Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Spain/Italy, 1965. Castilla Cooperativa Cinematográfica, Italian International Film. Story by Ib Melchior, Screenplay by Mario Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua, Callisto Cosulich, Antonio Roman, Rafael J. Salvia, English version by Louis M. Heyward, Ib Melchior, based on the story One Night Of 21 Hours by Renato Pestriniero. Cinematography by Antonio Rinaldi. Produced by Fulvio Lucisano. Music by Gino Marinuzzi Jr.. Production Design by Giorgio Giovannini. Costume Design by Gabriele Mayer. Film Editing by Romana Fortini, Antonio Gimeno.
Brightly colourful science-fiction horror film by B-movie champion Mario Bava, about a group of astronauts whose ships are drawn by an overwhelmingly powerful gravitational force onto a mysterious planet. Once there they are all taken over by a virus that makes them sadistically violent towards each other, at least temporarily, but thankfully their captain Barry Sullivan is unaffected and cures them by knocking them out…temporarily (why he is unaffected is probably best left unasked). Exploring the territory around them, the crew discover that the planet is inhabited by unseen alien villains that need humans as hosts in order to survive. One by one they attack members of the group as the remaining astronauts, who don terrific outfits of gorgeous black leather, do their best to survive. Bava was a masterful image maker who gets a lot out of the colour cinematography in this film, each shot bursting with gorgeous reds and blues, but his story is derivative and confusing (even for this genre of filmmaking) and the fact that most of it is shot on two or three main sets is much too obvious. It should have a sense of fun kitsch going for it, especially considering the silly props and hopelessly terrible visual effects, but it’s boring and its action dwindles quickly.