They Came From Beyond Space (1967)

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Today’s review was written as part of a collaboration with Todd from Cinema Monolith, continuing our tradition of reviewing potentially-so-bad-they’re-good films in the Mini Cheese-athon! Head over to Cinema Monolith to check out Todd’s take on They Came From Beyond Space.

When several meteorites crash on a farm in England, astrophysicist Dr. Curtis Temple (Robert Hutton) is eager to investigate. However, on doctor’s orders following a recent accident, he must remain tethered to his lab — so he sends his very talented assistant, Lee Mason (Jennifer Jayne), to take his place on the research team.

They Came From Beyond Space Poster
(Image via Amazon)

When the team arrives at the crash site, they find that the meteorites are not quite what they expected. When one of the scientists attempts to take a sample from one of the meteorites, the rock reacts, glowing and emitting a loud noise.

Things only get weirder from there at the crash site, and ignoring his doctor, Temple takes it upon himself to investigate what is truly happening at the farm.

They Came From Beyond Space was directed by Freddie Francis. The film was written by Milton Subotsky from the 1941 novel The Gods Hate Kansas by Joseph Millard.

I watched a pretty low-quality version of this film in Mill Creek’s Sensational ’60s box set, but even so, I knew I’d be in for fun when the groovy opening credits rolled, reminding me of a lava lamp.

The film wastes no time jumping right into its UFO-crash plot. The flying objects in question — which, of course, move through the sky in a perfect “V” formation — are mistaken for meteors by the earthlings at first. However, it soon becomes clear that these strange space objects must be studied more closely. As a scientist tries to chip off a fragment, the space rock emits a blinking light and an ear-piercing siren!

I was sort of expecting the rocks themselves to come to life and attack (in the vein of The Monolith Monsters). However, mild spoiler alert: it’s actually a body snatcher film! These snatchers have a big plan. First step: visit the bank for a million-pound loan. Next: set up a highly electrified fence around your space rocks, and use your new riches to order explosives. Clearly, these alien beings are up to no good!

There were a lot of things I really liked about this film. The score is very dramatic and, at times, sounds a bit like surf rock. In addition to its alien takeover, the film has the vibe of a spy caper as Temple tries to find the truth. And on top of that, it offers touches of medical thriller as locals begin falling prey to a “crimson plague.”

All of that combined is more than enough to keep the viewer (or, at least, this viewer) fully engaged. There’s plenty of action: gun fights, fist fights, mysterious illnesses, crash landings, and the list goes on! “Boring” is certainly never a word I’d use to describe this one.

They Came From Beyond Space card
(Image via Horrorpedia)

The film is kind of shot like a ’70s TV show. (It reminded me a bit of an extra-long episode of Wonder Woman!) It also includes interjections of news reports, which I loved; we get the public’s clueless, anxious perspective and more of an insider view. There’s also some really fun set design (including a star-shaped operating table!) and photography, particularly later on in the film, when we get a peek into the aliens’ lab.

As I’m sure you’ve picked up from this ramble, I had quite a lot of fun with They Came From Beyond Space. It’s colorful, exciting, and very much a product of the late ’60s. I’m not quite Shrinking Man-level obsessed with it, but it earns a solid 3.5 out of 5 from me.

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16 thoughts on “They Came From Beyond Space (1967)

  1. Whoo boy, do we ever differ on this one! It’s funny to read your review, and see how some of your reactions are polar opposites of mine! The one thing I liked was that everyone, acting-wise, took things seriously, but beyond that, well…at least I had Elvira!

    And I will agree with your observation on the different genres at work here: sci-fi, spy caper, medical thriller. Have you ever seen ‘It Came from Outer Space’? If not, I’d be curious to see what you thought, and for you to see how the two films compare.

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    1. My version did not have Elvira! Perhaps that’s why we diverged, haha. I have seen that one, but haven’t reviewed it. It’s been a while — I need to give it a rewatch! Might have to make a post out of it (and might wish I could revise my score of this film after 😆).

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      1. I haven’t seen it in a while, either…maybe I’ll watch it again and end up NOT liking it, in which case I might have to revise my They Came from Beyond Space rating to one that’s higher!

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    1. I can’t hate on Mill Creek, despite the quality — it’s brought so many underrated gems into my movie collection! Glad to hear you also enjoyed this one.

      Todd and I are convinced these mini-blogathons will lead us to a TCM cheesy film series hosting gig; we’ll have to invite Cheesy “B” on as a guest host! 😆

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that would be excellent news, as my brain (is in some guy in a cheap gorilla suit’s body. Help!) has a few too many “B” flicks playing in it at any given hour. :D

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  2. I like the title with the words “beyond space”. It certainly adds intrigued and mystery. What the blazes is beyond space! I hope we find out, haha but that isn’t going to be very likely.
    Such great posters for the film.
    I gotta say it was the glasses that made me put the movie on my to watch list a few years back, still not see it. And being from my homeland and loving Sci-fi I need to get on it. It sounds like you had more fun than Todd but that adds to the mystery when I get round to seeing it.
    BTW @Lindsey I’d vouch for The 27th Day on your boxset, it’s really very good imho and I’ve been meaning to do a post on it for ages.
    Brilliant fun joint little blogathon. Great reads from you both.
    Mikey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I look forward to hearing your thoughts when you do get around to watching it! And good to know re: The 27th Day! I’m looking forward to that whole set. Hoping to start watching it this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

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