A monster arrives from space, then spends the rest of the film going around eating people.
Which does, yes, sound somewhat familiar.
Mind you, we’ve got John Agar as the sheriff, although the former Mr. Shirley Temple is probably the only person you’ve ever heard of in this little film. He, of course, after a promising start in John Ford’s Westerns Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, descended into an increasingly goofy string of Science Fiction films – and ended up in television Westerns. Here he gives a solid performance in a pretty much stock role that doesn’t ask much of him.
The only other notable name attached to this film is the producer and scriptwriter, Russ Marker, who also directed the equally forgettable The Yesterday Machine. His work here might be described as memorably unmemorable. There really isn’t much to the story: meteor falls, monster attacks people, Sheriff stops it.
You can’t get more basic than that.
Somehow, I find it hard to believe the teen party by the lake, where they apparently dance to the radio for what must be hours. It feels a little too innocent for 1967 – although perhaps they were thinking of all those Beach Party movies (which had already run their course by that time).
Nor do I really believe that even a small town Sheriff would take his girl along on his “epic” final battle with the monster, no matter how much she insisted. However, the way the monster is defeated in the end is interesting, if far too simple to feel all that satisfying (compare it to, say, the end of Them! and you’ll see what I mean).
However, they were smart enough to keep the monster in the shadows for most of the film – and we never get a good, long look at the thing. Which, one suspects, was probably a very good idea. The creature’s origin is a mild surprise as well, although the same idea would show up again in the 1988 remake of The Blob.
There are a lot worse movies out there. There just isn’t much here, that’s all.
(for another John Agar SF film, see Women of the Prehistoric Planet)
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