They Came from Beyond Space (1967)

Bloody aliens, always trying to invade Earth and enslave humans – but at least they are polite this time

Dir. Freddie Francis

Runtime: 85 minutes

Rating: PG

Starring: Robert Hutton, Jennifer Jayne, Zia Mohyeddin

If you announce to certain film fans that you have watched an Amicus film, some will instantly assume you have just watched a wobbly cheese fest of a film. Well, in the case of “They Came from Beyond Space” they would be right.

Super advanced aliens have crashed on Earth after a lengthy journey through Space. They want to go home and are using the bodies of some of the smartest scientific brains in Britain so accomplish this. They have taken over the body of the scientists in order that the aliens, who are made of energy and matter, can use them to construct the space shape they require. How did they get the scientist you say? Well, good story –a meteor shower lands in the shape of a V in a field. All the best scientists rush out to study it – blammo – they’ve become the host for the aliens. One of the top scientists however isn’t there, Dr Curtis Temple (Robert Hutton) was off work and resting after having a car crash. He’s had to have a metal plate in his head because of the incident, he was being looked after by his colleague and (maybe) girlfriend (maybe just friend) Lee Mason (Jennifer Jayne), but he sent her in his stead to help with the investigation. He’s naturally worried because he hasn’t heard from her, the only trace of her is when she requisitioned some guns.

When Curtis goes looking for her he’s shocked to find the landing site resembles a military base, and worse still, Mason won’t let him in and is acting as if she doesn’t know him. It’s all very strange, and it gets stranger when a mysterious virus dubbed “The Crimson Plague” starts killing people. Their corpses are sent to the newly established base. Then to make it even stranger, Curtis notices that night-time rocket launches are occurring from the site.

What the heck is going on? Whatever it is, Curtis wants to put a stop to it. With the help of his friend Farge (Zia Mohyeddin) he works out why the scientists have gone weird. He manages to rescue Mason thanks to some groovy tin foil hats and light guns. And of course, he meets the Maser of the Moon who is using the body of Arnold Gray (Michael Gough).

This is a proper low-budget, camp, cheesy, British 1960’s film. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon when there is nothing on TV and you can’t be arsed with anything too hectic. It isn’t the most exciting or tense of films ever, but it’s simple and very nostalgic. If you are a fan of the old “Dr Who” TV series, then there are parts in the film which may feel familiar. Set’s and Props left over from “Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.” (1966) were used. Even the props and sets that weren’t borrowed looked like they could have been – the colander helmet; the weird googles visors; laser weapons – all very 60s!

The other thing that might seem familiar if you read the summary of the film above and wondered if you’d seen it before – have you read/seen Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers” (1993)? The one where aliens take over some scientists and other folk, apart for one person who has a metal plate in his head and is left to figure it all out…

Robert Hutton plays a fine part but does spend a lot of time stalking and snooping to understand whats going on. His character uses intelligence first and then shoots later – apart from when he is not permitted to use his intelligence fist, then he shoots first. The acting and the dialogue throughout is very English, and it amused me to see humans and aliens trying to be menacing while still minding their “P’s and Q’s”.

A fun and lighthearted film, but at times wooden and kitsch.

⭐⭐⭐ (3/10)

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