The Cremators (1972)
Goodness gracious...
8 February 2019
... great balls of crap!

A burning alien sphere crashes to Earth, the only witnesses an Indian and a fish: the Indian was engulfed by the ball and turned to ash; the fish swam away. So begins this utterly atrocious low-budget sci-fi oddity from director Harry Essex, who is perhaps best known for writing '50s sci-fi classic It Came from Outer Space.

The story kicks off proper three centuries after the arrival of the flaming globe, at the lake into which it sank. It is there that entomologist Dr. Iane Thorne (Marvin Howard) discovers strange minerals that glow and make weird beeping sounds; he shows these to his friend and fellow scientist Dr. Willy Seppel (Eric Allison), but neither can figure out what it is they have found. Further samples are found inside the body of the cat belonging to Thorne's long-haired draft dodger pal Mason (Mason Caulfield). Meanwhile, the alien sphere has been emerging from the lake and attacking people, reducing them to cinders. Can Thorne work out what the hell is going on before the viewer falls asleep?

Essex's direction is lifeless, Howard makes for a bland protagonist, and the film's visual effects are far from special (especially considering the man responsible, Doug Beswick, would go on to much better things). Countless cutaways to the bleeping stones pad out the runtime, and there's a dull romance between Thorne and Seppel's niece Jeanne (aria De Aragon) for good measure. The drawn-out finale, which sees Thorne laying a trap for the glowing orange orb, is completely bereft of tension and excitement.

1/10. If you should happen across this film, be like the fish and swim away.
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