‘Every second your pulse pounds they grow foot by incredible foot!’
The Strange World of Planet X is a 1957 British science fiction horror film and a typically 1950s cautionary tale about the possible dangers of science. Also released as Cosmic Monsters, The Crawling Terror, The Cosmic Monster, and The Crawling Horror.
The movie was directed by Gilbert Gunn (writer of The Door with Seven Locks, 1940) and stars Forrest Tucker, Gaby André, Martin Benson, Alec Mango, Wyndham Goldie, Hugh Latimer, Dandy Nichols and Geoffrey Chater.
The film was adapted by Paul Ryder from the 1957 Rene Ray novel of the same name; an ATV serial adapted by Ray aired in Britain in 1956.
At a small, rural British laboratory, monomaniac Doctor Laird (Alec Mongo), has invented ultra-sensitive magnetic fields, which attract objects from space. Inexplicably, the apparatus seems to be affecting distant objects and to be drawing “extra power” from… somewhere.
One night, after a “freak” storm, strange and deadly things start happening in Bryerly Woods, insects, centipedes and spiders to mutate into giant monsters, and a strange man from “a long way off” appears in the district. The stranger is concerned about Laird’s pulling down disaster from the skies. An alien spaceship appears over London and mankind is warned against the dangers of this scientific experiment…
“Cosmic Monster does manage to hang with The Crawling Eye in one regard: copious amounts of alcohol consumption. Much time is spent at the pub hoisting pint after pint while everyone sits and talks (and talks, and talks); too bad no party ever develops (despite the band advertised on the local pub’s sidewalk sign) because Gunn’s drudging pace could stand some punching up.” The Horn Section
“Sloppily conceived, The Strange World of Planet X lurches along for most of its 72 minutes killing time with Quatermass-inspired intrigue until the lively if ineptly done climax, with Big Bugs making their appearance in the form of macro-photography of real insects, elementary mattes shots, a few oversized props, and terrible miniatures…” DVD Talk
“From one angle, it’s a well thought out science fiction story, talky but engaging and defined. From another, it’s a monster movie without a single capable effect at any point. Unfortunately, the latter can’t arrive without mangling the former, so scenes of civilised science and solid logic abruptly collapse into ludicrous ramblings at the blink of an eye.” Apocalypse Later
“A fascinating sci-fi movie that has many references that can be viewed in an entirely different context by contemporary audience: MOD sponsored black projects; manipulation of the environment; Adamski–inspired space brothers, and a schoolgirl having clandestine meetings with men in the woods! … Overall this is fine sci-fi hokum, which stands up to repeated viewings.” Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems by Julian Upton (editor), Headpress, UK, 2011
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