They Came from Beyond Space


Year 1967

Robert Hutton as  Dr. Curtis Temple  
Jennifer Jayne as Lee Mason
Zia Mohyeddin as Farge
Michael Gough as Master of the Moon  
Maurice Good as  Stilwell
Luanshya Greer   as Girl Attendant
 
Director - Freddie Francis
Screenwriter - Milton Subotsky
Book Author   - Joseph Millard

They Came from Beyond Space. Sure they did. Where is that exactly? I mean beyond space. Even give me a general idea.

The title and that of the book it came from, The Gods Hate Kansas, are actually the best things about this movie. The acting is serviceable and sometimes is good. I guess that's a plus. But when you don't have much to do or say, it's all relative.

The plot is that a group of aliens has mind controlled some scientists for unknown reasons. One man, Dr. Curtis Temple, cannot be controlled (there's always one, you know) but his girlfriend can and was...mind controlled. It's up to Dr. Temple to find out what's behind the mischief of those pesky aliens and also get his girlfriend back from their clutches.

That's it. You'd think that since this was based on a book, a novel no less, there'd be some meat and life to it. This is one spare corpse. Part of the reason is that it takes place in England, the land of manic animations. Although the British actors add some weight to their roles, they're very dull people. This in turn makes for a very dull movie.

The most frightening part of the movie is thinking that the people involved in making it thought that it was a drama. Look at the book cover. Is this drama material?

Stephen King's pipe dream

Dr. Temple, an American, spends over half of the movie trying to get into a compound built by the mind controlled Brits. Most of this time is spent driving. He drives to the compound, to the town, to the compound, to a gas station (but he never gets gas or, since it's England, petrol), back to compound, back to town, to the compound again, to a friend's house, back to the compound yet again, etc.

Because I hate falling asleep on the couch, I was almost ready to turn it off at that point. But, eventually, things got good for about ten minutes. Then, Dr. Temple's back at the compound, running around, flipping people over his shoulder by their necks, having his double being thrown over someone else's shoulder by his neck, and going up and down a pneumatic elevator.

Then, there's a slave revolt. People from the Earth have been sent to the moon to work as slaves. Being on the moon, these people really didn't have much choice, so they work as slaves. Since they are inside the moon, there isn't any problem with air. Scientists, take note! Also note that aliens speak English. Whether they're talking to Earth people or each other, they speak English. So why are we worrying about math as a starting point for communication? Aliens speak English.

Why are the aliens here in the first place? Are they an ancient, dying race? Check. Did they have no need for bodies? Check. Did they miss the pleasures of the flesh? Sort of. They have no hands, so they couldn't repair a broken space ship. ("Oh, what I'd give for the pleasure of skinning my knuckles while I work on this exhaust port." <sigh>)

The humans manage to win out, but not without a loss of dignity.

 
Spaghetti tonight!   "How can I wear one without mussing my hair?"

 

Oooh! A woman in uniform.
(Dr. Temple looks jealous of her sudden sex appeal.)

The first ten minutes are okay and so are the last fifteen to twenty. Otherwise, it's a snooze fest. It's like a poor man's Roger Corman movie, but with integrity. The moral of the story (spoiler alert?) is that the aliens only needed to ask instead of trying to force their will. Right. If all they did was ask, businessmen, lawyers, and politicians would take the technology and leave the aliens stranded to die.

How do I know this? Not just because I'm cynical, but also because these aliens are very dimwitted for being as advanced as they claim. After the second trip by Dr. Temple to the compound, take him prisoner! When he escapes, chase him. Don't launch fiery rockets at night. Little pieces of advice like that would've helped the most intelligent beings in the universe...or from beyond space or wherever.

No nudity or blasphemy. It's not just bad, it's dull.


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