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Terror from the Year 5000 (1958)

Approved | | Sci-Fi | January 1958 (USA)
Prof. Erling and his financial backer Victor build a prototype time machine to snatch objects from the past. Latest find, a statuette, radiometrically dates to 5200 AD! When this draws ... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Ward Costello Ward Costello ... Dr. Robert Hedges
Joyce Holden ... Claire Erling
Frederic Downs Frederic Downs ... Prof. Howard Erling
John Stratton John Stratton ... Victor
Salome Jens ... Future Woman / Nurse
Fred Herrick Fred Herrick ... Angelo
Beatrice Furdeaux Beatrice Furdeaux ... Miss Blake
Jack Dimond Jack Dimond ... First Lab Technician (as Jack Diamond)
Fred Taylor Fred Taylor ... Second Lab Technician
Bill Downs Bill Downs ... Dr. Blair
William Cost William Cost ... Joe the Bartender


Prof. Erling and his financial backer Victor build a prototype time machine to snatch objects from the past. Latest find, a statuette, radiometrically dates to 5200 AD! When this draws colleague Richard Hedges to the island lab, Erling reveals that 20th-century objects put in the machine seem to be "traded" for analogous future objects by intelligent life. And on the sly, Victor's been trying to get a living visitor. Does the future need help, or is the present in danger? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From Time Unborn ... A Hideous She-Thing!




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

January 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Girl from 5000 A.D. See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

La Jolla Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The working title of the film was The Girl from 5000 A.D. See more »


The Carbon 14 method does not work with metal objects but only on materials that were once living (or part of a living organism). In other words: the method can be applied to such materials as wood, leather and bone - but not metal or mineral. See more »


First Lab Technician: [Touches the statue with his bare fingers, then uses Geiger counter] Hey, this thing's radioactive. It's hotter than a firecracker.
See more »


Music by Jack Shaindlin
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User Reviews

"Please! It's Horrible!"
3 March 1999 | by stryker-5See all my reviews

1950's science fiction films are so earnest and so crummy that it's impossible not to like them. "Terror From The Year 5000" is a prime example of the genre.

On a lonely island in Florida's Everglades, a professor is experimenting with time travel. The project is successful to the extent that Prof Erling and his assistant Victor are able to trade artefacts with people from the year 5,200AD. One of these items finds its way to the desk of Dr. Bob Hodges, a museum curator and all-round good guy, who is amazed to learn that the figurine dates from the future.

Bob Hodges heads for the Everglades, where Prof Erling and his beautiful daughter Claire make him welcome. Victor, meanwhile, has started putting in some unauthorised overtime in the lab, with alarming results...

Robert Gurney wrote, produced and directed this gauche piece of malarkey with its wooden acting, daffy plot and laughable sets. The scientific gadgetry in the lab is particularly amusing.

The howlers come thick and fast. Bob explains to his secretary Miss Blake (boy, if there were only an oscar for stodgy delivery ...) that carbon-14 dating places the statuette in the future. Just how carbon-14 can do that is baffling to ordinary mortals like me! When Bob fires his shotgun, we hear the shot but there is no muzzle flash from the dummy weapon. When a female in a nurse's uniform opens the door, somebody says, "You must be the nurse". The clock on the lab wall shows silly times which don't match the sunlight outside. The prof's gadget disrupts all machinery in the district when it's switched on. We see a TV set in a local bar pack up, but nobody seems to mind.

There are many unintentional laughs ("I'll do my exploring in the laboratory, if you don't mind", "And then the missile centre fired him" etc etc). Every plot point is laboured to death. The non-sequiturs abound. Nobody flinches when it is realised that they are all contaminated with radioactivity, and no-one warns Claire when she walks in. Later, it turns out that the lab has protective suits available. When Victor breaks a pane of glass in the time chamber, he picks up a replacement pane of exactly the right size which happens to be lying beside him. When Bob gets out of bed and follows Victor, he unaccountably has his shoes on. Why would Victor go to the trouble of getting in bed in the same room as Bob, only to sneak out and tamper with the gadget? And why at this stage would Bob want to follow him?

It goes on. The 'monster' speaks perfect Greek and English, even though it comes from five millennia in the future. The men know there's a dangerous creature out there, but they stand back and let Claire answer the door. The monster kills Angelo easily, but Claire is able to unmask it without any trouble. When they find the nurse's body, Hedges and Erling stroll back to the house as if they were picking mushrooms. Nobody calls the police when Angelo is found dead. Bob and the Professor abandon the house, with its two women and sick man, to go searching the island together. Nobody thinks of calling for help. The nurse, in her immaculate uniform, has to walk up to the house through swamp and jungle without a guide. When the alarm is sounded, nobody wonders where Victor is until after it's all over.

The editing is atrocious. We see the Professor waiting for his cue before speaking, and the lumpy back-and-forth dialogue cuts are dreadful. The close-ups of Bob and Claire swimming in the pond are oh-so-obviously filmed in a studio tank. At one point, Victor says "Professor, we're wasting our time." One can't help thinking he's right.

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