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They Came from Beyond Space

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1967). Amicus Productions UK/Embassy Pictures Corporation US. Produced by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky. Directed by Freddie Francis. Written by Subotsky based on The Gods Hate Kansas (November 1941 Startling; rev 1964) by Joseph Millard. Special effects by Les Bowie (uncredited). Cast includes Michael Gough, Robert Hutton, Jennifer Jayne, Bernard Kay and Zia Mohyeddin. 85 minutes. Colour.

Scientist Dr Curtis Temple (Hutton) is co-leader of a UK project searching for intelligent life on other worlds (see SETI). Nine meteorites come down in Cornwall in a perfect V-formation; Temple cannot immediately investigate owing to a car accident resulting in a silver metal plate being placed in his skull. Fellow researchers Richard Arden (Kay) and Temple's girlfriend Lee Mason (Jayne) investigate in his place, and are soon taken over by something from within the meteorites. Temple proves immune to the Alien influence thanks to the metal plate, and soon realizes what is going on: Invasion. With the aid of Dr Farj (Mohyeddin), Temple devises a way to drive out the aliens without harming their human hosts. The pair also invents a silver helmet for Farj to prevent his being taken over. A plague causing red spots on the aliens' victims has also broken out. Capturing Lee, Temple finds himself at an alien base built beneath the Cornish farm where the meteorites landed. Soon, he, Farj, and Lee find themselves inadvertently on board a Spaceship traveling to the Moon. There the humans meet the Master of the Moon (Gough) who reveals that what the aliens actually want is humans to help them build a Starship in which they can return to their home world. All ends amicably, with apparent plague victims proving to be not dead but in a form of Suspended Animation.

They Came from Beyond Space distinctly echoes Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), though both its source novel and the film are much inferior to Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers (10-24 December 1954 Collier's; 1955) and its famed cinematic offspring. Explaining the poor production values, director Francis claimed that Amicus had spent nearly all of the budget on the co-feature The Terrornauts (1967). These films played as a double bill, but were unsuccessful at the box office; the Amicus Horror anthology films such as Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1965) are greatly superior. [GSt]


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