It! The Terror From Beyond Space DVD Review

If it wasn't a giant overgrown critter raining down terror in a major metropolis back in the 50's, rest assured it was an alien raising hell on another planet. But, what if one of these creatures got on board a spaceship heading for Earth? "It! The Terror from Beyond Space" never broke any new ground, but fans of a certain film series should check it out simply to see where the inspiration for their favorite series came from. Colonel Edward Carruthers (Marshall Thompson) is marooned on Mars, alone after 9 of his fellow astronauts are killed. When a rescue ship arrives, Carruthers is accused of killing his shipmates so he had a better chance of survival. His wild story of an alien creature slaughtering everyone he knew does not sit well with the new crew until one of their own is taken down by the murderous being which crawled aboard just before take off. Now the crew is alone with an indestructible being, forced to use anything they have to bring down an animal they know nothing about. Set in 1978 according to the opening dialogue (though looking a lot like 1958), "It!" is an obvious inspiration for Ridley Scott's "Alien," which would ironically come out in 1979. Good timing. For the time, "It!" does a great job at creating atmosphere and director Edward Cahn (who gave us the obscure "Creature with the Atom Brain" a few years earlier) is wise to shroud the alien in darkness for most of the film since the suit is less than adequate. The man inside the suit is also far too human like (Ray Corrigan, who played in numerous gorilla suits in the past) which definitely adds a cheese factor to the proceedings. Fortunately, there is little time to make the film schlock. Running at a brisk pace and coming in at just over an hour, "It!" wastes no time in getting to the action. The first death comes quick (around the 15-minute mark) and the pace remains relentless for the rest of the running time. If you love this era of sci-fi, this is certainly recommended, but everyone else should know to stay away. (*** out of *****) "It!" is presented is full frame, which is proper for the film. This black and white transfer is surprisingly strong and even crystal clear at times. Heavy grain does follow the proceedings and the extensive scratches on the print are severely distracting in a few scenes, but for the age, this is a great presentation of a movie that would have likely ended up on a bargain basement disc with another company. (***) As expected, the sound presentation is only adequate. Presented in Dolby Mono, you'll hear most of the dialogue clearly, but when the soundtrack kicks in, voices are lost into the background. It only happens a few times, but it is enough to become a problem. There is little else to note here, just don't expect a full-blown action films soundtrack and you'll be fine. (***) Extras are not exactly plentiful. All you'll see is a beat-up theatrical trailer. (*) This is an odd little disc and with a few notable errors. First, the opening of the movie says it has been "modified from its original version," a line that has plagued widescreen version fans for years. It's not true since this movie was shot in the academy ratio. The back of the DVD case not only has a typo, but also claims the film is in color. These are obviously not issues that will effect your enjoyment of the movie, but someone should have caught these problems before release.

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