Brain”, “Girls in Prison” and countless other hacky projects) sci-fi movie was the inspiration for John Carpenter’s spoofy “Dark Star”, and more precisely, Ridley Scott’s popular “Alien”. I’m not much of a fan of “Alien” (“Dark Star” is an entirely different matter altogether), but I have to say, even that film is an improvement over this boring, poorly scripted affair.
The low-budget FX and sets are often criticised, but for me, they’re par for the course. It’s the script that is a complete and utter failure. In fact, hokey as the monster is, it’s a bit of fun, and its ‘Grrrr!’ sound FX are hilarious. The sound designer ought to have been shot for that. My only real problem with the creature design is that it looks remarkably similar to “The Creature From the Black Lagoon”. Tell me I’m wrong!
The characters are dull, the story is simplistic (for the most part, the monster just lurches around incompetently, not hurting anyone!), and the performances competent but charmless and unmemorable. I could barely tell any of the characters apart, let alone care about them. At least “Alien” had Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley (though at least “It!” only runs for about 70 minutes, as opposed to just under 120 minutes with “Alien”).
The dialogue has a cornball, Eddie Haskell, 50s sitcom vibe to it. Some of the filmmaking aspects of the film are interesting, though, such as the direction and cinematography. The B&W cinematography by Kenneth Peach (“Battle at Bloody Beach”, Disney’s “The Incredible Journey”) uses much shadow to obscure an obviously low-tech alien design. In fact, Peach’s work sells this film far more than it deserves.
It’s flat, juvenile and dated. I know it’s a big deal for many people, but I just wasn’t impressed, I’m afraid. Maybe if you grew up on this it helps, but for me it’s kinda blah.