Movies and Film

In Need of Women is the… – Blood Beast from Outer Space (1965)

It always seems as if aliens only come to Earth in order to capture its women, but in the end, this film turns out to be a well-crafted bit of science-fiction, British in origin and one where surprisingly, the alien wins out. However one watches it, whether under the title The Night Caller, Night Caller from Outer Space or Blood Beast from Outer Space, the movie ends up being essential viewing, simply due to how different it ends up being from other films of its ilk and all of that thanks to director John Gilling.

The film begins normal enough for the genre, with a mysterious object landing on Earth and a bunch of scientists, working closely with the army of course, examining it to determine just what it might be. After labouring some long hours, most of the crew retire for the night except for Ann Barlow as played by Patricia Haines who at one point sounds the alarm as she believes there was a shadowy figure in the room with the object. Soon the group deduces that the sphere might be a type of transporter, able to move matter and it is not long before one of them, a Dr. Morley dies, quite possibly from the same strange figure. Here Gilling transforms the movie and takes it from one direction to another, from a typical scientist/UFO/investigative piece into more of a classic creature-feature with a touch of film noir about it. What was already a slightly moody picture becomes even more so as the remainder takes place almost exclusively at night and the use of shadow is relied upon to great effect. It is during this second half that the alien’s motives become clear as numerous women go missing with the one thing they all have in common being an ad for models in Bikini Girl Magazine. Eventually it is learned during the final scenes of the film that the alien – Medra, needs the women so that his race might breed out the defects that have been plaguing his race for centuries and with that, beams away without anyone being able to do anything about it.

Being a British production and all, it is strange to see John Saxon star and while he might seem an odd duck appearing so, he nevertheless does a fine job as the man on the case. Maurice Denham also appears as the ill-fated scientist Dr. Morley while the previously mentioned Haines is perfectly cast, not only as a woman as strong and as smart as those she shares a scene with, but humourous as well. Saxon does manage to carry it all along fairly well, but many of the better parts come from the supporting characters like Haines and Aubrey Morris as a bookseller who also happens to be working with the alien. The movie also carries some sexual overtones as well, one scene in particular between Haines and Saxon and later on with the aforementioned Morris. It is remarkable to see given the year of release and the genre of film, but it simply adds another layer of unpredictability in an already fascinating movie.

There are a few plot holes to be found throughout the film, though they can be explained away thanks to the alien’s greater intelligence if one were to think about it, but all in all, Blood Beast from Outer Space turned out to be a curious, yet captivating slice of science-fiction.

3.5 out of 5

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