You think you’re going to make a slave of the world. I’ll see you in hell first.
This Corman cheapo features Lee Van Cleef as a brilliant physicist (!!) who makes contact with an alien life form from Venus. Believing Earth would be better off if ruled by logic without emotion, he guides the alien to Earth only to discover that things don’t turn out the way he’d hoped. Peter Graves is the stalwart hero fighting the alien and Beverly Garland is Van Cleef’s long-suffering wife. The plot is a blender of The Day the Earth Stood Still & The Puppet Masters, but it’s way better than it has any right to be, by which I mean better in a good way. Van Cleef, Graves & Garland are all capable of hitting their marks, saying their lines and actually giving their characters some humanity, unlike a lot of people in these movies. When we finally see the monster, it is, of course, a laugh riot, but the film manages to land some surprising dramatic moments as well. This is kind of exactly the balance I like in my cheesy B-movies: you’ll be laughing out loud at some really terrible scene and then the next scene will start and you’ll be like, “Wow, that was actually pretty cool.” Graves has a really dramatic scene when he confronts his wife after she’s been turned into an unthinking slave of the alien and the scene takes a surprising turn. Likewise, Beverly Garland gets a fantastic scene where, after being relegated to the wife role for the bulk of the movie, finally takes some agency on her own and it’s a legit fist-pump badass moment. And then there’s a death scene that is surprisingly disturbing. Still, it is a silly movie in all the most entertaining ways and it’s one of the all-around best of these B-movies I’ve seen. If it were a little more stupid, it would just be bad and uninteresting. If it were a little less, it would be a serious micro-budget thriller. As it is, it’s exactly right. 4 stars.
tl;dr – often laugh-out-loud silly, cheapo sci-fi movie also has some surprisingly well-done dramatic moments; entertaining from start to finish. 4 stars.