Working for O.S.I., the Office of Scientific Investigation, A-Man agent Jeffrey Stewart and his partner Dan Forbes are sent to a local hardware store where they find a strong magnetic field... See full summary »
A crack space pilot returns to earth to find the planet has been devastated by some unknown forces. There are a few survivors, so he organizes them in a plan to ward off control by a group ... See full summary »
Working for O.S.I., the Office of Scientific Investigation, A-Man agent Jeffrey Stewart and his partner Dan Forbes are sent to a local hardware store where they find a strong magnetic field has magnetized every metal item in the store. Investigating further, they eventually trace the source of the magnetism to an airborn flight carrying scientist Howard Denker, now dying of radiation poisoning, who has carted on board with him a new radioactive element which he has bombarded with alpha particles for 200 hours. The element, dubbed 'serranium' grows geometrically by creating matter out of energy which it absorbs from metallic objects surrounding it. Stewart calculates that if the substance is not destroyed soon that within 24 hours or so it will have grown large enough to throw Earth out of its orbit. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Uses stock footage of the underground magneto-dynamo from the German science fiction thriller Gold (1934). See more »
The Canadian scientists describe how cold it is in the bottom of the mine shaft. Mines get warmer the deeper they go. See more »
It's hungry! It has to be fed constantly - or it will reach out its magnetic arm and grab at anything within its reach and kill it. It's monstrous, Stewart, monstrous. It grows bigger and bigger!
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Though I was never that good at physics, or indeed any science, my passable knowledge of the workings of energy, atoms and whatnot suggests to me that the premise of this film is completely crazy. Though I guess at the time it might well have passed as an authentic speculative piece of hard science fiction nowadays there is little doubt that it will never be possible to create a deadly rogue radioactive element that can increase itself in size every twelve hours and cause powerful magnetic disruption. I distrust scientific experiments as much as the next chump but I don't think the eggheads could pull something like this off, even by accident. Fortunately this film has taut direction from Curt Siodmak and a fun script by Ivan Tors, full of techno babble and weird shenanigans to keep the film from ever becoming distracting in its implausibility. Quite on the contrary there is a sense of verve and commitment to the film that makes it a whole lot of gripping fun, which is especially remarkable given that the enemy is essentially a rock and the film has little more than stock footage, magnetised objects moving around and some other cheap effects to represent the menace. The cast works nicely, with Richard Carlson and King Donovan good value if unspectacular as the heroes, and Leonard Mudie gives an interesting performance as the ill fated creator of the deadly element. The film does slacken a touch in the mid section, as the lack of destructive effects combined with the fact that the enemy is just, well, an inanimate object causes a slowdown in the tension, but the film comes right back up to a good speed with a finale that uses a good deal of footage from the German film Gold. Not having seen that film I can't tell what exactly was taken from it but the footage is very well edited in and I hardly noticed any difference. All in all this is good offbeat stuff, with some good lines and an endearingly nutty sense of humour, for example, the computer that the heroes use goes under the acronym MANIAC. Worth a watch for old school science fiction buffs I'd say.
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