Review by Steve D. Stones
From the team of Ib Melchior and Sidney Pink, who brought us – The Angry Red Planet (1960) – Journey To The Seventh Planet (1962) has similar plot elements to The Angry Red Planet. Similar plots had been shown on the big screen in many science-fiction films of the previous decade – such as Cat Women of The Moon (1953), Fire Maidens of Outer Space (1956), Queen of Outer Space (1958) and the most horrible of the group – Missile To The Moon (1958).
Like the above mentioned films, Journey To The Seventh Planet takes us to familiar territory with five young men who arrive on a planet, then encounter sexy, scantily dressed women who fulfill their lustful desires. One of the sexy ladies is Danish actress Greta Thyssen, who also starred in the cult classic – Terror Is A Man (1959) and appeared in later Three Stooges shorts. The crew's real mission is to investigate a radiation source coming from the planet Uranus.
The year is 2001, and the United Nations is now the complete governing body of the entire world. The United Nations selected a crew of five men to represent an international expedition. The expedition is to last for ten days as the crew investigates the source of radiation on the planet Uranus.
Even before landing on the planet Uranus, the crew succumbs to a planetary force that appears to control their minds. When landing on the planet, one of the crew members experiences a state of deja vu in knowing he has been to the location before. The location appears to be a place where the crew member spent time as a child. In this particular sequence, actor John Agar pulls up a small tree from out of the ground and is puzzled that the tree has no roots. The look on Agar's face as he examines the tree is unintentionally funny.
As the crew investigates the area, a large opening in a tall bush is discovered. The opening appears to be a portal into another world. Before entering the portal, some of the crew members experience hallucinations and mirages of experiences and places of their past.
In full space gear, the crew enters the portal into a surreal, petrified forest of paper mache rocks and styrofoam particles used for snow. The group encounters a stop-motion Cyclops dinosaur that is killed by crew member Karl with a ray gun shot in its eye. In a second attempt to explore the petrified forest, the crew encounters a giant Cyclops brain who is the source of what is controlling their minds. This is familiar territory for actor John Agar, since he battled a giant brain in The Brain From Planet Arous (1957) that also controlled his mind.
Some of the music used in Journey To The Seventh Planet may sound familiar to science-fiction viewers of the 1950s and 60s. The music is also heard in Invasion of The Saucer Men (1957) and Roger Corman's film - The Last Woman On Earth (1960). English speaking voices were later recorded over the Danish actresses' voices.
Perhaps it's not fair to compare this film with director Pink's earlier effort – The Angry Red Planet (1960), but I find Journey To The Seventh Planet to be a bit on the dull side and very leisurely paced in contrast to the earlier Pink film. Even the beautiful Danish women featured, such at Thyssen, cannot save the film.
Journey To The Seventh Planet only has two monsters in the entire film for the crew to encounter and overcome. The Angry Red Planet brought us the interesting octopus plant monster, the iconic rat-bat-spider, a creepy three eyed alien who peers into a space rocket, and the giant amoeba gelatin shaped cyclops monster.
Plus, The Angry Red Planet also employed an interesting marketing gimmick known as “Cine-Magic” in which scenes shown on the planet Mars are filmed with a red filter. Writer Ib Melchior's greatest effort is – Robinson Crusoe On Mars (1964).
For further information about the life and career of writer and producer Ib Melchior, see Robert Skotak's book – Ib Melchior: Man of Imagination (2000 Midnight Marquee Press). Happy viewing.