Today I want to talk to you about a duo of el cheapo sci-fi flicks that are near and dear to my heart
Killers From Space
This film has it all. Goofy aliens with ping pong ball eyes? Check. Putting actors in front of blown up footage of insects, arachnids and lizards to simulate gigantic sized creatures? Check. Absolutely wonky logic dictating every scene? Check. Directed by W. Lee Wilder? Check.
Peter Graves stars as Dr. Douglas Martin, a scientist doing atomic reseach in the Soledad Flats. On an aerial mission to "collect data" which apparently consists of flying around an atomic blast, Martin's plane crashes into the desert. He mysteriously survives without any injuries.....only sporting a strange "L" shaped scar on his chest. At the base hospital, he cannot recall anything that happened. The FBI is called in because he's acting kinda funky and they think he may be an impostor. Finding no evidence of this, he's cleared from the hospital and told to take it easy for a while. He's not very happy about being kicked off the project, but begrudgingly goes home. As he's sleeping one night, he has bizarre dreams that culminate in a pair of super-imposed googily eyes staring at him through a window. Giant eyes. Just floating there. Oooooooohh....spooooky.
Well, the tests go on and another atomic blast is set off, which really pisses Martin off.....so he breaks into the base and steal the data, fleeing into the desert. The FBI is hot on his trail and they nab him after he stashes the papers under a rock. Cause....you know.....I'm sure they'd still be there when he came back for them later. Whatever.
Back at base he's given a truth serum and tells a tale of ping pong eyed alien invaders out to conquer the world by growing irradiated critters to wipe out humanity. Yep....that old chestnut. Well, it's discovered that the ping pong aliens have wiped Martin's memory and they placed him under hypnotic suggestion to steal that data. Those evil bastards!
Well, now that Uncle Sam is onto the dastardly plot, the government does the only thing it can. Keep Martin locked up in the hospital like the crack pot they think he is. Uncle Sam - 1.....Hero - 0.
Martin figures that if he can just turn of the power to Soledad Flats Power Plant, he can over load the aliens apparatus and foil their plans. So he breaks out of the military hospital....cause ya know....that's easy to do. High-tails it to the power plant and forces the lone technician to shut of the power for 10 seconds or so. This apparently is enough to blow the aliens to kingdom come. Smooooooth.
Did that sound awesome? Well, it is.....if you are a fan of bad movies. It's even better if you've got alcohol and like minded friends....but sometimes I still pull this bad monkey out on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It holds a certain charm for me that I just can't resist......and I just can help but smile when I see those great big googly alien eyes staring back at me.
Killers from Space is pretty readily available in DVD format. I got my copy on my 50 Sci-Fi Classics collection from Mill Creek. It's a pretty fantastic set of films and priced at $14.99 it comes out to under 30 cents per film!
If you're still not convinced that you need this film in your personal collection, then I suppose the only thing left I can do is let you watch it. So here you go!
This brings us to our next film in this double feature.....
Phantom From Space
Let's keep on rolling in the goodness, shall we? What's this film got...Alien in goofy scuba-diver looking spacesuit? Check. Extremely lo-fi wonky special effects? Check? Misunderstood alien? Check. Directed by W. Lee Wilder? Check. (Notice a pattern yet?)
The first ten minutes of this movie jump around from scene to scene while we are told that an Unidentified Flying Object is streaking through our atmosphere at amazing speeds. Fighter jets are scrambling to intercept the craft but it's moving at such an incredible rate, they are unable to keep up. The UFO is reported to have crashed. The radio and television transmissions are then disrupted and the FCC sends investigators to figure out what is going on.
Then the reports of a being in a strange suit start to flood in the area. It seems there is a spaceman on the loose. Que cheesy 50's sci fi music. Ooooooo-weeeeeee--oooooooo........anyway to help evade capture, the alien sheds his spacesuit and guess what kids? He's invisible! What an amazing way to save a few bucks on an alien costume! Instead we can rig up objects with mono-filaments and move them around like the invisible alien is manipulating them. GENIUS!
Well, the FCC and the government chase after our invisible friend for a while. Turns out that Mr. Spaceman isn't doing so hot without his spacesuit either. Well as so often happens in these types of films, the humans end up killing the alien and we're left to think about how awful we are here on planet earth. I'm pretty sure the rest of the universe refers to us as "That Douchebag Planet" Ah well.
Why don't you go ahead and enjoy Phantom From Space right here:
This makes a great double feature with Killers From Space for a couple of reasons. 1) They are both on the same disc in the 50 Sci-Fi Movie Collection. 2) They are both lo-fi wonky alien flicks to help pass away a rainy Sunday. 3) They were both the product of one Mr. W. Lee Wilder.
W. Lee Wilder is the brother of Billy Wilder, Acadamy Award Winning writer/director of such films as Sunset Boulevard, The Lost Weekend, Stalag 17 & The Apartment. W. Lee never achieved the sort of fame or credentials that his brother did, but I applaud him for making two of my favorite rainy day movies.