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It! The Terror From Beyond Space

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    Ian Jane
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  • It! The Terror From Beyond Space



    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: May 19th, 2015.
    Director: Edward L. Cahn
    Cast: Ray Corrigan, Marshall Thompson, Kim Spalding
    Year: 1958
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    The Movie:

    Edward L. Cahn's It! The Terror From Beyond Space sends the crew of a spaceship to Mars to look for any survivors of an expedition that arrived there some time ago. That first expedition? They lost touch with everyone back on Earth and those involved fear the worst. When the crew arrives on the planet they find one survivor, Colonel Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson), who speaks of the horrible monster that he claims killed his fellow crewmembers.

    Of course, no one believes him. They figure he was the one who did it and he's promptly arrested for it. Meanwhile, back on the ship that saved Carruthers, the man in charge, Colonel Van Heusen (Kim Spalding), is doing everything he can to get his own crew back to Earth without incident. Unfortunately for them, someone literally left the door open and that monster that Carruthers has been rambling on about proves to be very real indeed… and it's not going to go away without a fight!

    The film keeps the monster in the dark for most of its running time, showing off some goofy looking monster feet now and then or having the creature kill off those unfortunate enough to encounter it by having it maul them in the shadows. The big reveal comes at the end, where we see the thing well lit and quite clearly - and it's then that we realize as cool as this monster is, it's also kind of goofy looking. The film's low budget shows here and maybe we lose some of the suspense that the film built up in its opening forty minutes once we get a good look at the thing.

    This is still a fun watch though. It's hard not to see this picture's influence on Ridley Scott's Alien as that later film follows a very similar path to the one laid down by It!, but Scott, with a bigger budget and serious advances in technology, put out a much more involving picture than Edward L. Cahn was able to do. The pacing is decent enough, though the opening narration courtesy of Carruthers seems unnecessary, but the sets that comprise the interior of the ship are obviously bargain basement stuff but again, this can add to the movie's fun and appeal if you're in the right frame of mind for it.

    Performance wise, Kim Spalding and Marshall Thompson are decent enough as the two main leads. They're written as men of their time and so they are of course noble and brave and heroic but the two play their parts well. Shirley Patterson and Ann Doran as the two main female characters featured in the movie aren't given much to do - it would seem they live in a man's world (hey, this was 1958 after all…) but they too do fine in their respective roles. Ray Corrigan, star of more westerns than you can count, is the man in the rubber suit and he's fun to watch. He lumbers about and flails his goofy monster hands a lot but there some nicely framed shots where he does manage to bring a nice sense of menace to the part.

    So yeah, it's old and goofy and low budget and clunky but It! The Terror From Beyond still makes for a pretty entertaining watch. This one holds up fairly well and is definitely worth revisiting for fans of fifties sci-fi and monster movies.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    It! The Terror From Beyond Space arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films in a 1.85.1 widescreen transfer presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Detail here is quite strong in some scenes, not so strong in others. Softness definitely creeps into the picture from time to time, but then other shots look great. Minor print damage is present throughout, mostly just some small scratches and specks rather than anything too drastic. Grain is present throughout the presentation but it never gets so heavy as to distract from the proceedings though there are times where the darker spots on the screen show some fairly visible noise. Black levels are really nice, quite strong, and contrast looks spot on. All in all this is a definite improvement over the DVD, as it should be, but it never hits reference quality levels. The widescreen framing helps the movie considerably (the last DVD was fullframe) as the compositions look a lot better now.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono Audio track on the disc is pretty good. The score sounds quite strong here and helps to really ramp up the tension in the last twenty minutes or so. The hardboiled Dialogue stays crisp and clear, it's never a problem understanding any of the characters. There are no alternate language options or subtitles of any kind offered on this disc.

    Aside from a static menu offering chapter selection, the only extra on the disc is a theatrical trailer for the feature.

    The Final Word:

    It! The Terror From Beyond Space is a fun watch and a film that had to have been an influence on Alien. It's on the short side but it pays off nicely towards the finish - the monster is pretty cool. Olive's Blu-ray release offers a pretty decent upgrade over the past DVD release even if the video quality isn't as consistent as some might have hoped.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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