Famously shot on a budget of nothing and with nothing but talent behind the camera and on the screen, They Came From Beyond Space turned out to be not all that bad. It was a box office failure when it came out and you can see why as there are essentially no special effects to speak of and with a title like the movie has, you expect to see some kind of aliens, not to mention a film that is at least half-exciting. Despite the lack of what can be called traditional extraterrestrials, the makers of this film could only make do with what they had and what they had was very little indeed.
Robert Hutton stars as the intrepid hero of the picture, a man who is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery that takes place and stopping the eventual subjugation of the human race while he is at it. It is a familiar plot to any who have watched any film involving aliens coming to the Earth, yet while cliché it might be, director Freddie Francis who worked for both Hammer and Amicus over the years, managed to turn the film into something watchable where others might surely have failed. The aliens are what you almost expect with a film of this caliber, humans seemingly taken over with a consciousness not their own after coming into contact with some fallen meteors. Hutton is immune to such effects as he has a metal plate inside of his head and when the aliens finally gain control of his girlfriend, it is the final straw that causes him to head down the road of resistance.
The film is a little overlong, filled with repetitive scenes which are completely unneeded. How many times does the viewer need to see Hutton try and break into the army base? Surprisingly though, while the story lacks imagination, the script by Milton Subotsky and based upon the science-fiction novel The Gods Hate Kansas, is decent. Popular opinion holds that the book is better, as source material often is, but there is still a little charm to be had in the film and again, due more to the talent of the people involved than anything else.
Ultimately, the movie could have been more exciting and adventurous and could have featured something more original than it did, but when all is said and done, there is some entertainment value to be found in They Came From Beyond Space. At best, the film is one more suited to those late nights when one cannot sleep and can find nothing to watch no matter how many channels are flipped through.
2 out of 5