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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Killers From Space – Dopey Aliens With Ping Pong Eyes



By Steve D. Stones

It’s hard to recommend a film like Killers From Space, even to die hard 1950s science-fiction fans. The plot and pacing of the film is quite dull and dry, even by the standards of 1950s films. Lots of stock footage of atomic explosion tests, flying airplanes and rear projections of giant insects are used over and over again in the film. Still, the film is worth a viewing if you’re a fan of Miles and W. Lee Wilder, the brother team who brought us The Snow Creature, Manfish and the much more superior and entertaining Phantom From Outer Space in 1953.
Killers From Space stars Peter Graves in the role of American nuclear scientist Dr. Douglas Martin. Dr. Martin’s plane crashes while observing an atomic explosion over Soledad Flats, Nevada. Officials from a local air force base conclude that Martin must be dead after finding no bodies in the plane’s wreckage.
Soon, Dr. Martin turns up at the main gate of the air force base. He can’t recall how he got there or why he is still alive. A doctor examines Martin and finds a surgical scar near his heart that was not there before the plane crash.
While in a hospital bed, Martin later recalls that a group of aliens living below the surface of Soledad Flats took his body from the wrecked plane and surgically saved his life by reviving his heart. This is why a scar was discovered on his chest. He explains to his doctor and some of his colleagues that the aliens have recruited him to help tap some of the nuclear power flowing into the air force base for experiments. The aliens plan to use the power to rule the earth.
Of course none of Martin’s colleagues believe his story and think he is crazy, so he forcefully frees himself from his hospital bed and heads to the local power plant to turn off all the power. This causes another atomic explosion, which wipes out the alien population living under Soledad Flats.
The funniest sequences in the film show Graves running around in a soiled jumpsuit, as giant insects are rear projected on cave walls. When he meets up with the head alien of the group, the alien shows him film clips of what their alien civilization looks like on their planet. The clips are borrowed from the 1936 classic Things To Come. I’m not sure why a 1954 film would borrow clips from a 1936 sci-fi film, but the appropriation is quite obvious and out of place.
A DVD print of Killers From Space was put out in 2000 by Triton Multimedia, which uses green filtered sequences for all the scenes showing the aliens in the film. The DVD also contains director Wilder’s Phantom From Space, and the 1959 classic(k) Teenagers From Outer Space. Goodtimes Video released a double feature VHS tape of Killers From Space in the mid-1980s with Day of The Triffids. The comic geniuses of Mystery Science Theater 3000 also released a Killers From Space DVD under their Film Crew name back in 2005. Happy Viewing!

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