Killers from Space

April 12, 2011 at 2:39 am (4 Heads, Killers from Space) (, , , , , , )

Killers from Space – 1954 – United States

Killers from Space shares plot devices with the later It Conquered the World (1956) and Zontar: The Thing for Venus (1968), all featuring a man brainwashed by an alien overlord. Uniquely, Killers from Space also recalls abductee experiences before they were trendy. Director W. Lee Wilder is notably the brother of Billy Wilder, director of Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Some Like It Hot, and other well-regarded flicks without Vodou qualities.

During the same atomic bomb test footage seen hundreds of times before, a military scientist circling in a jet spots a glowing orb (see: foo fighter). After a control malfunction, the jet crashes. Military brass assumes him dead until the scientist stumbles onto base days later with amnesia and surgery scars. Under sodium pentothal (“truth serum”), he recalls being abducted by human-like aliens with bulging bulbous eyes and inordinately bushy brows. Using super science, the aliens revived the scientist and brainwashed him. From their subterranean base, they harness the energy of the military’s atomic tests to breed an army of giant mutant reptiles and insects to conquer Earth. A nice touch: they fled from their home planet when its sun burnt out (“Our eyes developed to this state to combat the ever growing darkness.”). Of course, no one believes the scientist’s fantastic tale. Escaping the hospital, he runs to the power plant to implement a half-baked scheme to short out the aliens’ atomic energy container. Evading doctors, military police, and his wife, the scientist cuts the power for “hundreds of miles”. He looks on with relief as a mushroom cloud is seen blossoming through the plant window. Presumably the aliens are decimated.

Killers from Space has a few cool moments. The inclusion of abduction phenomena (memory loss, implants) is interesting and the pop-eyed aliens are laughable, eerie, and original. Unfortunately, everything else is dull. The stark indoor sets (military base, hospital, cavern) are confining. The talky script lacks action and effects. And the plot, structured around overused atomic bomb test and macro lens insect footage, is cheap and lazy.

Killers from Space is a forgettable sci-fi B remembered only for its freakish aliens. Lacking energy and effort, it’s just boring. As someone who loves these crusty flicks non-ironically (I once praised Robot Monster’s “creativity”), trust me, there ain’t much here.

Rating: 4/10 Shrunken Heads. Just scope a photo of the aliens instead.

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