I Saw A Film!

Hard to resist a Mario Bava sci-fi space-thriller. You get fantastic Lost In Space beige-looking sets, terrific high-collar, scuba suits, really cheap-ass looking ray-guns and aliens that are little more than lights filtered to primary colors. Somehow Bava manages to tie this all together with barely any music but the tension strings when the dead return to life. Oh, and the Italian ladies are fab!

Here’s what happens. The spaceship, a roomy affair with space for dancing, and lots of colored shapes for equipment, goes through a mess of asteroids to land on a planet where another spaceship had already had a mysterious accident. Most of the spaceship shuddering sequences require the actors to kind of lay on each other and look distressed. A sequence of passing through high Gs has them with their heads on their desks. But, soon enough they’re investigating the empty spaceship which was apparently piloted by humungous alien humanoids. A skeleton half buried in the sand is something like 10x human size. They don’t learn much from the ship except a few moments of accidentally locking themselves into a bridge area and having to use a tuning fork to open the door.

We’re told that the aliens exist on a “different vibratory plane” of existence. We haven’t been talking much about “vibratory planes of existence”, we need to bring that back.

But, soon enough someone gets attacked, and they’re forced to start burying their crew members in the dust with strange monuments set up to mark the graves. Most of the time we’re seeing our heroes running about guarding the ship, where all the trouble happens. However, the graves don’t stay quiet. Up pop our undead friends causing lots of distress. Before long, we’re understanding that their bodies have been invaded and they want to get to Earth to get more! And so we’re lead on a little mission, looking very like something out of Rat Patrol, where some small bombs are used to upend the alien plans and the survivors (Just three of them!) rush off the planet . . . but are they safe?

This beautiful fun is running free on Prime (USA) and feels like an artsy stage show. I do miss the days when gorgeous ladies would shriek and just pass out. It’s very cute in that classic Star Trek and original Batman sort of way. When they fire their ray-guns it’s just a post effect, and you don’t see the effect on the screen as the vampire infected crew collapse. Fun stuff.

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