THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE (director: Freddie Francis; screenwriters: from the novel by Joseph Millasrd “The Gods Hate Kansas”/Milton Subotsky; cinematographer: Norman Warwick; editor: Peter Musgrave; music: James Stevens; cast: Jennifer Jayne (Lee Mason), Robert Hutton (Dr. Curtis Temple), Bernard Kay (Richard Arden), Zia Mohyeddi (Farge), Michael Gough (Master of the Moon), Geoffrey Wallace (Alan Mullane), Maurice Good (Agent Stillwell), Luanshya Greer (Female Gas Station Attendant), Dr. Frederick Andrews (Norman Claridge), Paul Bacon (Dr. Rogers); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Milton Subotsky/Max J. Rosenberg; Embassy; 1967-UK)
“An enjoyable campy bad film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This B-film science-fiction fantasy film about invading aliens is based on Joseph Millard’s book The Gods Hate Kansas and is unimaginatively written by Milton Subotsky. Freddie Francis (“Tales from the Crypt”/”The Skull “/ “Hysteria”) handles the directing chores with workmanlike efficiency, keeping things restrained despite the story becoming more and more ridiculous with every reel and he also changes the book’s Kansas setting to the Cornish countryside in England. It’s an enjoyable campy bad film that has good visuals, but the implausible story makes no sense and it becomes increasingly difficult to sink your teeth into all its ET babble and the familiar theme of only one man who can save the world. The robotic acting is also a detriment, as the cast acts in a robotic way whether or not they are put into a spell.
When meteorites, in a V-formation, one night land on a farmer’s field in Cornwall, the government sends Richard Arden (Bernard Kay) to get ET expert, the noted physicist and author, Dr. Curtis Temple (Robert Hutton), to go there and investigate. But since he was recently in a car accident and had a silver plate put in his head, his doctor refuses to give him permission to accept that assignment. Instead Curt’s girlfriend and assistant, Lee Mason (Jennifer Jayne), is sent. When the scientist team cracks open one of the meteorites, a tremendous force is released that controls the mind of anyone who looks at the blinding light flashing (a flashlight dressed up to look ominous) and a bunch of scientists become enslaved by the alien invaders. The exploratory government project turns ugly, as the aliens start a plague that kills many locals and their bodies can only be buried on the moon to avoid contaminating the Earth and causing its destruction.
Curt figures out the invaders came from the moon and since he has a metal plate in his head, he’s the only one they can’t control. He then enlists the help of Farge (Zia Mohyeddi), an expert in electronic optics, and he invents a device that can remove the powers of the enslavement. In the duo’s rescue attempt to save the planet, they are taken prisoners in a rocket ship heading to the moon and the caped leader who goes by the title Master of the Moon (Michael Gough) tells Curt they wish no one any harm and that the plague victims are not dead but are being used to do forced labor to build a rocket ship to take these disembodied aliens back to their distant homeland planet they left millions of years ago so they can die there in peace since they must soon die and their race will be extinct. They have finally learned they can’t live without bodies and on only on mental energy, even if their intellect is impressively more advanced than the primitive earthlings and anyone else’s in the universe. After Curt, with the help of Farge and his device, overcome the aliens, they make a truce, as Curt tells them all you had to do was ask for help and the good people of this planet would have heeded the call quite willingly. As a peace offering, the alien leader releases all the humans from the powers of his possession.
What I learned is that the disembodied aliens are decked out as fashion plates in colorful capes on the bodies they weren’t supposed to have and that the leader’s cape is a reddish pink and his assistant’s cape is colored orange. I also learned that it might not be so bad to have a metal plate in your head, you never know when alien invaders might attack and try to enslave you.
REVIEWED ON 8/1/2008 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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