In 1953, horror and sci-fi combined to unleash a series of new terrors, for the teenager market, this became Universal Studios’ first 3D move, that achieved both financial success and a cult following in later years. It served the other studios of this new realm to explore, but for Universal it was merely a precursor of how impressive the 1950s would become for their profit margin. Producer William Alland, who started his cinema career as an editor, then actor before advancing himself in other directions, likely known for his outstanding movie Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and the popular titles This Island Earth (1955) and Tarantula (1955); however the latter half the 50s weren’t as kind in the creature feature department. Jack Arnold (Revenge of the Creature ) directed the film, with Harry Essex’s screenplay, which was actually lifted verbatim from a story by author Ray Bradbury. An interesting side note that Steven Spielberg credited It Came from Outer Space and its plot of alien visitors seemingly uninterested human beings, as the main inspiration for his film was Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
For those who love cinema and recall the historical aspects of it, might understand of the naïve world that was in the 1950s especially in the theaters, so much scared the average person, especially teenagers and the youth, chemicals and bomb testing creating large monsters, The Deadly Mantis (1957), and sanitized lives, and there no questioning the government or news. Ghosts and goblins spooked so many, deadly visitors, 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) and The Blob (1958). A world plagued by mad doctors in The Curse of Frankenstein and The Fly (1958), all in all it scared the heebie-jeebies out of the innocents and laughter from the rest. Once again, seeing how this era was overlooked so time to revisit as a journalist and reviewer, than merely a viewer seeking entertainment.
A meteor streaks across the sky, then comes straight for the audience, the first of 3D effects deployed on the them, however this rock unlike others was more of a sphere, as it crashes, and a huge explosion occurs, then the title comes on the screen It Came from Outer Space. However, strangely time in an old manner repeats itself, as the same meteor is shown again during the night over the town of Sand Rock, Arizona, where resident John Putnam (Richard Carlson (The Amazing Mr. X )) who is a writer and amateur astronomer. Ah, the life of a set designer for that era those professions, gave Putman a mandatory pipe and telescope, the second one makes sense the first – eh. His girlfriend , Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush (Moon of the Wolf )), and him stargaze when the meteor flashes by in the sky and crashes nearby. They arrive at the crash site and Putman climbs into the crater and notice the ship has a strange door, and even a strange looking creature, a cave-in starts and John flees, before it’s all covered over. He relates the story to townsfolk and Sheriff Matt Warren (Charles Drake) who all doubt him, honestly – wouldn’t you. In the days following the crash some of the townspeople start acting strange, trance-like, emotionless, just think this 3-years before Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), among them Frank Daylon and George, portrayed respectively by Joe Sawyer and Russell Johnson (known his for role of The Professor on Gillian’s Island). These visitors want what Putman has and a peaceful solution, hence they assumed the bodies (the minds) of humans to gather tools and supplies, as to fix their ship, that they crashed by accident. This leads to a series of interesting turns, and we get to see the slimy jelly aliens. One of the best lines comes in the final act, when Ellen asked if they gone for good, Putman replies “just for now… They’ll be back.” Wow over three decades before Schwarzenegger uttered the statement “I’ll be back.”
Some are likely to harshly judge the 1950s special effects, but remember there were no computers or CGI as nothing like it existed, it had a crudeness, and clunky creations, yet it is still entertaining, all of the crew working very hard to achieve the intended goals of the filmmaker. One of the plusses for many directors, they often had contracts with the studios and that meant the crews knew each other and their standards and intentions, with one key aspect almost always uncredited. Some critics point to the invention of 3D technology as a way to pull people back the theaters because of the rising interest with television, only 9% of families had a TV set but by 1960 the number rose to 90%, the writing was on the wall. However, I disagree with this sole reasoning as it’s just not that convincing, the wages back then were dreadful as the average family made just $5,000 a year, a tv cost $129 at minimum hence cheaper to attend movies at the average cost of .40 -cents per person, and often the theaters showed a double feature (2-movies).
This film had a very different outcome overall, it has nothing shocking, no one dies, nevertheless it still holds a cult following and delivers an ominous line that works on a few levels, first the aliens crashed by mistake, yet they were far ahead of that of humans, which makes one think that theory of advancement would always excel forward. Hence it’s the factor that is often always up for discussion with other fans of the genre after seeing many sci-fi movies. In addition, this movie generated a sequel 4-years later, in a 1996 release came from director Roger Duchowny called simply It Came from Outer Space II (TV Movie). Therefore, if you have an interest in sci-fi movies, and enjoy watching early filmmaking then make some time to view the flick.
- Terror In 3-D… Reaching From The Screen To Seize You In Its Grasp!…
- Thrills That Almost Touch You! through the magic of 3-DIMENSION
- Amazing sights the human eye has never before seen!
- Fantastic sights leap at you!
- NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED BEFORE! (original print ad – all caps)
- THE OUTER SPACE ROCKET SHIP! THE THUNDERING AVALANCHE! (original ad – all caps)
- XENOMORPHS INVADE OUR WORLD! They can look like humans or change to objects of awesome terror!
- From Ray Bradbury’s great science fiction story!
- Nothing Like This Has Happened to You Before!
- What is the awesome secret of the thing from the eye of the Universe?
- Exploding from the eye of the universe. It came to rule the world in a kingdom of fear! How can you escape!…from a sight you cannot see!…From a force you cannot feel!…From a fear you cannot face!
- Amazing Sights Leap at You in 3-DIMENSION
- Amazing! Exciting! Spectacular!
- A helicopter’s churning blades whirl inches from your head!
- In scientifically perfected, eye-resting, full sepia Monocolor!
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10