‘It! …Reaches through space! …Scoops up men and women! … gorges on blood!’
It! The Terror from Beyond Space is a 1958 American science fiction horror film directed by Edward L. Cahn (Zombies of Mora Tau; Curse of the Faceless Man; Invisible Invaders) from a screenplay written by Jerome Bixby (The Twilight Zone ‘It’s a Good Life’; Tales of Frankenstein; Fantastic Voyage). Produced by Robert E. Kent and [uncredited] Edward Small, the Vogue Pictures film was released by United Artists.
The movie stars Marshall Thompson (Cult of the Cobra; First Man into Space), Shawn Smith (The Land Unknown), Kim Spalding, Ann Doran, Dabbs Greer (Evil Town; Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat), Paul Langton (The Cosmic Man) and Robert Bice. It! was played by Ray ‘Crash’ Corrigan, previously a specialist at being on screen gorillas.
On May 19, 2015, the film was released in the US on Blu-ray by Olive Films.
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In 1973, a spaceship has landed on Mars, sent to rescue the crew of a previous, ill-fated mission to the Red Planet; they have found only one survivor, Colonel Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson). He is suspected of having murdered the other nine members of his crew for their food and water rations, because he would have no way of knowing if or when he would ever be rescued. Carruthers denies this allegation and pleads his innocence, blaming the deaths of his colleagues on an unknown, hostile life-form encountered on Mars.
The rescue ship’s commander remains unconvinced, ordering Carruthers confined to his quarters and an immediate return to Earth, a journey that will take four months. Unknown to the rest of the crew, and before their blast-off from Mars, a crew member has left a large external exhaust vent wide open for a prolonged period of time.
With Mars now behind them, the crew settles into their shipboard routine for the long journey back home. Before long things start to go wrong. One by one, isolated crew members are attacked by a largely unseen, shadowy presence and dragged away into the ship’s ventilation ducts…
On April 25, 2016, the film was released in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD by 101 Films.
Cast and characters:
- Marshall Thompson … Colonel Edward Carruthers
- Shirley Patterson … Ann Anderson (as Shawn Smith)
- Kim Spalding … Col. Van Heusen
- Ann Doran … Mary Royce
- Dabbs Greer … Eric Royce
- Paul Langton … Lieutenant James Calder
- Robert Bice … Major John Purdue
- Richard Benedict … Bob Finelli
- Richard Hervey … Gino Finelli
- Thom Carney … Joe Kienholz
- Ray ‘Crash’ Corrigan … It
- Alex Ball … Reporter (uncredited)
- Stuart Hall … Reporter (uncredited)
- Mike Morelli … Reporter (uncredited)
- Monty O’Grady … Reporter (uncredited)
- Bert Stevens … Reporter (uncredited)
- Pierre Watkin … Spokesman at Press Conference (uncredited)
In 1993 It! was adapted by Millennium Publications as a comics series by Mark Ellis and Dean Zachary; a further comic book adaptation was released by IDW in 2010.
The premise of a hostile alien creature hunting a spaceship’s crew as it returns to Earth was apparently the inspiration for screenwriter Dan O’Bannon’s screenplay for Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien.
The film is referred by director John Landis in his cameo role as an astronaut in Vampirella (1996).
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“All in all, It! The Terror from Beyond Space is good fun in an era when we have multiple missions to Mars that have yet to turn up any evidence of aliens – moisture consuming or otherwise. Though it does beg the question, isn’t Mars in space, rather than beyond it?” Geek Legacy
“Cahn’s eerie use of shadow and light builds the menace surrounding the monster, aided by the intense emoting of stalwart character actors like Marshall Thompson and Dabbs Greer. Whereas some Fifties science fiction movies look at space as the place where mankind is left alone with their own troubled psyche, neuroses and fears, this remains sci-fi to jangle your nerves rather than stimulate your brain cells.” The Spinning Image