31 Monsters in 31 Days: It Conquered the World

The creature from IT CONQUERED THE WORLD has taken its fair share of flack over the years–and rightfully so. As an object of fear it doesn’t make for a very imposing figure, being a goofy-looking interstellar cucumber. Yet despite its less-than-frightening visage it possesses a certain quirky charm, and it doesn’t hurt that the surrounding film is pretty fun, too.

Directed by Roger Corman in 1956–at the height of his five-day, ten-grand production heyday–IT CONQUERED THE WORLD is a far cry from Corman’s later Poe films, but it’s still a solid little B quickie. The story, in which a Venusian vegetable takes control of a sleepy California town, is nothing special, and echoes heavily of better works like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THE PUPPET MASTERS, but WORLD’s aided immeasurably by a fine cast: Peter Graves in a fairly bland but stoic leading role, Lee Van Cleef a welcome villain as always, questionable comic relief from Dick Miller and Jonathan Haze, and AIP vixens Beverly Garland and Sally Fraser. All of whom, along with Paul Blaisdell’s aforementioned cucumber beast, make this silly low-budgeter worth the effort.

Larry Buchanan remade this (badly) in 1966 as ZONTAR, THE THING FROM VENUS, regurgitating Corman’s original scene-for-scene, almost line-for-line in such a way that I almost found a new appreciation for Gus Van Sant’s PSYCHO redeux. Not surprisingly ZONTAR is inferior in every respect–John Agar is no Peter Graves, and Tony Huston sure as hell is no Lee Van Cleef–replacing a ridiculous-but-memorable monster with a winged pile of barf with googly eyes.

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One Response to “31 Monsters in 31 Days: It Conquered the World”

  1. […] –Blogger/author Scott Emerson is doing a 31 days 31 monsters fest on his blog. Here’s a link to his post on IT CONQUERED THE WORLD. […]

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