16 December 2007

It Conquered the World

United States -1956
Director – Roger Corman
RCA Columbia Pictures Home Video 1991

I used to hate this crap. Because I was such a splatter fan, with the exception of The Creature, these old black and white monster movies bored the piss out of me until about 2 years ago. I don't know what it was that changed, but I'm glad it did. And It Conquered the World has all the best things I could ask for from a Cold War classic.

The first scene says it all. A bunch of scientists in a lab discuss grandiose space-experiments in all seriousness while turning big knobs on the wall. A meeting between several military men and a sinister looking Dr. Tom Anderson played by Lee Van Cleef ends in hostility and dark prediction. Returning home to his hot wife Claire (Beverly Garland) he pours a drink and talks via ham radio to a otherworldly electronical voice. Later he shows it to his buddy Nelson (Peter Graves), who doesn't believe a word. Anderson becomes more recalcitrant and speaks more bitterly with his electro-voice buddy.

Claire is despondent, she's starting to think that Tom is going off the deep end. The way he glares out from under a dark furrowed brow making stark threatening predictions about the human race, and sleeping next to the radio, one can't blame her for stalking the room in frustration. 

Shortly enough, the voice, attributed to a Venutian alien, comes to earth and magically shuts down the power of everything, a la The Day the Earth Stood Still. Now even less convinced of the creatures benevolence, Nelson tells Anderson as much over a drink.

Soon rubber alien larva are winging through the sky and zombifying the population. With little else to do while the power is out, Nelson argues with Anderson some more, and neither make any headway. Nelson's Hausfrau is zombified and in a rage of patriotic scientificality he guns her down. Returning again to Anderson's castle of aloofity, they argue again, but shortly realize that Claire is missing. Showing her true colors, she's taken a shotgun and gone in search of the Venutian, a giant rubber cone with crab claws and fangs.
Alas, she fails, but her death has finally convinced Anderson that he's an asshole, and he bravely gives his life to redeem his soul.

The point is thereby proven that isolationism and suspicion are the cornerstones of scientifical and social success in the face of Communistical alien ideology. Nelson has this shit-cold, deadpan, earnest grimace as he recites bland social "truths" about mankind. But really, the Andersons were the ones who shook it up, kept things on the edge, and made life a little more interesting for all of us.
Old poster:

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