First Man into Space – also known as Satellite of Blood – is a 1959 British science fiction horror film directed by Robert Day and co-produced by Richard Gordon from a screenplay by John Cooper. It stars Marshall Thompson (It! The Terror from Beyond Space), Marla Landi (Hammer’s The Hound of the Baskervilles), Bill Edwards and Robert Ayres (Cat Girl).
In 1977, the film was loosely remade as The Incredible Melting Man.
Commander Charles “Chuck” Prescott (Marshall Thompson) is not so sure that his brother, Lieutenant Dan Prescott (Bill Edwards), is the correct choice for piloting the Y-13 into outer space. Although Captain Ben Richards (Robert Ayres) of the Air Force Space Command says that Dan is the best pilot they have, he bucked the rules when flying Y-12, went into the ionosphere, had problems landing his ship, and then promptly ran to see his girlfriend, Tia Francesca (Marla Landi).
Y-13 takes off with Dan at the controls. He climbs and climbs. At 600,000 feet, when he is supposed to level off and begin his descent, he continues to climb, even firing his emergency boost.
The next that is heard about Y-13 is a report to the New Mexico State Police that some Mexican farmer saw a parachute attached to some sort of plane land near his farm. Later that night, a wheezing creature breaks into the New Mexico State Blood Bank and drinks a lot of the blood.
The next day, both the cows and the blood bank nurse show similar wounds—jagged tears across the throat. When Chuck and Chief Wilson examine the body of the nurse, Chuck notices some shiny specks around the wound as well as on the blood bank door. They also find a piece of what looks like a “high-altitude oxygen lead” lying under the dead cow’s body…
“What is interesting is the series of attitudes that seem to lie behind the mutated astronaut theme as used here. Footage of the early Air Force test flights is put to good use (and complemented by some surprisingly good effects shots of the planes twirling in space and re-entering the atmosphere), giving the film a ripped-from-the-headlines urgency.” Moria
“Between the casserole-man monster and the various less conspicuous slip-ups like the psychiatrist who specializes in metallurgy, you might expect the movie to be funny at least– the amazingly cheap-looking sets and demented sound effects in the first scene, along with the clumsily-worded title (not enough money in the budget for the definite article, huh?), certainly put me in that frame of mind. But alas, it is not even that.” 1000 Misspent Hourrs and Counting
“I was reminded of some of the best episodes of the television series The Outer Limits, which often dealt with similar premises, and often focused on many of the same themes that this movie does. It also does this with just the right amount of not taking itself too seriously and simply revelling in being pure B-movie entertainment…” Michael Laws, Durnmoose Movie Musings
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“As in The Quatermass Experiment, the film it imitates, there are some moments of pathos, but overall it’s an inferior film with a script of crippling banality.” John Brosnan, Future Tense: The Cinema of Science Fiction, St. Martin’s Press, 1978
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