What is it? It’s this:
Beyond space! What's beyond space? More space. There isn't any beyond. Space is infinite. Except when it's the word "space," and someone's writing it on the credit sequence, and appears to have misjudged how much space is left. For "Space."
No matter. You can assume It was not alone, but if he’d showed up with friends It would have been Them. Simple plot: A government agency sends a rescue mission to pick up the lone survivor of a Mars expedition, and bring him home. The charge: MURDER! That’s right - since he’s the only survivor, the pencil-pushers and bean-counters back home naturally figure he killed everyone else. If this sounds a bit odd, consider who’s running the show:
You’d think interplanetary exploration wouldn’t be a division of anything, and it might even have its own building, instead an office. Well, nevermind. Soon we’re off in space, heading back from Mars, and we meet the crew.
Rip Rockrick? Checking in:
Betsy Hardmarm, reporting:
Buzzy O’Irish, down here with the pertaters, check:
(Saw this guy in a million 50s films, it seems. It's Dabbs Greer, who died in 07 at the age of 90 - and did an episode of "Lizzie McGuire" in 2003. The man worked.)
And so on. There are more, but no one cares. It’s IT, the Murderous Martian Stowaway from Beyond Space, we want to see. And here IT is:
Eh? What? Is that Darth Vader in a fat suit? If nothing else, IT has a good sense of where to stand to be dramatically backlit. We keep seeing inklings of the creature . . .
.. until finally we get more. Yikes.
Laughable today, I suppose, but I recall how these space-monsters freaked me out as a kid. The movie gets the usual plaudits for being “effective” on a low-budget, but it’s not that low, and it’s not that effective. It’s “Alien” in black and white without the realism or terror. I mean, it’s really "Alien" - the creature moves around the airducts, killing people, until it’s blown out the door by depressurization. Before that, they try everything, including something futurists have long considered invaluable for any manned mission to Mars:
IT!, by the way, was played by Crash Corrigan, who was also a Western movie star, and built Corriganville, tourist attraction, Western-movie town set, and nudie-photo backdrop. (Scroll down for that last one; it's a site advertising books about Corriganville, and is safe for work.)
Do we have a Star Trek connection? Alas, none of the actors appeared in a Star Trek episode. All we have for a Trek connection is the author of the script, Jerome Bixby. WHO WROTE FOUR EPISODES of the original series, including "Mirror, Mirror." Yes: he gave us Bearded Spock.
The trailer! Complete with exclamation points! To indicate its ITNESS! Note the quotes around “Thing” - it’s they’re way of telling you this is a space-bound remake of the Thing movie, which came out a few years before, and was 100X better.