Movies – Two Sides of Corman

cormantwosides

It Conquered the world

by Bradford Knight

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A Nightmare Monster from Outer Space Threatens to Doom the Human Race

What you’re about to read actually happened on the cold, misty morn-ing of April 10, 1956. The setting was Bronson Quary, California, and at the far end of the narrow canyon lay a pile of smoulder-ing wreckage. Bits and pieces of a smashed, streamlined hull still identified the wreckage as a far-reaching U.S. satellite space probe that had come to a mysterious and untimely end. Although it was said the satellite had originally climbed into the dark-ness of space with a cargo of elec-tronic equipment, it had apparently crashed back to Earth under the ‘guidance of a visitor from the planet ‘Venus. There was a stir in the smoke-hrouded debris, and something resembling a great toadstool detached itself from the shattered machinery. High-frequency radiations emanated from the weird antennae at the top of its pointed head, and the rays spread across the countryside in an ever widening circle. Car engines stopped, electric motors died, and gas flames and all sources of energy ceased. Wherever the creature’s influence touched, It Conquered the World.

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This actually happened on that morning in front of the camera crew that was shooting a science-fiction movie for American-International Pictures. When Roger Corman, the director, yelled “Cut!”the cinematographer, helped his crew reload the 35mm Mitchell Camera; while the fill photographer, cranked up his Rollei in anticipation of another of the shots you see on these pages.

The story concerns itself with the projection of a giant satellite into outer space. the launching site being under the direction of Dr Paul Nelson (played by Peter Graves). Nelson’s scientist friend. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef) is opposed to the project. Having previously tangled with gov-ernment red tape and the rejection of all his pet theories, he hints that the satellite project might bring on an invasion hy creatures from other worlds. When the satellite finally vanishes from its orbit, Anderson, using a powerful interplanetary radio of his own design, contacts a being from Venus. who by this time has taken control of the missing satellite and brought it crashing back to Earth.

The Venusian convinces Anderson that with his help it can free man-kind forever from all forms of war and destructiveness. Sending out its own “helpers” tiny sting-ray creatures — the Venusian gains control over the leading citizens of Beechwood, home of Nelson and Anderson and the city adjacent to the satellite installation. The deadly little flying creatures dominate the people by attacking them and injecting electronic receivers into the backs of their necks.