They Came From Beyond Space (1967)

Director: Freddie Francis

I’ve never read The Gods Hate Kansas, the novel by Joseph Millard upon which this film is based, and really I’m kind of afraid to; the title is so outstanding I fear the book can’t possibly live up to it (and, as far as I can gather, it doesn’t). The film title, obviously, is rather more generic; it could be the name of almost any 50s/60s horror/SF B-film, and, well, the film itself is kind of like that too, if you know what I mean. This was an Amicus production, apparently using leftover props and sets from the second Daleks film that we saw recently (not to mention leftover ill-suited music), and relocating the story to England (The Gods Hate Cornwall?) for some reason… cos that trick worked so well for AIP’s film of Lovecraft’s “Colour Out of Space” a couple of years before, didn’t it… Anyway, meteorites bearing alien intelligences land on Earth, heralding the start of what ultimately proves to be a distinctly odd alien invasion. I’ve seen one review on IMDB compare it to It Came From Outer Space, but Nigel Honeybone (cos the film was tonight’s Schlocky Horror Picture Show offering) kept drawing Quatermass 2 into the discussion. And both of those are actually reasonably fair points of reference, although accusing this film of ripping off either is complicated by the original source story having first been published in 1941… Not really that much to be said about the film itself; it didn’t “feel” like an Amicus production for some reason that I can’t pin down, something about it looked and felt a lot cheaper than Amicus usually did (and I don’t think they were ever that liberal with their budgets). The ultimate unfolding of the plot is interesting, which unfortunately can’t be said of the characters enacting it; I suspect watching a better print of the film might help, but I don’t suppose one is circulating. Pretty nondescript, though not exactly a terrible way to pass a Friday night.

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