It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)

Genres - Horror, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Sci-Fi Horror  |   Release Date - Aug 13, 1958 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 69 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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The monster in It! The Terror From Beyond Space was actually former serial king Ray "Crash" Corrigan in his well-worn gorilla suit, slightly altered for the occasion by famed monster maker Paul Blaisdell. And therein lies the rub. We see all too much of It!, to the point, in fact, where a zipper is clearly visible in one shot. By the end of the film, It! is less scary than ludicrous, never mind the good performances from the rest of the small cast. Not that the much-vaunted remake Alien (1979) did all that much better with a larger budget and supposedly more sophisticated special effects. A hand puppet, after all, is still a hand puppet. It!, in contrast, relied on a spaceship typical of the 1950s, a straightforward vessel with a straightforward crew performing in typical Jack Webb "just the facts, ma'am" style. Marshall Thompson, formerly of MGM, makes a stalwart hero, and Shawn Smith, formerly Shirley Patterson, a pleasant enough heroine. But where Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in Alien is decidedly a child of equality between the sexes, the otherwise competent female scientists in It! are compelled to serve coffee for their male colleagues.