So, am I watching an early template for Alien or a mid sixties updating of It! The Terror From Beyond Space?
I vote for the updating of the 1958 sci-fi thriller from director Edward L. Cahn which in itself has been pointed out as an influence to the famed Alien franchise.
This underwater man in a rubber suit creature feature stars slumming Scott Brady, Gary Merrill, John Howard and Sheree North. When an underwater science lab station begins seeing strange blips on the radar screen, military man Brady is called in. With the use of a miniature diving bell, Brady is dropped to the depths of a swimming pool doubling as the ocean to enter the lab where he finds Merrill as the house scientist and North as the rather attractive assistant.
Could the strange blips possibly be the Russians testing out some new secret weapon? Brady is sure to find out and when a miniature looking underwater space ship turns up, Brady and company swim over to have a closer look. Finding a strange canister aboard the vessel, they bring it back for study in Merrill’s lab.
Should there really be any surprise that it basically hatches and grows into a giant rubber web footed looking cross between a chicken and a salamander?
Our underwater thriller pretty much follows the paint by numbers plot points moving forward. Brady wants to kill and destroy the creature and the vessel from which it came while scientist Merrill thinks the whole matter should be studied and the creature taken alive despite it’s attacking other crew members of the ocean floor lab. Speaking of crew members, I believe that’s James Hong as the on board cook, Ho Lee. Consider him a 1960’s version of Bonanza’s Hop Sing.
While Brady has the rubber creature to contend with on one hand he finds time to flirt with Miss North on the other. If he plays the odds just right he might accomplish landing both the rubber alien in his trophy case and Miss North in his bed.
Does Brady have what it takes? I’m not saying!
This Sunday afternoon matinee picture was directed by Francis D. Lyon who also gave us the fun Cult of the Cobra and Disney’s The Great Locomotive Chase during his days behind the camera. Another name that pops out during the opening credits is Joseph E. von Stroheim as the credited sound effects editor. I wasn’t aware that Erich had a son in the business. It turns out he worked on various films from the fifties into the 1980’s. Titles include The Untouchables for the sixties TV show to Three Days of the Condor and Every Which Way But Loose for the big screen.
It’s safe to say that all of our leading actors have credits to their name looked upon with a greater respect then this childish creature from the deep picture. However, many of those other titles may be hard pressed to find an audience today where as this silly sci-fi effort of a bygone era will always have those who love to sit down and press the replay button for one more go around and 90 minutes of campy fun.
If you care to find yourself a copy it is available through Cheezy Flicks on DVD. Thankfully I came across a copy to fuel my addiction for these campy flicks with notable names filling out the cast and earning themselves another payday.