In this schlocky sci-fi B-movie, a race of super-intelligent (supposedly) aliens contact the United Nations and tell them that the Earth has been placed in quarantine; the reason all of the big space missions have been failing is because the aliens have placed a force-field around the planet to prevent humanity escaping it. Of course, that means the planned mission must continue and this time, for the good of humanity, it must succeed! The cast here is peppered with Corman stock. Dick Miller is stalwart and heroic as one of the shuttle astronauts. Richard Devon is hammy and wonderful as the evil alien who has infilitrated the crew of the shuttle mission; his performance really anchors the movie and it’s a blast. Out of the supporting cast, Jered Barclay is the most fun as a paranoid technician that’s pretty sure there’s an alien among them. This film is short and snappy at under seventy minutes long and it really moves. Not fast enough to keep you from realizing how stupid a lot of it is, but that’s one of the pleasures of movies like this. At one point, Miller’s character has started to suspect that Devon is actually an alien; he asks the crew doctor to examine Devon, hopefully to find something to prove that he’s not human. The alien is able to trick the doctor into believing he is human . . . at which point, he MURDERS THE DOCTOR before he can tell anyone his diagnosis. I mean, if you were going to kill the doctor no matter what, why would you bother tricking him first? If you were going to trick him, shouldn’t you let him tell the others that you’re a human? If you can’t trick him, you kill him; if you can trick him, you don’t kill him. You literally did the WORST possible thing, which is waste time tricking him and then kill him before he could allay suspicion, thus bringing even more suspicion on yourself. Okay, so humanity isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but if these are the super-intelligent aliens we’re up against, I think we’ve got a real shot, guys. Anyway, this movie is packed with silly things like that and it’s a lot of fun to laugh about them. This is a good-natured, fast-paced genre flick and it’s a great example of Corman’s early films at their most charmingly fun. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – short, high-energy and featuring some great hammy performances, this sci-fi flick is a lot of fun, both intentionally and unintentionally; cheapo genre filmmaking at its most charming. 3 ½ stars.