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The Terrornauts is a 1967 British science fiction film directed by Montgomery Tully and starring Simon Oates and Zena Marshall. It was produced by Amicus Productions and based on the 1960 novel The Wailing Asteroid by Murray Leinster, adapted for screen by John Brunner. Space scientists foil an alien invasion of Earth.

Project Star Talk is based at a UK radio telescope site; its mission is to listen for radio signals from other intelligences. Dr Joe Burke leads the project, assisted by his small team – electronics expert Ben Keller and office manager Sandy Lund. Due to their lack of success, they are given ninety days to report positive results. While waiting for a response, Burke tells of his uncle’s discovery at a French archaeological dig of a cube that gave him strange dreams as a boy, inspiring him to become an astronomer. During this period Joshua Yellowlees, an accountant, arrives to inspect the project’s books.

As luck would have it, the receive a repeating signal, but it comes from an unpromising atmosphere-free small asteroid in the outer solar system. Nevertheless, Burke spends the balance of his grant to equip the telescope with a powerful transmitter to contact the source of the signals.

The night of the transmission, Yellowlees and Mrs Jones, who runs the tea trolley, stay to witness this historic event. The signal is sent and reaches the asteroid, on which is a huge installation that answers the radio signal with a spaceship sent riding down the radio beam to the point of transmission. When the spacecraft arrives at Project Star Talk, it picks up the transmitter shed and carries it and the project team to the alien installation.

On the asteroid, the team is greeted by a robot that takes them through a series of tests. After each test, they receive rewards, in particular a “Knowledge Cube” for the knowledge test.

Returning to the control room, Keller accidentally bumps Lund onto a “transposer platform” and she is matter-transported in a puff of smoke to a distant planet peopled by savages who try to kill her. Burke follows her to the planet, rescues her, and discovers the secret of the Knowledge Cubes. He plugs into the cube, and the horrible secret is revealed: the planet of savages is the home of the survivors of an interstellar war that is fast approaching Earth, and the Star Talk team are the only ones who can use the advanced weapons of the installation to stop the invading enemy fleet from destroying Earth. The team searches unsuccessfully through the huge library of cubes for the operating instructions of the fortress’s weapons.

As the enemy fleet comes into range, the robot delivers the necessary cubes just in time. The battle is joined, but the Star Talk team fails to hit the aliens with missiles, so, with the cubes’ instruction, the fortress’s engines are started and they rise off the asteroid to intercept the aliens who crash into the fortress.

Burke sets the transposer for Earth and the team are matter-transported to the very archaeological dig where Dr Burke’s uncle found the cube so long ago. While they congratulate themselves on their luck, a gendarme arrests them for trespassing.

Screened in the US in 1967, the film’s UK release (in cut form) was not until 1971.

The Terrornauts was distributed as a double feature with They Came from Beyond Space (1967). This double bill has been called “the two worst films the company ever produced”.


They Came from Beyond Space is a 1967 British Eastman Color science fiction film directed by Freddie Francis and produced by Max J. Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky. The film stars Robert HuttonJennifer JayneZia Mohyeddin and Bernard Kay. The screenplay was written by Subotsky, based on the 1941 novel The Gods Hate Kansas by Joseph Millard.

The narrative follows the adventures of a scientist who tries to stop space aliens who are made of pure energy from enslaving humans in order to rebuild their spaceship so that they can return to their home planet.

The film is from Amicus Productions who released the film as a double bill with The Terrornauts.

An unusual V-shaped formation of meteorites has fallen in Cornwall. Scientists are appointed to investigate. However, their leader, Dr. Curtis Temple, who is recovering from an automobile accident and has a silver plate in his skull, is forbidden by his physician from going. Curtis turns the mission over to Lee Mason, his colleague and lover.

Arriving at the site, the scientists find the meteorites to be unusual in shape and colour – they are rather pointy and blue. They also house aliens who exist as “pure energy”. A geologist attempts to chisel off a piece of meteorite. As a result, the rock emits a flash of light and a screech as the aliens take over the scientists’ bodies and minds.

