It Conquered the World is an independently made 1956 American black-and-white science fiction film, produced and directed by Roger Corman, starring Peter Graves, Lee Van Cleef, Beverly Garland, and Sally Fraser. It Conquered the World was released theatrically by American International Pictures as a double feature with The She-Creature.
It Conquered the World concerns an alien creature from the planet Venus that secretly wants to take control of the Earth. The creature makes radio contact with a disillusioned human scientist, who agrees to help because the scientist believes that such an alien intervention will bring peace and save a doomed humanity from itself.
The film was inspired by the box office success of Day the World Ended, also directed by Corman. It was written by Lou Rusoff (Sam Arkoff’s brother-in-law), but before being completed, Rusoff’s brother died and he had to leave for Canada. Corman then called in Charles Griffith to do a final rewrite, two days before filming began. Griffith does have a small part as a scientist.
Griffith said Rusoff’s script “was incomprehensible which was strange because he was quite meticulous. Lou’s brother was dying at the time which most likely had something to do with it.” Griffith said he “wrote streams of dialogue. The picture was terrible.”
Filming began 3 April 1956.
The design of the creature was Paul Blaisdell’s idea, and he thought that coming from a big planet, It would have evolved to deal with heavy gravity and would therefore be low to the ground. Corman later admitted this was a mistake, saying the creature would have been more frightening had It been larger or taller. When Beverly Garland first saw the creature, she commented “That conquered the world?” and claimed she kicked It over (unlikely, since Blaisdell said in an interview that it took three men to turn the prop onto its side for the film’s death scene finale).
Paul Blaisdell, who made the creature, researched Venus and “came to the conclusion that if it would have any life — it would be vegetable. In trying to make it look as far removed from anything resembling animal-like, I whipped up a nightmarish creation resembling a pear-shaped, cucumber- like creature, with two mobile, branch- like arms.” He created the monster with rubber skin over a wooden frame, latex antenna and carved pine teeth. Flashlights were used to make the eyes glow. Originally the claws worked, but they were damaged on the first day of shooting. When Blaisdell unveiled the costume to the film’s producer James Nicholson, Nicholson happily exclaimed “Paul, you’ve done it again!”
The creature was mounted on wheels. Blaisdell would crouch inside to enable the creature to move. “Originally, the creature was supposed to be in a dark cave all the time so an air of mystery would surround it,” said Blaisdell. “But Roger decided it would be more effective if the creature would make a defiant appearance outside its hiding place and be destroyed by a charge of bayonet-armed soldiers. He also wanted the creature to appear dead in the film’s finale by having it lying on its side!”
In the bayoneting scene, one of the soldiers stuck a bayonet in the wrong spot and nearly skewered Blaisdell’s skull who was inside it, working the costume. Luckily Blaisdell’s wife had persuaded him to don a helmet for protection, which deflected the blade.
The creature’s working pincers were broken on the first day of shooting, but its arms could still be raised. The melting eye socket effect was completed using chocolate syrup. Blaisdell’s wife was inside the suit, manually working the chocolate-squirting device, which backed up and squirted all over her.
Garland later recalled the first time she saw the creature at Bronson Canyon:
I said to Roger, “That isn’t the monster! That little thing there is not the monster, is it?” He smiled back at me, “Yeah. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?” I said, “Roger! I could bop that monster over the head with my handbag!” This thing was no monster, it was a table ornament! He said, “Well, don’t worry about it because we’re gonna show you, and then we’ll show the monster, back and forth.” “Well, don’t ever show us together, because if you do everybody’ll know that I could step on this little creature!” Eventually I think they did do some extra work on the monster: I think they re-sprayed it so it would look a little scarier, and made it a good bit taller. When we actually filmed, they shot it in shadow, and never showed the two of us together.
Griffith said he called the creature prop “Denny Dimwit and somebody else called It an ice-cream cone. I was around when Paul Blaisdell was building it, and he thought the camera would make it look bigger.” Blaisdell himself referred to it as “Beulah” during production. The costume was completely destroyed in a 1969 Southern California forest fire.
It Conquered the World was released theatrically by AIP in July 1956 on a double bill with The She-Creature.
The film originally received an “X” certificate in the UK, meaning that the picture could only be seen by adults. At issue, the scene of the creature being destroyed by a blowtorch was seen as animal cruelty. However, producer Samuel Z. Arkoff convinced the film board that the violence was against an otherworldly person, and not an animal, earning the film its passing certificate
Invasion of the Saucer Men (U.K. title: Invasion of the Hell Creatures; working title: Spacemen Saturday Night), is a 1957 black-and-white comic science fiction/horror film produced by James H. Nicholson for release by American International Pictures. The film was directed by Edward L. Cahn and stars Steven Terrell, Gloria Castillo, Raymond Hatton and Frank Gorshin.
The screenplay by Robert J. Gurney Jr. and Al Martin was based on the 1955 short story “The Cosmic Frame” by Paul W. Fairman. Invasion of the Saucer Men was released as a double feature with I Was a Teenage Werewolf.
A flying saucer lands in the woods. A teenage couple, Johnny Carter (Terrell) and Joan Hayden (Castillo), while driving to their local lover’s lane without the headlights on, accidentally run down one of the saucer’s large-headed occupants.
Joe Gruen (Frank Gorshin), a drunken opportunist, stumbles across the alien’s corpse after the teenagers have left to report the incident. Imagining future riches and fame, he plans to keep the body, storing it for now in his refrigerator. After failing to convince his friend Artie Burns (Lyn Osborn) to help him retrieve the alien body, Joe decides to head for home. Other aliens soon arrive, however, and quickly inject alcohol into his veins via their retractable needle fingernails. Joe, already intoxicated, soon dies from alcohol poisoning.
Having reported the accident and the deceased alien to the police, Johnny and Joan return with the sheriff, only to find Joe’s dead body instead of the alien’s. The police then decide to charge both teenagers with vehicular manslaughter.
Meanwhile, the dead alien’s hand detaches itself from its host and runs amok, causing trouble. The military, following up an earlier UFO report, soon get involved, eventually surrounding the alien’s saucer. In the end, it is the teenagers, not the military, who defeat the aliens when they discover that the saucer’s occupants cannot stand the glare from their car’s bright headlights.
The film was made by Malibu Productions. Film rights to Fairman’s short story were purchased through Forrest J Ackerman‘s Ackerman Science Fiction Agency. Special effects technician Paul Blaisdell, who provided the alien make-up and flying saucer, recalled that Invasion of the Saucer Men was originally intended as a serious film, but gradually developed into a comedy. The entire film takes place during the period of one night, with 98% of it filmed on a studio sound stage.
DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!