Invasion of the Star Creatures

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Invasion of the Star Creatures
Directed by Bruno VeSota
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
Berj Hagopian
Written by Jonathan Haze
Starring Bob Ball
Frankie Ray
Gloria Victor
Dolores Reed
Cinematography Basil Bradbury
Edited by Lew Guinn
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates May 3, 1962 (USA)
Running time 70 minutes(theatrical); 80 minutes (TV version)
Country United States of America
Language English

Invasion of the Star Creatures is a 1962, science fiction/comedy film directed by Bruno VeSota and starring Bob Ball and Frankie Ray. It was released theatrically by American International Pictures. It was released as a double feature with The Brain That Wouldn't Die. The theatrical version (on DVD) runs 70 minutes. The television version added a 10 minute sequence, bringing the running time to 80 minutes.

Plot[edit]

The film opens with a parody credit of “R.I. Diculous Presents.” Private Philbrick and Private Penn are stuck in monotonous assignments at Fort Nicholson, a U.S. Army base near the Nicholson Mesa. The privates are assigned to a scouting mission that requires the inspection of a newly discovered cavern that was located near the base. Philbrick and Penn are part of an expeditionary squadron, but become separated from their fellow soldiers. The privates are attacked by seven-feet-tall vegetable-like creatures that take them into the cavern, which is actually an alien base commanded by two statuesque women from the planet Kalar. The alien women, Dr. Puna and Professor Tanga, reveal that they arrived on Earth with the goal of conquering the planet. Philbrick and Penn find that their fellow soldiers have been placed in suspended animation by the aliens. Philbrick eventually discovers that kissing Puna leaves her temporarily powerless, allowing him and Penn to escape from the cavern and its inhabitants. After an encounter with a hostile American Indian band, the two soldiers race back to their base to rally a defense of the Earth against the Kalar aliens. They succeed in saving the Earth by prematurely launching the alien spaceship, but are captured by the aliens. However, Puna convinces Tanga not to kill them as they have no way of returning home now and they need to rely on the two soldiers. Tanga accepts this, kisses Penn and the sparks fly. At the end of the film, the soldiers receive medals for their actions and they drive away with the aliens, now their wives.[1]

Production[edit]

Invasion of the Star Creatures was written by Jonathan Haze, an actor best known for his starring role in the 1960 Roger Corman feature The Little Shop of Horrors. Haze’s screenplay originally had the title Monsters From Nicholson Mesa, which was intended as a jokey reference to James H. Nicholson, the co-founder of American International Pictures. Haze was originally planned to be a star of the film, but he did not appear in the production.[2][3]

Director Bruno VeSota was best known for B-level features including Female Jungle (1955) and The Brain Eaters (1958).[4]

The cavern and desert scenes for Invasion of the Star Creatures were shot in Bronson Canyon, a section of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, that has been widely used for film and television productions.[5]

Release[edit]

Invasion of the Star Creatures has never been well reviewed by critics. When it first opened, the film trade magazine Box Office opined: “What a lot of baloney! Such a waste of time, film and effort. The title was good, but was it a spooky film? Nope! A comedy!! Closed the first night.”[6] Film historian Bill Warren, in his 1997 book Keep Watching the Skies!, called the film "astonishingly bad...so helplessly bad that it's almost unwatchable."[1]

In 1979, the film was cited by Harry and Michael Medved in their book The Golden Turkey Awards, a tribute to bad films. Invasion of the Star Creatures was nominated in the category for “The Worst Vegetable Movie of All Time,” with the authors noting the monsters controlled by the Chalar aliens were played by actors wearing carrot costumes.[6] The Medveds also faulted an egregious comic line by Bob Ball – when given a backflip by one of the carrot monsters, Ball remarked: “Wow, that’s the first time a salad ever tossed me!”[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b “An Impossible Picture: Truth and Lies about the Invasion of the Star Creatures” by Martin Kottmeyer, Talking Pictures
  2. ^ “Invasion of the Star Creatures,” Turner Classic Movies
  3. ^ Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p161
  4. ^ “Biography for Bruno VeSota,” Turner Classic Movies
  5. ^ Rothel, David (1991). Ambush of Ghosts: A Guide to Great Western Film Locations. Madison, Wisconsin: Empire Publishing. pp. 39, 150–5. ISBN 978-0-944-01910-8. 
  6. ^ a b c Medved, Harry; Medved, Michael (1980). The Golden Turkey Awards. New York: Perigree Books. pp. 134–135. ISBN 978-0-399-50463-1. 

External links[edit]