50 Movie Pack SciFi Classics, Disc 11

They Came From Beyond Space, 1967, color, Freddie Francis (dir.), Robert Hutton, Jennifer Jayne, Zia Mohyeddin, Bernard Kay. 1:25.

I haven’t read The Gods Hate Kansas, the novel on which this flick is based, but it probably has a more coherent plot than the movie. That’s the only real problem: The plot just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Otherwise, well, a group of aliens stranded on the moon manage to crash meteorites on earth that take over people with mind control—except for one immune scientist (he has a silver plate in his head). There’s a plague (actually a way to get workers to the moon), travel to and from the moon in under a day, lots of silliness, and a warm ending: All the aliens had to do was ask for help. Well acted, well filmed (in Britain?), decent color…but the story needs help. Watchable, though. $1.50

Warning From Space (Uchûjin Tokyo ni arawaru), 1956, color, Koji Shima (dir.), Keizo Kawasaki, Toyomi Karita. 1:27.

UFOs in the sky over Tokyo! Strange star-shaped aliens with a big eye in the center of the star reconnoiter; finally, one gets transformed into a replica of a singing star, so she can warn a scientist that his new explosive formula is too powerful—and, oh, by the way, a meteor’s going to collide with and destroy earth. The aliens are from “mirror Earth,” the oft-used “planet exactly opposite Earth on the same orbit, so never visible,” but far ahead of us in most science. The world government won’t approve destroying the meteor with atomic weapons (I never knew that missiles typically have interplanetary range!) and it doesn’t work anyway—but after the climate goes crazy, the aliens manage to save the day with the formula they wanted to destroy. This is in semi-color: Inside, it’s nearly sepia; outside, it’s generally pretty good color. For its time, not a bad little flick. $1.25.

The Phantom Planet, 1961, b&w, William Marshall (dir.), Dean Fredericks, Coleen Gray, Anthony Dexter, Francis X. Bushman, Dick Haynes, Richard Kiel. 1:22.

We’re starting to explore space from a moon base, but a couple of ships disappear. A third exploratory vessel lands on this “planet” (a big, oddly-shaped asteroid) with little people, and the captain shrinks down to 6″ as soon as he breathes the local air. Lots of stuff about special gravity control, and a civilization becoming spoiled through too much technology that’s decided to go native (except when they need technology). And this self-controlled planet is being attacked by Solarians, doglike beings who travel in flaming spaceships that are not much larger than the aliens themselves and apparently almost entirely open. Lots’o’plot, no real sense. (Richard Kiel is a Solarian.) Not bad as a laugher. $1.

Planet Outlaws, 1953, b&w, Harry Revier (dir.), Buster Crabbe, Constance Moore, Jackie Moran, Jack Mulhall, Anthony Warde. 1:09.

This one’s truly strange. That first credit could be a tipoff: Buck Rogers in the 25th century, in suspended animation since 1938 (a dirigible crash) and instantly able to fly the aircraft/space ships of the Hidden City, trying to escape the domination of Killer Kane, evil ruler of… well, you get the idea. What this is, apparently, is a badly-edited reduction of a Buck Rogers serial, with a tiny bit of narration at the beginning and end trying to make it Important. Transitions don’t work—but boy, those aircraft/spaceships sure do, apparently flying to and from Saturn in a few hours whenever convenient. There’s an invisibility ray too. Incidentally, Wilma (Constance Moore) is not along as a Hot Girlfriend: She’s clearly more capable than Buck, and her outfit is pretty much the same as well. This is a mess, but a nostalgic mess. $0.75.

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