Concerned that the only contact with Lee has been her requisitions for millions of pounds’ worth of equipment – including weapons Curtis decides to visit the site despite his MD’s orders. But before he leaves, a fellow scientist determines that the meteorites have come from the Moon.

Upon arrival, Curtis finds that the site resembles a military post, with armed guards and a 10,000-volt electric fence. Lee herself bars him from entering.

An agent from “Internal Security” has been tailing Curtis. However, he must phone his superior for permission to give Curtis a full situation report. He enters a phone box to place the call, then stumbles out, covered with red spots, and falls dying to the ground. A crowd gathers. A doctor steps forward, but after touching the agent, he too dies. Then, each member of the crowd succumbs. The press dubs this unknown disease “The Crimson Plague”. Although no cause or cure is discovered, the authorities develop a secret method of safely disposing of the victims’ bodies.

After watching a night-time rocket launch from the site, Curtis decides to prevent another launch. A crack shot, he returns the next day with a sniper rifle and destroys the generator that supplies power to the camp, thus stopping the second launch. He climbs over the now-deactivated electric fence into the site.

After entering the aliens’ headquarters, Curtis, who is also an expert in unarmed combat, wins a fight with one of them. At an underground complex, he discovers the frozen bodies of the plague victims. He is then captured and locked in a cell. Curtis escapes by hiding behind his cell door and jumping the alien who comes to kill him. Curtis then rescues an unwilling Lee, knocking her out with a punch and carrying her off.

He takes her to the home of his friend Farge. Curtis realises that the silver plate in his head somehow prevents the aliens from possessing him. He convinces Farge to melt his silver cricket trophies and fashions a colander-like protective helmet for him.

Farge uses ultraviolet light to exorcise Lee’s alien. Later, she remembers nothing from her time under alien control. Howeber, she can pretend to still be an alien and drives to the site with Curtis and Farge hiding in the back of her car. Lee, too, is protected by a silver helmet.

The three conceal themselves in a rocket just before it blasts off. But they are soon discovered and brought before the Master of the Moon, who says the government’s plan to dispose of the plague victims’ bodies is to shoot them to the Moon.

The aliens are creatures of pure energy and are using the humans to repair their spaceship, which had crashed on the Moon. They want to return to their home planet to die, as they have grown old and tired after light years of travel. The frozen bodies Curtis found are not really dead. The Master assures them that once the spaceship is repaired, all the “victims” will be returned to normality.

Nonetheless, the aliens prepare to surgically remove Curtis’s silver plate to tap his knowledge. Farge leads the workers in a revolt and saves Curtis.

Curtis tells the Master that they need not have attempted to conquer the Earth – all they had to do was ask for help, and it would have been given. The Master’s eyes well up with tears at the revelation.

They Came from Beyond Space was made by Amicus Productions at Twickenham Studios. Much of the exterior action was filmed on Cookham High Street, in Cookham, Berkshire, UK.

The film was granted an A-Certificate by the British Board of Film Censors on 30 March 1967. The A-Cert signified that the film was “more suitable” for adult audiences. However, in order to receive the A-Cert, the movie had to be cut from its original running time of about 85 minutes to approximately 83 minutes. Details of the required cuts are not known.

The film’s running time in the U.S. is the full 85 minutes. It carries no rating as it was released not long before the MPAA film ratings system went into effect on 1 November 1968.

They Came from Beyond Space was distributed to theatres in the U.S. by Embassy Pictures during “Summer 1967” although neither BoxOffice nor Variety reviewed the film until October of that year.

Director Freddie Francis said in an interview that the producers had spent all their budget on The Terrornauts so there was no money left over for They Came from Beyond Space. The double feature failed at the box office and has been described as the “two worst films the company ever produced”.


color, mono, fullscreen, TERRORNAUTS is widescreen. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!



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