It! The Terror From Beyond Space
Release Date: August 13, 1958
Cast: Marshall Thompson as Col. Edward Carruthers
Shirley Patterson as Ann Anderson
Kim Spalding as Van Heusen
Ann Doran as Mary Royce
Dabbs Greer as Eric Royce
Paul Langton as Calder
Robert Bice as Purdue
Richard Benedict as Bob Finelli
Richard Hervey as Gino
Thom Carney as Kienholz
Ray Corrigan as It
Length: BW 68 minutes
Director: Edward L. Cahn
Cinematography: Kenneth Peach
Written by: Jerome Bixby
Music: Paul Sawtell
Distributor: United Artists
Ann Doran was James Dean's mother in the American Film Institiute's class Rebel Without A Cause. It! The Terror From Beyond Space is frequently considered as the inspiration for the hugely popular science fiction movie Alien (1979.)
The monster was played by veteran stuntman Ray Corrigan. Director Edward Cahn deliberately photographed the beast in the shadows to enhance the suspense and terror.
A rocket ship is sent to Mars to rescue the crew of an earlier ship that crashed there. Only the captain of the first ship survived long enough to be rescued. When he told his rescuers about how a monster had killed off the rest of his crew, they all assumed that he had murdered them in an effort to extend his own chances of survival, and were ordered by the authorities on Earth to bring him back to stand trial for the murder of his crew. Due to the carelessness of one of the crew on the rescue ship, an airlock was left open through which the creature entered the ship. When first one crewman, and then another disappear, the rest of the crew starts believing Ed's story, and they suddenly find themselves all in a battle for their very survival. Will they be able to destroy the monster before it manages to feed on them all? Will they ever see the Earth again?
Though shot on a shoestring budget, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I count it as one of the more suspenseful and scary sci fi flicks of the '50s.