Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on May 3, 1962
Directed by Bruno Ve Sota
Written by Jonathan Haze
Cast: Bob Ball, Frankie Ray, Gloria Victor, Dolores Reed, Trustin Howard, Mark Ferris, Jim Almanzer, Anton Arnold, Mark Thompson, Anton von Stralen, Sid Kane, Richard Adams, Lenore Bond, Mark Del Piano
When is a science fiction film about an alien invasion not a science fiction film about an alien invasion? Well, when it’s the incredibly asinine and woefully mistitled Invasion of the Star Creatures, that’s when. To say I was blindsided by this cornball attempt at sci-fi shenanigans—a more appropriate title would’ve been Appearance of the Carrot Creatures—would be a supreme understatement: I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but when the film opened with some very cheeky credits, and what sounded like a vacuum cleaner running over them, I began to have my doubts about the validity of this schlocky endeavor (as I’m sure my friend Lindsey did as well, over at The Motion Pictures).
Then, when two army knuckleheads began throwing insults at each other before investigating a mysterious ‘crater’ near their base, where they encountered a pair of sexy alien females and their laughable, vegetable-like servants, I knew I was in deeeeep trouble. Part of the blame should go to the film’s tantalizing poster, which had me duped from the start: a legion of scantily-dressed women encased in glass tubes in the foreground, with an amphibious lizard-man carrying an unconscious girl in the background, while three sleek spacecraft zoom by overhead. Say what? Where the hell was that movie, because it sure as stardust wasn’t the one I was watching.
When I noticed this movie was directed by Bruno Ve Sota, the name instantly rang a bell, and a check of his film credits told me he’d not only helmed something called The Brain Eaters, but had also appeared in two of my schlock favorites: The Devil’s Hand, as the camera-toting cult member, and Attack of the Giant Leeches, as the henpecked husband of Yvette Vickers. Which, I guess, made Ve Sota a perfect choice to direct this sucker.
And though I’ve never once seen an episode of The Colgate Comedy Hour, a television variety series from the 1950s, somehow it immediately came to mind as the story progressed: the two bumbling privates are soon kidnapped by the vivacious scientists, who possess some ‘mighty good-looking equipment’—equipment, by the way, which is barely contained by their sleek but ill-fitting outfits—and are taken aboard their ship, where the men initiate an escape plan by teaching these uninitiated space chicks the concept of love, and rendering them helpless by the kisses from their impromptu makeout session.
Thus, if there ever existed a bonehead skit from that comedy show, that featured plenty of dopey jokes and eye-rolling one-liners, then Invasion of the Star Creatures would be a feature-length representation of that skit…only about ten times worse. Add to that the appearance by a tribe of grossly-stereotypical Indians, Navy gas masks being worn by Army personnel, and some fairly-decent Cagney impersonations, and you have yourself one of the most cheesy and tongue-in-cheek sci-fi misfires you’ll ever see.
But is it fair of me to treat this film so negatively? Probably not…I’m sure the cast and crew were having fun, and maybe this was considered entertaining and escapist fare back in 1962. But you should know this going in, if you decide to take the plunge: to me, this movie was flat-out, over-the-top, grade-A dumb, consisting of nothing but one silly sight gag after another, all of which seemed to drag on and on and on. The alien creatures were just awful—like something out of a Jungian nightmare—and the attempts at scientific accuracy would have prompted Queen of Outer Space to shake its head in disgust.
Why then, if I considered this film lacking in any redeeming value, did I award it one star? I can honestly, if reluctantly, say that the direction was at least competent, and the film succeeded in poking fun at itself, and was somehow able to hold my morbidly-fascinated attention from start to finish, preventing my eyelids from becoming as heavy as they did during my viewing of the abysmal Creature from the Haunted Sea. And astonishingly, in the end the film did leave me with one thought-provoking question, one that plagued me throughout the course of its seventy-minute run time: if I had to be kidnapped by one of these celestial vixens, would I have chosen the blonde or the redhead?