It! The Terror from Beyond Space
|It! The Terror from Beyond Space|
|Directed by||Edward L. Cahn|
|Produced by||Robert Kent
Edward Small (uncredited)
|Written by||Jerome Bixby|
Shawn Smith (Shirley Patterson)
|Music by||Paul Sawtell|
|Editing by||Grant Whytock|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||68 min|
The film opens with a nuclear-powered spaceship perched on the cratered surface of an alien world. A voice-over tells us the year is 1973, that the world is the planet Mars, and the perched spaceship has been sent to rescue the crew of a previous, ill-fated mission to the Red Planet; they have found only one survivor, Col. 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. He offers up the first incident: Caught on the surface during a blinding Martian sandstorm, one of his crew mates was quickly plucked from their moving transport vehicle by something unseen, "It" running fast enough to keep pace.
The rescue ship's commander remains unconvinced, ordering Carruthers confined to quarters and an immediate return to Earth. 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 trip home, a four-month journey. Before long things begin to go wrong: One by one, isolated crew members are attacked by a largely unseen, shadowy presence and dragged away, still alive, into the ship's ventilation ducts.
As the return trip progresses, the crew are at first skeptical that something has come aboard while they were on Mars. But the body count begins to rise when they discover the shriveled corpse of a colleague and then another near death; both have been sucked almost dry of all moisture, including bone marrow. Mars is a world with almost no water, so the crew reason their stowaway must be the same creature that hunted and eventually killed Carruthers' shipmates. They arm themselves with various weapons aboard, including conventional .45 caliber sidearms.
The humanoid alien proves largely immune to their weaponry. They finally lure "It" into the spaceship's nuclear reactor room, quickly shutting and locking its heavily shielded door behind the creature, which is then exposed directly to the ship's nuclear pile. Heavily agitated, the creature crashes through the heavy door and escapes, the intense radiation seemingly having no more effect than an old-fashioned hot foot.
As the number of crew dwindles, the survivors retreat upward, deck-by-deck, in their spaceship as "It" pursues them. The alien is strong enough to eventually break through each of deck's central floor pressure hatches. Eventually, they are trapped on the top-most deck, the spaceship's central control room. In the final standoff weapons are unleashed in the confined space, both pistols and hand grenades, but the creature is unstoppable and begins breaking through the last deck hatch. Having noticed that the ship's oxygen consumption level is much higher than normal, likely due to the creature's larger lung capacity, Carruthers deduces that opening the command deck's large airlock to the vacuum of space, while the survivors are safely in their spacesuits, should suffocate "It." After an explosive decompression, they see the plan is working; the creature writhes around, growling and panting heavily for air. "It" finally expires, stuck halfway through the last shattered hatch.
Back on Earth a press conference is quickly held at the crew's base that reveals the details of what has happened aboard the rescue ship after it left Mars. More importantly, the project director announces that Earth may now be forced to leave the Red Planet out of all future manned planetary space exploration, "because another word for Mars is death."
- Marshall Thompson as Col. Edward Carruthers
- Shirley Patterson as Ann Anderson (as Shawn Smith)
- Kim Spalding as Van Heusen
- Ann Doran as Mary Royce
- Dabbs Greer as Eric Royce
- Paul Langton as Calder
- Robert Bice as Purdue
- Richard Benedict as Bob Finelli
- Richard Hervey as Gino
- Thom Carney as Kienholz
- Ray Corrigan as It
- Maçek III, J.C. (2012-11-21). "Building the Perfect Star Beast: The Antecedents of 'Alien'". PopMatters.
- Kristin' Seen as Challenge: Kaufman Phones Terry Moore; 'Diamonds' Polished for Laage Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Nov 1957: C11.
- Strick, Philip. Science Fiction Movies. Octopus Books Limited. 1976. ISBN 0-7064-0470-X.
- Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. 2009. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
- It! The Terror from Beyond Space at the Internet Movie Database
- It! The Terror from Beyond Space at allmovie
- It! The Terror from Beyond Space at the TCM Movie Database