Horror on the Lens: Killers From Space (dir by W. Lee Wilder)

This is the one with the googly-eyed aliens.

Killers From Space was released in 1954 and, in many ways, it’s typical of the sci-fi B-movies that were released at the time. A nuclear scientist (Peter Graves) crashes the airplane that he’s flying. Everyone thinks that he’s dead but, a day later, he shows up at the army base. He says he can’t remember anything about the crash but once he’s put under hypnosis, he remembers being abducted by a bunch of aliens. No one believes his story but Graves knows what happened and he’s determined to thwart the aliens before they can sap away all of Earth’s energy. And by Earth, I mean America because this film is from 1954 and every character in the movie understands that there’s only one nation that matters!

With a running time of only 70 minutes, it’s a standard alien invasion flick. It’s perhaps a bit distinguished by the presence of Peter Graves, who handles his role with dignity.  Graves was one of those actors who could deliver even the most ludicrous dialogue with a certain amount of gravitas and the film certainly gives him plenty of chances to do just that.  Graves has the perfect deep, resonant establishment voice.  Just the sound of it makes the viewer think of America.  As such, there’s something undeniably fun about him deploying that voice for a film about an invasion of googly-eyed aliens.  And the film is also somewhat notorious for being one of the many B-movie to be directed by Lee Wilder, the brother of Billy Wilder.  Billy Wilder not only perfected the modern comedy but he also made some of the most important film noirs ever made.  He was a master of every genre and someone who inspired countless filmmakers.  He directed witty masterpieces like Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment.  Billy Wilder made the first major film about alcoholism, The Lost Weekend. Billy Wilder won Oscars and competed at Cannes. Lee Wilder made movies like Killers From Space.  The Cannes elitists never invited Lee Wilder to their festival and, watching his films, one gets the feeling that it was the festival’s lost.  Ironically, both directors made films that continue to intrigue viewers, though for very different reasons.  Billy Wilder gave us an amoral Hollywood screenwriter narrating a film from beyond the grave.  Lee Wilder gave us googly-eyed aliens.  And true film lovers love both of them for their entertaining contributions to world cinema.

With all that in mind, the main thing that people remember about Killers From Outer Space are the aliens and …. well, who can blame them? Seriously, look at them!

I mean, obviously they’re just big googly eyes and half the time, they don’t even fit correctly. You can probably buy eyes like that for yourself if you really wanted to. But still, the image of those big eyed aliens is undeniably creepy! You may quickly forget most of what happens in Killers From Space. It’s not that memorable of a film, to be honest. But you will never forget those eyes!

One response to “Horror on the Lens: Killers From Space (dir by W. Lee Wilder)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/31/22 — 11/6/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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