Classic Sci-Fi Movies (BFS/AHT)
Picture: C- each, except C for Teenagers Sound: C- Extras: D Films:
In The Year 2889 (1967) C-
Teenagers From Outer Space (1959)
They Came From Beyond Space (1967)
Of all the triple features on a single DVD BFS has issued
under the American Home Treasures label, the best by default is Classic
Sci-Fi Movies, which manages to dig up some of the more interesting
materials. They also happen to be in
slightly better shape in a few places, but marginally.
In The Year 2889 is the biggest wreck, trying to
be some kind of post-Apocalyptic tale, but never gaining momentum or
believability. The cannibalism and
telepathy are never convincing as predatory or as horrors. Paul Petersen has no idea what to do in it,
the script and directing do not help, and the acting is bad. At least it is about an interesting subject,
so it fails in living up to a premise, instead of having a stupid one to begin
with. It is also a guide on what NOT to
do with such material.
Teenagers From Outer Space is a
dumb film, but in such a way that it is a cult film of sorts. A spaceship drill-lands in a remote area,
and teenage-looking aliens pop out to invade.
The film is stupid, with dialogue and acting to match, but we are
talking in the band DEVO’s league. The
monochrome, full-frame transfer is average, but that is better than just about
any of the other films in this DVD series.
That leaves They Came From Beyond Space, which is
far from regarded as a great film, but far better than critics seem to
think. Not a masterwork, but Freddie
Francis, the great British cinematographer-turned-sometimes-director has
created something here that goes beyond a revival run in the Mystery Science
Theater screening room. Milton
Subotsky wrote the screenplay, having previously co-written the underrated John
Moxey Horror thriller City of the Dead (1960, reviewed elsewhere on this
site) and both Peter Cushing Dr. Who feature film outings. It takes the isolation and style of TV’s The
Avengers, and crosses it with several alien invasion themed stories. Too bad the print is so bad here. At the beginning, it is credited to
Eastmancolor through Humphreys, while saying Color by Pathé at the end. More on this when we get a better print.
The usual, brief trivia, briefer bio/filmography info. And
“ten compelling” cases of UFO sighting are included. If you find the DVD for nothing, at least it might be worth a few
laughs. Otherwise, we’ll se about a
better transfer on They Came From Beyond Space.
- Nicholas Sheffo