IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
(directed by Jack Arnold, 1953)
**** (out of 5)
> This campy sci-fi is definitely in that class of B-films that have something so iconic to their times, that they transcend this obvious limitation and achieve a popular consensus as classics.
. It’s limited alright: low-budget black-and-white, with half-assed special effects that achieve a kind of quaint charm by the passing distance of time. The “IT” in question is a spaceship that crashes to earth in the first reel. The only man who sees it and its slimy, gelatinous occupants, (familiar character actor Richard Carlson), is a laughingstock when he goes public, but he knows what he saw, and is the first to realize that the alien visitors are unseen because they have the ability to replicate human beings- meaning everyone in town is now under suspicion. His pretty wife screams a lot, and eventually has something to scream about, when she too gets “appropriated”.
. There are many cool alien POV shots where we see things through the “monster’s” rippling eyesight. Cue the quavering theremin! When it becomes apparent the aliens are real, an overwrought sheriff gets overwound with paranoia and forms a posse to find and kill them. But the otherworldly visitors do not seem to be what they appear. They claim to mean no harm and insist they’re moral beings, desiring to do right…
. Wait a minute. Is this a… it is! It’s a Ray Bradbury story- very similar to one of the best Twilight Zone episodes, where the real savage in the meeting of galactic cultures is not the alien, but the human. Cool.
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