["Death Comes from Planet Aytin"] Film (1967; vt I Diavoli della Spazio; vt The Snow Devils; vt Space Devils). Mercury Film International/Southern Cross Productions. Directed by Antonio Margheriti credited as Anthony Dawson. Written by Margheriti, Renato Moretti, Ivan Reiner, and Charles Sinclair (uncredited), based on a story by Moretti, Reiner, and Audrey Wisberg (uncredited). Cast includes Renato Baldini, Wilbert Bradley, Ombretta Colli, Enzo Fiermonte, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Goffredo Unger and Halina Zalewska. 78 minutes. Colour.
After an underground weather station in the Himalayas is destroyed, Earth begins to experience extreme weather conditions, including the melting of the polar ice cap (see Climate Change). Commander Rod Jackson (Rossi-Stuart) and Frank Pulasky (Unger) are sent to investigate what happened to the station, and after trekking through the snowy mountains with Lisa Nielson (Colli) and native guide Sharu (Bradley), they are captured by blue-skinned, white-haired Aliens, who long ago inspired the legends of the Yeti. They have come to Earth from their own frigid planet because it was entering a radioactive cloud, so they wish to resettle on Earth as soon as they have first flooded the planet, and then lowered its temperature, so that the Earth will be suitably frozen for their habitation. But Stuart and the others are able to overcome the aliens by knocking them out with ether, and Stuart and Pulasky are soon on Space Station Gamma 1 (see Space Stations), trying to locate the aliens' secret base. Data analysis leads them to the Jovian moon of Callisto (see Jupiter), and after determining that the satellite is protected by a Force Field, Stuart uses magnetic devices to capture several ferrous Asteroids and fling them toward Callisto, destroying the alien base.
This is the final film in Margheriti's Gamma Quadrilogy, the direct sequel to Il Pianeta Errante, and the least successful film in the series, inasmuch as its largely Earthbound plot provides the director with little opportunity to offer impressive special effects featuring humans in space. Its central crisis of melting polar ice might make it seem an early depiction of global warming (see Climate Change), but the fact that this is occurring due to the intervention of aliens planning to eventually freeze the planet rather confuses any effort to interpret the film as a message relating to human behaviour. The use of asteroids as weapons against the aliens is another unusual element of potential importance, illustrating the dangers that errant asteroids might represent, but the film itself, preoccupied with its silly plot, makes no point of that kind. [GW]
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