“Another name for Mars…is DEATH!” It’s widely known that this hilariously low budget and obviously dated sci-fi flick influenced a number of later (and better) genre films; the most notable being 1979s revolutionary and excellent ‘Alien’. The obvious parallels can be found in the rudimentary story: A rescue ship, in the futuristic future of 1973(!), finds a lone survivor at the ruins of the first manned Mars landing and prepare to take him back to face a firing squad for the assumed murders of his doomed crewmates. As their two foot tall model ship blasts off, with a sparkler up its ass, a clumsy dude in a rubber suit…um, sorry…a terrifying alien beast sneaks aboard to hide amongst the loosely piled crates and drums haphazardly scattered around the sterile spacecraft. Soon, unlucky crew members encounter the angry guy in the rubber suit. Shadowy, clean death and klutzy non-scary horror ensues. It really is funny to see Old School Hollywoods misdirected concepts of space technology and travel. I loved how the Challenge 142 spaceship JUST HAPPENED to carry a convenient arsenal of WW2-era small arms, including a crate of pineapple grenades and a bazooka. Yes…a bazooka. ‘FOR USE INDOORS AGAINST ALIEN INTRUDERS…AND COMMIES.’ And speaking of alien intruders…’IT!’ is a perfect example of why ‘ITs!’ not always a good idea to show all of the monster. The suit hangs off the poor, clumsy actor in rubbery folds and the face is locked in a scaly grimace throughout the film. And he sounds like he lives in a perpetual asthma attack, what with the constant raspy huffing and gurgling. Hell, I’d probably be pissed too if I was always choking on…something, while putting up with .45 gunshots, gas and grenade attacks and a torch in the face. Through all of the mind-numbingly relentless carnage(yeah, not really)…everyone manages to stay SO clean. In this world, humans don’t sweat, bleed or get grimy…at all. Especially the two, useless women characters who constantly look like they just stepped out of a studio salon…which they probably did. I’m not trying to pretend that this review is going to send EVERYONE out to suddenly find this 1950s ‘classic’, but for anyone interested in science fiction/horror film history…it’s fun to see…once.
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