IT CAME FROM
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Movies E.C. McMullen Jr. Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
It
SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE - 1953
USA Release: June 5, 1953
Universal International Pictures
Rating: N/A

It was the 1953. The scary atomic bomb was dropped many times on the U.S. in specially designated test sites, and on cities full of people - twice. The world was connected by deep sea cable and earth felt like it was growing smaller. At the same time, the U.S. was still fresh off of winning a 2nd World War and the Trials of NAZIs in Nuremberg, Germany from 1946 through 1949, seemed to show that the U.S. was in the right to go to war, and perhaps had waited longer than we should have.

That was the conversation back then. We waited too long to fight against an obvious, monstrous threat. No one outside of the NAZI party knew how monstrous until long after the fact.

Never-the-less, Self-doubt cost the lives of innocent people on a scale so vast we were still counting it, and revealing the hidden horrors of life under the NAZIs and Japanese. This was our national conversation in 1953 when IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE was released.

Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush: WHEN WORLD'S COLLIDE, THE UNKNOWN, STRATEGY OF TERROR, DEATH CAR ON THE FREEWAY) is making dinner at her boyfriend, John Putnam's house. John (Richard Carlson: BEYOND TOMORROW, THE GHOST BREAKERS, HOLD THAT GHOST, FLY-BY-NIGHT, THE AMAZING MR. X, THE MAGNETIC MONSTER, THE MAZE, RIDERS TO THE STARS, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, TORMENTED, THE POWER, THE VALLEY OF GWANGI) lives out in the Arizona desert, far from the small town of Sand Rock, so he can watch the night time sky through his telescope, with as little light pollution as possible. He's a scientist and as we'll soon find, that makes the locals nervous. They don't like him because he is a scientist.

Ellen is sexually pushy and flirtatious, boy does she want John. John wants her but just as things are about to take a turn for the bedroom, something outside noisily flies past and explodes somewhere in the desert.

Well hell! We can have sex any time but this opportunity only comes along maybe once or twice in a lifetime!

Soon Ellen and John are flying in a scary ramshackle helicopter with a snarky pilot Pete (Dave Willock: REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, HUSH...HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE) who didn't like getting woke up to fly a scientist and his gal around the desert.

But then they find the meteor crater!

John cannot contain his enthusiasm though Ellen and Pete would rather go home.

John descends into the still smoking crater and gets the surprise of his life when, instead of finding a meteorite, finds what appears to be a large artificial, well, he's not sure but then it opens in a way that has to be a door.

He found a freaking UFO!

Then the unstable crater around it collapses and John barely makes it out with his life.

As a responsible scientist, John is compelled to contact other scientists and the word gets out.

Soon other scientists are wandering around, bumping into reporters, tourists, and even representatives of the U.S. Air Force.

Nobody sees an alien spacecraft, nobody wants to dig for it, and all want to mock John.

"Ho! Ho! Ho!" the radio announcers chortle to the world, "What an idiot egghead!"

Mocked by the local townsfolk, humiliated by his peers, and even treated dismissively by his former Professor, John is ready to stay low until it all blows over. Ellen, loving and protective, is entirely onboard with this strategy. Then as they are driving down the road near the area, they are accosted in the middle of the road by a giant ghostly eye in a gaseous yet gelatinous body that freaks their shit right out.

Then two of their good aquaintances, county electricians Frank (Joe Sawyer: THE WALKING DEAD [1936]) and George (Russell Johnson: THIS ISLAND EARTH, ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, THE SPACE CHILDREN, HITCH HIKE TO HELL, THE GHOST OF FLIGHT 401 - He was Professor Hinkley on Gilligan's Island!), appear to be the victims of foul play! Then they later reappear as mysterious and robotic.

John and Ellen's world is being turned upside down and it all began when that... whatever it was crashed outside of their town.

Soon other folks start vanishing. What the hell is going on?

Cast publicity still
Ah those whacky cast publicity stills! This scene never happens.
The blonde has a blink and you'll miss it part, but they needed someone who
looked like a sexy screamer so Kathleen Hughes (CULT OF THE COBRA)
was hired to play the sultry June and got her name, face, and bosom on the poster.

Based on a story by Ray Bradbury, the unfolding of this tale is as typically Bradbury as you can get. Further, the screenplay by Harry Essex (MAN-MADE MONSTER, THE KILLER THAT STALKED NEW YORK, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, OCTAMAN, THE CREMATORS) kept the spirit of Bradbury's original story alive (because while credited to Harry, the entire produced screenplay is nearly verbatim to Bradbury's original dialog and treatment).

Legendary Creature Feature director Jack Arnold (CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, TARANTULA!, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, THE SPACE CHILDREN, MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS) created the 1950s SciFi Horror movie ethos with IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, making it one of his strongest movies in a career of strong science fiction movies.

What makes IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE stand above so many rush jobs that major studios were pushing out in those days?

Universal Pictures gave it a sizeable budget. This was, after all, their first 3D feature.

These days, the visual special effects are as weak as anything in Star Wars: Special Edition. However, because the story stands up so well and the aliens both in action and visually, remain nearly unique in cinematic history, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE is Ripe For Remake!

Four Shriek Girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2017 E.C.McMullen Jr.

It Came from Outer Space (1953) on IMDb
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