Killers from Space
This week"s classic from The Locker is a 1954 movie about killers from space called "Killers from Space!" Starring a very young and quite debonair Peter Graves, he plays a scientist, Dr. Doug Martin, who is monitoring nuclear experiments for the government and is killed in a jet crash after an atomic detonation. He is revived and hypnotized by aliens, the Astron-Deltans, and sent to bring secrets and information about future tests to them so that they may utilize the power and take over the world. This plan seems to be on track until the good doctor is "mesmerized" by his treating physician into revealing the whole plot to a room full of people. They, of course, think that his cheese has slid off the cracker. So, after doing some extensive calculations with a slide-rule, he figures out that all he has to do is interrupt the power for a brief moment and the alien's machines that is collecting and storing the energy will catastrophically overload and explode. When his posse is unwilling to help, the good doctor takes matters into his own hands. He escapes the highly secure hospital, gets into a highly secure car, drives off the highly secure military base, gets into the highly secure power plant, barges into the highly secure control room, and has a technician cut the power, and, in a mushroom-clouded moment, certain doom at the hands of the "killers from space" is averted... all while cavorting around in a hospital gown with his butt presumably flapping in the breeze!
This is somewhat considered a scifi cult classic. It's still schlocky as hell, therefore, not sacred in my book! Lets begin with the Astron-Deltans. This is one of the first appearances of that "ping-pong-balls-for-eyes" phase that scifi went through for a period. These creatures are quite classic looking with their big-ol bug eyes and leotard tights. So, in 1954, with their command of interstellar travel, biology, genetics, control of atomic energy, ability to replace and repair damaged body organs (a DREAM to medical science at the time) and revive the dead, their answer to making an unwilling subject comply with their will is HYPNOTISM?? The only thing missing was a spinning circular plate with a red spiral! Also,of note is the alien's technology. First, they have one glowing gadget that seems to do everything.. Let's call it their sonic screwdriver! But also, their technology revolves around harnessing and storing the atomic energy and radiation that we puny humans are unleashing. There is some sort of 1954ish bullshit technobabble explanation for this but to me, it sounds like a battery.... ANYWAY.... The good doctor's solution appears to be to cut the power from the power grid, which the aliens are using to keep the energy in check, and it will blow them to high hell. FIRST, why do the aliens need our puny power when they have the technology for interstellar travel and to put space stations in orbit? Second, and more pressing, is that the premise seems a bit dodgy and tweeky for alien technology to be so susceptible to self-destruction and annihilation, thus ending your invasion plans and your race, due to a freaking "brown-out!" I mean, I wouldn't want to trust my fiendish plan and desire NOT to be vaporized on the 1950's power grid! Just think about that!
The effects are, shall we say, very mid-1950's, and what one would expect. However, that being said, some of them were quite comical. During the flight in which Dr. Martin dies, cutaway shots of the model airplane circling the screenshot of an atomic explosion are quite comical. Then there is the ridiculous 10 minute "escape" sequence where the doctor tries to flee his captors but is foiled by forced-perspective shots of tarantulas, lizards, and a cockroach at one point! A bit of foreshadowing when he was blocked from escaping at one point by a giant locust. I thought it hilarious since he would star in "The Beginning of the End" in three years time, in which the "giant-irradiated-pest-du-jour" were giant locusts. Anyway, it was the alien's grand plan to force these creatures into growing to elephantine size and eating humanity, when they could have bypassed that phase of the operation, released the creatures at their regular size, and we would have simply died of the heebee-jeebies! Barring that, we could have borrowed one of Colonel Glen Manning's shoes to swat them. (Side note: Glen Manning is the 50-foot man in "The Amazing Colossal Man". Big shoes to swat big pests...bad joke...never mind!!)
A true scifi classic, "Killers from Space" guarantees to delight you with its hokey plot, bad effects, stiff acting, and lets never forget the fantastic pseudo-science. Enjoy!!
I bet these guys go through a metric F**k-ton of Visine!
Quick! Quick! The cardboard model is in a nosedive!
"You will believe the crazy shit you see in this film... You WILL believe the crazy shit you see in this film! Now, cluck like a chicken!!"
Watch Killers From Space on Youtube
The doctor's friends learn of alien's fiendish plan when his treating physician mesmerizes him in his hospital room, and BOY, does he spill the beans! He goes into great detail regarding his encounter with the aliens, their technology, their plans, etc. For kicks.. I have asked several physicians that I know if hypnotism is a legitimate therapeutic treatment modality for paranoid schizophrenics and they all say that they seemed to have missed that day of medical school. Therefore, we will leave you, the gentle reader, to form your own conclusions.
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