An alien agent from the distant planet Davana is sent to Earth via a high-tech matter transporter. There, he terrorizes Southern California in an attempt to acquire blood for his dying race, the result of a devastating nuclear war.
Lt. Col. Glenn Manning is inadvertently exposed to a plutonium bomb blast at Camp Desert Rock. Though burned over 90% of his body, he survives, and begins to grow in size. As he grows, his ... See full summary »
A group of lonely Viking women build a ship and set off across the sea to locate their missing menfolk, only to fall into the clutches of the barbarians that also hold their men captive. ... See full summary »
The license plate for Dr. van Ponder's car was 9Z-9324 NY. See more »
Most of the action seems to take place in New York, the home of the United Nations (and also based in views of the car license plates). But whenever a newspaper is flashed on the screen, it is always based in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. Further, all satellite launches in the 1950s were from Cape Canaveral in Florida. See more »
Dr. Pol Van Ponder:
I have no desire to harm you. Our necessity governs action. The warning from outer space was valid. It came from a superior intelligence. An intelligence able to transform energy into matter, and back again. You once told me I was not human. You were correct. I am above the human. A transformation which can be yours. This satellite will never return to Earth. Its disintegration upon contact with the energy barrier will end Project Sigma, and all similar projects to come. The creatures of your ...
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For those who enjoy the schlock scifi spectrum of cinema, this Roger Corman epic will be fun and interesting. And by 1958 Corman standards, this film is indeed an epic...it has at least 3 different sets as opposed to the usual 1 or 2, and has hundreds of feet of stock footage from other films, greatly expanding upon Corman's usual trailer park scope of action. There are a number of curiosities about this film.
Of particular note is the footage containing matte-paintings of rocketships, and the rocket miniature FX footage...these segments look nothing like typical Corman stuff, being almost barely acceptable. Corman loved to buy foreign movies on the cheap, and the rockets look like the ones from an old Italian pic...I bet you a nickel all the exterior rocket shots are from a foreign film Corman bought.
There's also a strange comedy relief bit in which 2 necking teenagers find a small alien artifact...one of the teens is young Mitzi McCall, whose career occasionally flirted with modest success...anyway, this bit is totally out of tone with the rest of the film...it must have been filmed either before or after the rest of the movie and edited in. This short sequence does provide information and advance the plot, but the rest of the film is so deadly serious that this sequence is bizarre. It does hint at the horror/scifi comedies that were just around the corner for Corman.
The deadly serious and low key tone is effective for an invasion/paranoia story. Richard Devon is very effective in his portrayal of an ambivalent alien invader disguised as an Earth scientist. The loyal and long-suffering Dick Miller does an unusual turn as a square-jawed hero, and although he is noticeably shorter than the villain, his performance does not come up short.
The title of this film is often discussed. IMO, the idea of calling the film 'War of the Satellites', besides capitalizing on the newly popular term, also evokes the Cold War. In 1957, the USA considered the Soviet satellite Sputnik as a veiled threat...and the frantic haste of the USA to launch its own satellite was in fact a counter-move in the Cold War. Therefore, at the time of this film's production, a real War of the Satellites had already begun...on Earth.
It is not unusual for Corman's films to contain a degree of thinly-veiled political commentary.
Here is a great quote, spoken by one of the astronauts, after the evil alien invader has offered him a chance to join the aliens: 'You can go to Hell! I was born a human and I'll die one before I join a race that kills innocent people for abstract ideas!'
Of course, that line is highly ironic...human beings kill innocent people all the time over abstract ideas, such as capitalism, communism, democracy, fascism, Christianity, Islam, etc.
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