1953 would prove to be a significant point in Universal horror history with the release of Ray Bradbury’s It Came From Outer Space, mainly because of a notable turn towards science fiction.
Interestingly the fear factor is reduced with the alien invaders actually being stranded on Earth after crash landing their spacecraft and are trying to get home.
The story joins astronomer John (Richard Carlson – The Ghost Breakers) and a school teacher, Ellen (Barbara Rush) as they go in search of a large meteorite that has fallen in their small town.
They soon discover however that the meteor is in fact the aforementioned spacecraft, but when John tries to tell his tale to the locals, he is met with a series of doubters. Trouble soon arises when some of the locals start to disappear and return with their personalities altered ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This brings the sheriff to suspect foul play and that there might be truth in John’s alien invasion story after all.
Cue miscommunication and preconceptions that could lead to the downfall of humankind, It’s no wonder that this story has been labelled as an anti-communist propaganda film when you look at the underlying subject of alien invasion and the silent threat of destruction that hangs over everyone.
Despite being a pretty mediocre film, lacking substance ICFOS became an iconic feature for its time, it managed to reach the pop culture zeitgeist and has oft been referenced since.
For me though is a fortunate set of circumstances that led to the creation of the Metaluna Mutant, once considered for the alien design but dropped in favour of the shape-shifting, single-eyed, jellyfish mutants on display. This decision would pave way for the Metaluna Mutant to have a more credible platform to launch its iconic look in This Island Earth… but that’s for another time.
- Saul Muerte