I’ll give the plot of this movie in a very short synopsis. The first manned trip to Mars ends with all but one of the ten-man-crew dead. A rescue mission takes survivor, Col. Carruthers aboard to bring him back for a court martial for his alleged murder of his crew mates. On the voyage home they discover that a Martian creature who must have been the killer of the first crew is aboard and is now killing them. The movie is mostly about the crew’s attempt to kill the monster before he finishes them all off.
Alright, how do I hate this movie, let me count the ways.
- The special effects consist of a big guy in a rubber monster suit, a couple of rooms outfitted with ship’s ladders and fake metal bulkhead hatches, really bad fake spacesuits, some star backgrounds with comets and meteors moving by every once in a while, and a model of a space ship. That’s it.
- The script is seriously underwhelming. During the first quarter of the film most of the dialog is the crew taunting Carruthers trying to goad him into confessing to the murder of his crewmates. After the monster comes on the scene all they do is walk around the small sets whining about how nothing they do seems to affect the monster and bemoaning the death of their shipmates.
- On the second mission to Mars they brought girls! Sure, sure, I know, they’re nurses or something. They’re always putting a bandage on Carruthers or an IV bottle on “Van.” But they even had to start up a love triangle between the less homely nurse and Carruthers and Van. Even in the face of imminent death at the hands (or three fingered claws) of “It!” we still have to endure hand holding and soul-searching looks into each other’s eyes.
- The monster is ridiculous. Its face hands and feet are so obviously latex rubber that it’s embarrassing. When he catches any of the crew, he pummels the victim by windmilling his ridiculous arms. According to more homely nurse this treatment breaks every bone in the victim’s body. But remarkably the victim isn’t killed. Instead, the monster stows them in the ventilation system where they are retrieved so that the monster can suck the water and oxygen from their bodies. Also, the monster sounds like he has asthma.
- The movie is only 68 minutes long. Now normally that would be a fault. But in this case brevity is a great virtue.
After failing to kill the monster with bullets, grenades, poison gas and bazooka they finally settle on emptying the ship’s atmosphere into space thus asphyxiating him. They make a big deal of the fact that the monster has large lungs because of the thin atmosphere on Mars. Why that would make him more vulnerable to asphyxia I couldn’t possibly say. And once the air is all gone, he quickly expires as did my patience.
The fairly familiar character actors in this movie like Marshall Thompson and Dabbs Greer had an impossible task to make this turkey watchable. It’s not as awful as ‘Plan Nine from Outer Space” so it can’t be watched for laughs. It’s just schlock. Unless you really enjoy bad old sci-fi, I recommend giving this one a pass.