Wednesday, 11 May 2016

It Conquered the World (1956)

Lots of movies revolved around an alien or creature simply referred to as 'it' back in old days. This time instead of being awoken from a deep slumber in some deep Earth crevice somewhere, this time its an alien, from Venus, that looks like an upside down ice cream cone, and it wants to take over the Earth using mind control. Yeah I got nothing here.

But yes that is literally the plot here, an alien from Venus contacts a lonely human scientist on the phone or whatever, and convinces him to assist him in taking over the Earth. The end goal...complete human mind control, using something, for some reason that I don't know, but by God its dastardly! Oh no wait! the alien is claiming to want to bring peace to the human race by eliminating all our emotions through mind control, somehow. How this would help us? I have no clue, why the human scientist agrees to help? I have no clue, why does this even bother the alien? I dunno, guess it needs a hobby, just accept the situation.

The lone scientist in question just happens to be Lee Van Cleef so simply down to that, I can give the movie some slack and understand why the alien chose him. Anderson (Cleef) agrees to help the alien presumably because he thinks he's doing the right thing, bringing peace to Earth. Naturally the tall, good looking all American protagonist played by Peter Graves doesn't agree, and fights back with all his American might. Not really sure how this alien intends to control the entire planets population though. You see it uses these flying alien bat things to prey on victims, bite them or something, and then they are under the aliens control. But we discover the alien clearly has a money problem because he only has like seven or eight of these bat things, and they only bite one specified person, like a homing bat thing. So how the fuck is he gonna control millions of people without millions of bat things?? I don't believe the controlled humans do anything to non controlled humans (in a zombie-esque sense), so I have no clue how this plan would work. Of course landing in some small American town in the middle of nowhere probably doesn't help either, these aliens love small American towns in the middle of nowhere.

The alien itself is one of the most horrendously bad alien suits you will come across in 50's sci-fi, and that's saying something. I said before it looks like an upside down ice cream cone, well it does, its just an inverted triangle with big pointy teeth, two claw arms and two evil eyes. The things shuffles around in a hilarious manner that only goes to show the suit was not actually designed for moving. All this creature can do is move its claw arms up and down...slowly, its mouth doesn't open, its fixed in one evil grin, its eyes don't move and it can only move forwards and backwards unconvincingly. Yes I know these old movies didn't exactly have big budgets and yes I know the terrible effects are half the fun with these flicks, but seriously...this is just awful! What makes it even more hilariously stupid is the young Lee Van Cleef looking and acting deadly seriously with his pointed cheek bones and slit-like eyes, whilst this big foam triangle with teeth wobbles around trying to stand upright. It kinda makes you wonder what the effects team behind this were thinking really. How could an alien species like this possibly progress to the technological level they are at, with such a useless physical makeup. Sure they might be clever but if you don't have the body to build stuff then you're screwed. Presumably the spaceship it travels in fits large triangular creatures.

The main problem here besides the terrible looking alien is the basic plot setup, its just pants. For a start as I already pointed out, the alien controls humans by sending out these bat things to bite them, like a flippin' vampire. But the alien only has eight of these things so what the fuck! Van Cleef's character is seemingly perfectly fine with betraying the entire human race and allowing everyone to become emotionless zombies, but would this eventually include him? Surely it must because why would he want to live in a world with no emotions? Also I'm not too sure why Van Cleef's character is so embittered against his fellow man, at least to such a high degree, I mean Jesus Christ he's only a local scientist, it can't be that bad! At the same time his wife is totally against this plan, and the alien, yet she isn't on the list for brain controlling. The alien allows her to mill around causing issues with her constant moaning and defiant behaviour, eventually this leading to her trying to kill the alien, but why would the creature allow this to carry on? But essentially the entire thing just boils down to my original point, how the fuck can this stupid alien take over the Earth with just eight mind controlling bat things??? Even if it had a million that still wouldn't cover it.

It feels odd being genuinely negative about this movie because its a cheap, tacky 50's science fiction flick...because that's exactly what you would expect, that's half the fun of these things. Nevertheless I can't just bump this up because its a trashy black and white sci-fi and I'm a fanboy of trashy black and white sci-fi flicks. Yes it stars Lee Van Cleef which is awesome, yes it does have yet another cameo/bit role for the legendary Dick Miller (hurrah!), and yes the whole premise is deliciously hokey and outrageously daft, but at the same time its also crap. Yes that's right crap, crap of the highest order I'm afraid, I couldn't get into it because it was simply too stupid with its plot, and the alien was just beyond dire. Had the movie at least had some interesting locations or action or effects etc...then maybe, but its all very drab and boring with the alien hiding in a cave. Oh and its of course impervious to bullets...but not a blowtorch it seems, go figure.