They Came from Beyond Space (1967)

In 1969, America went to the moon. To top us, the British made a movie about aliens on the moon coming to us in 1967. I’m still thinking we got the better end of the bargain here, but I don’t blame the UK for trying!

Meteors fall in formation in a field in the English countryside. The British Security Service recruits various scientists to investigate, but Dr. Curtis Temple is unable to go due to a relatively recent accident which required a silver plate being inserted into his skull. As a result, he misses out on the fun as alien life forms without bodies take over the minds of the entire research team. When aliens arrive on his doorstep in the bodies of his friends and then fail to convert him, they flee, and he begins an investigation in earnest. He soon meets up with a horny lady at a gas station and then is met by another Security Service member who knows that something is amiss at the site. When that guy tries to call his superiors, a plague breaks out that causes people to bleed from their pores, taking out numerous townspeople except for Dr. Temple. As Dr. Temple realizes the plague has something to do with the site, he watches a spaceship leave and then breaks in, where he finds the body of the horny lady from the gas station. The aliens capture him, but he eventually escapes. Later, he captures his possessed secretary and love interest, Lee Mason, and takes her to see his buddy, a knock-off of Jerry Lewis. Jerry Lewis fashions a silver helmet that looks like a cheap colander out of his old trophies and discovers it protects him from the aliens. Dr. Temple and Jerry Lewis then use the aliens’ technology to free Lee of its control, and she helps them break back into the alien’s site. The three manage to board a spaceship that takes them to the moon, where they meet The Master. Instead of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, it’s a guy who looks like Jeremy Irons in bad makeup. He reveals that the aliens have evolved to be pure mental energy and must possess bodies and enslave humans so they can return to their home planet to die. They try to remove Dr. Temple’s skull plate, but the Jerry Lewis wannabe incites a slave revolt and saves the good doctor. Dr. Temple then makes peace with the aliens and offers to help them go back to their home. The movie ends with an awkward handshake that looks like it was meant to be a freeze frame that the director just faked instead.

This was supposedly Anwar Sadat’s favorite film. He was the third president of Egypt, launched the Yom Kippur War, and afterward negotiated peace with Israel for the return of the Sinai region to Egypt. His work won him a Nobel prize but also led to his assassination in 1981. While I can’t say he had great taste in cinema, maybe he was just a cult movie lover at heart.

As for the movie, it’s based on the book The Gods Hate Kansas, which is a true title if ever I heard one. This is an Amicus production, but one that had an even smaller budget than the majority of their work, so props were used from a Doctor Who movie, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. That’s a bad ass movie name. Unfortunately, They Came from Beyond Space isn’t that bad ass and is considered one of the worst titles Amicus ever put out. Hey, they can’t all be masterpieces.

If you’re ever interested in watching a boring movie that rips off gear from a Doctor Who picture and features telepathic aliens that use really bad planning skills, slave labor, and space Ebola, well, then you just found yourself a winner.

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