It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) is an influential black and white science fiction film directed by Edward L. Cahn.
In 1973, a spaceship has landed on Mars, sent to rescue the crew of a previous, ill-fated mission to the Red Planet; they have found only one survivor, Col. Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson). He is suspected of having murdered the other nine members of his crew for their food and water rations, because he would have no way of knowing if or when he would ever be rescued. Carruthers denies this allegation and pleads his innocence, blaming the deaths of his colleagues on an unknown, hostile life-form encountered on Mars.
The rescue ship’s commander remains unconvinced, ordering Carruthers confined to his quarters and an immediate return to Earth, a journey that will take four months. Unknown to the rest of the crew, and before their blast-off from Mars, a crew member has left a large external exhaust vent wide open for a prolonged period of time.
With Mars now behind them, the crew settles into their shipboard routine for the long journey back home. Before long things start to go wrong. One by one, isolated crew members are attacked by a largely unseen, shadowy presence and dragged away into the ship’s ventilation ducts.
- Marshall Thompson as Col. Edward Carruthers
- Shirley Patterson as Ann Anderson (as Shawn Smith)
- Kim Spalding as Van Heusen
- Ann Doran as Mary Royce
- Dabbs Greer as Eric Royce
- Paul Langton as Calder
- Robert Bice as Purdue
- Richard Benedict as Bob Finelli
- Richard Hervey as Gino
- Thom Carney as Kienholz
- Ray Corrigan as It!
In 1993 It! was adapted by Millennium Publications as a comics series by Mark Ellis and Dean Zachary; a further comics adaption was released by IDW in 2010.
The premise of a hostile alien creature hunting a spaceship’s crew as it returns to Earth was apparently the inspiration for screenwriter Dan O’Bannon’s screenplay for Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien.
“All in all, It! The Terror from Beyond Space is good fun in an era when we have multiple missions to Mars that have yet to turn up any evidence of aliens – moisture consuming or otherwise. Though it does beg the question, isn’t Mars in space, rather than beyond it?” Geek Legacy
“Cahn’s eerie use of shadow and light builds the menace surrounding the monster, aided by the intense emoting of stalwart character actors like Marshall Thompson and Dabbs Greer. Whereas some Fifties science fiction movies look at space as the place where mankind is left alone with their own troubled psyche, neuroses and fears, this remains sci-fi to jangle your nerves rather than stimulate your brain cells.” The Spinning Image
Posted by DF