The Man from Planet X

September 20, 2015 at 9:45 pm (4 Heads, Man from Planet X) (, , , )

The Man from Planet X – 1951 – United States

A scientist discovers a planet (christened Planet X) whose erratic orbit will soon bring it near Earth. The scientist establishes a secret observatory in the spooky, foggy moors outside an English village. He speculates that the village will be the closest point to Planet X when it passes Earth. The scientist, the scientist’s lovely daughter, the scientist’s unscrupulous assistant, and a newspaper reporter prepare for Planet X’s approach.

Eventually, an orb-like ship lands in the moors. It dispatches a space suit-wearing alien whose countenance resembles an alien gray, a crash test dummy, and a human-like Muppet. The alien communicates only by emitting musical tones and writing mathematical equations. He seems helpless and unthreatening until the scientist’s unscrupulous assistant tortures him. Now upset, the alien begins hypnotizing people with a ray gun. The military is called and they blow him up with a bazooka. Only the unscrupulous assistant mourns the lost knowledge that an extraterrestrial intelligence might have provided. Of course, the government covers the whole thing up.

I am a fan of director Edgar G. Ulmer. His various film noir and science fiction films are often original and thematically complex. The Man from Planet X exhibits a little of Ulmer’s eccentric style, but the film is spoiled by countless plot holes, logical fallacies, and scientific hogwash. The audience is supposed to contemplate whether the alien is a peaceful explorer or a hostile conqueror. Unfortunately, the contradictory evidence does little to support either theory, and the resulting story is pretty idiotic.

Rating: 4/10 Shrunken Heads. For what it is worth, the alien’s squinting expressionless visage looks friendly enough.

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