IT! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)/Sawtell and Shefter
September 14, 2011
A ten man crew sent to Mars has only one survivor Carruthers (Marshall ‘Daktari’ Thompson) who is accused of killing the other nine crew members. A second rescue ship results in a surprise unwanted passenger IT played by Ray ‘Crash’ Corrigan of ‘B’ movie western fame, a Martian who is bent on destroying the second crew. Bullets, grenades, poison gas, electricity, and radiation, have no effect it. Director Ed Cahn was right at home having done several other sci-fi/horror genre including Voodoo Woman, Invisible Invaders, The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake, and Invasion of the Saucer Men. I also remember Cahn as director of the Jack Broder film Two-Dollar Bettor starring John Litel, a film that took a serious look at gambling addiction. You’ll recognize the other character actors from television as many appeared in many different series. Being a Hollywood movie there has to be a love triangle and this one is between Ann Anderson (Shirley Patterson), Van Heusen (Kim Spalding), and Carruthers. Finally after nearly an hour of filming they figure out that by depriving it of oxygen it will die, which it did. Conclusion to the story: six out of nineteen survived. The film is a lot of fun to watch as long as you remember it was low budget made in 1958, special effects that are laughable which make it more fun, situations such as opening the ship to let the oxygen out which is impossible, and acting is from ‘B’ type people.
In addition to a somewhat typical 50’s sci-fi score which was an orchestra without strings, Jack Cookerly was hired along with his magic box to create an eerie Theremin type music. The “Main Title” has a theme not unlike Kronos but I’ll let David Schecter of MMM explain in his liner notes. It is sliding trombones backed by brass offering a melody of dissonance and terror. It is certainly a melody you’ll want to hum later on. The staccato trumpets and xylophone end the one minute cue. “Space Ship” is all Cookerly with his electronics. In fact when you see the space ship his cue is used. “The Capitol” does offer a brief military statement of sixteen seconds a prelude to a news conference in the capitol. “Ann and the Colonel” offer a love theme from the flute slightly upbeat but the track has that feeling of suspense that something is going to happen. Again it isn’t a memorable melody you’ll want on in the background during a romantic encounter. The majority of the thirty six minutes of material was written to enhance the tension on board the ship as IT is trying to kill and create havoc. “End Title and Cast” is an exception as it has a major chord or two to recognize the characters at the end. The two bonus tracks “Bonus Electric Violin” was an unused cue and “Space Loop for 2 Electronic Instruments” was the track used whenever they were looking for the outer space sound.
Over the years I’ve found that I wanted to have all of the MMM releases and this one is no exception. Watch the movie and then listen to the score. You’ll enjoy both. This release is a limited one of a 1000 copies. If you click on the Main Title and Space Loop links you’ll be able to hear the sounds I’ve tried to describe.01 – Main Title for IT 26 – Space Loop Electronic
CD# is MMM 1959
Total Duration: 00:36:14