Killers from Space (1954)

If only Killers From Space (1954) looked as good as this colorful Italian poster, with green and white orbs overlooking a stylized saucer and an alien attack, with people scrambling and mechanical walkers —and giant red reptilian beasts knocking over buildings! But alas, we’re left with Peter Graves in one of the most notorious stinkers of all time. I watched this public domain monstrosity on a Mill Creek “Alien Worlds DVD 20 Pack” that also includes The Incredible Petrified World, Warning From Space (the starfish people) and Teenagers from Outer Space. Lots of wasted time! Killers From Space is a lot of fun and is best remembered for the ridiculous aliens.

What a plot! Tar Baby 2 is a reconnaissance jet observing atmospheric effects of an atomic bomb blast, and carrying scientist Dr. Doug Paul Martin (Peter Graves). Martin and pilot observe a ground-based reflection described as a “fire ball”. Tar Baby 2 does a vertical nose-dive and crashes in the desert. Martin is presumed dead, but walks up to the airbase with a weird scar due to a “skillful incision” on his chest. In flashback we learn that Martin was killed in the crash, but revived by ping-pong balled-eyed aliens in lightning bolt adorned jump suits. You heard right. This is the film with the infamous googley-eyed aliens.

The aliens we learn are from the dying planet Astron Delta and appear on Earth by using an “electron bridge”. They are harnessing the accumulated energy of several billion electron volts from each and every atomic explosion. They plan on taking over the planet by breeding an army of giant arthropods and lizards they are creating with directed radioactivity. And when the giant monsters devour everything on Earth, the aliens will zap them and make fertilizer. They have arranged for everything. They keep Dr. Martin around to learn when the next atomic bomb blast will be performed.

Their growth is due to a change in their genes—

The main flaw with Killers From Space of course are the aliens. Allegedly those eyes were actually ping-pong balls cut in half (I have also heard they were egg cartons cut to shape and painted white). Whatever they were the results are comical. However, the film has an interesting and unusual story. The film is low-key and fairly well-acted. Peter Graves was good in these films, and with the exception of Stalag 17, really never worked with a top-notch surrounding cast, script and under astute direction.

I also like the sound effects in this film —am I hearing a Theremin or is it something else? Alec and Manuel Compinsky worked up the sounds for this film, which are quite original. Some of the audio effects seem to be taped sounds run backwards. There’s also other weird electronic gadgets and mechanical sounds playing throughout the film. All in all, Killers From Space is another bad film I love. I watched it quite a bit on TV as a kid. It was also one of the first films I watched on VHS.

What have you seen or heard here?

One Response to “Killers from Space (1954)”

  1. “Killers From Space” was one of Zacherley’s first movies on “Shock Theater” in the late 1950’s and he always enjoyed poking fun at Peter Graves’ performance. This movie was on TV all the time in Atlanta in the 1960’s, and I have good memories of it. The obligatory irradiated giant spiders and lizards are here. The soundtrack seems to include every single effect that the sound man had at his disposal. Great, great movie!

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