It was the title that got me on this one, it sounded thrilling, but it was anything but. Not even Peter Graves could help this one.
The story starts off with a nuclear test in the desert, complete with soldiers, scientists, and top brass observing it from a distance with dark goggles. Also observing is scientist Peter Graves who is flying in a jet fighter around the site to take measurements. He and the pilot spot a bright light coming from the ground near where the bomb went off, so they fly in to investigate. The plane controls though freeze and it crashes, killing the pilot, and Peter Graves is found to be missing. Later, Peter Graves turns up at base with not a scratch except for a scar over his heart…he had been operated on!
He is taken in for testing and after he acts pretty weird for a while the doctor decides to give him a truth serum. Under the serum he blurts out the truth of what happened. He explains he was taken underground by alien men with buggy eyes after the crash. He was dead, but they revived him by working on his heart and he was then as good as new. After waking up he found out that the aliens were from a planet where the sun was dying. The aliens had to adapt to less sunlight by growing buggy eyes so they could see better. They decided to find other planets to colonise so a bunch of them went to Earth and set up base underground in the nuke test area. There, they started to breed giant lizards, bugs, and other nasties which they would use to wipe out humanity. Peter Graves, being a scientist, figured out that they were getting power from a local power station to run their operation, and that if they lost that power things would overload. The chief bug-eye cottoned onto him so had the big chief alien up in the orbiting space station mesmerise Peter Graves via a television screen, then he was sent on his way to get info about the next nuclear test, which would be the last test they needed before world domination.
The truth serum didn’t convince the military brass, they thought Peter Graves was looney, so Peter Graves busted out of hospital, went to the power station and after a tense stand-off while holding an engineer at gunpoint, had the power turned off for ten seconds, which caused an almighty explosion in the bug-eyes underground lair, a huge nuclear mushroom cloud of an explosion…they were all toast. The end dialogue was: “Just as he said!”, “He blew them to pieces!”. Smiles all round then end titles.
The film was made in 1953 which was a busy year for nuke testing, 11 tests in all, and all above ground in Nevada. One test was even performed by firing a nuke from an artillery gun…scary stuff. The filmmakers did not seem to be making an anti-nuke film, they were just using it as a plot device.
The alien abduction, operation scar on Peter Graves chest, and brainwashing was interesting. Stories of actual people claiming alien abduction did not start until a year later.
As entertainment it was not much, there was a lot of talking but very little action, and no killing at all on the alien side of things. They just looked silly with their ping-pong ball eyes which must have been very uncomfortable to wear. It was good to see a 28 year old Peter Graves though, a fave actor of mine because of his role in the Airplane films, as well as the Mission Impossible TV series. It was a B-grade film though, so not much can be expected from it.
I have decided Peter must go into the MBMS Page of Fame, a most worthy actor.
It is time to watch a more modern film. I feel like an eighties film next.
Film count 2018: 76