Director: Sobey Martin
Writer: William Welch
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 11/15/1967
Production #: 1511
When a foggy substance engulfs the Jupiter 2, crew members begin disappearing one at a time until only Will and Dr. Smith remain. Confined to a spooky dimension, the Robinson family and Major West confront a ghostly being who preys upon the deep-rooted fears, prejudices, and insecurities of its victims.
Arguably the scariest episode of Lost in Space, “Space Creature” should be requisite viewing for enthusiasts of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. The crude appearance of the id monster may, however, prompt snickering from the audience on occasion.
While impersonating Dr. Smith, the id monster behaves in a cruel and malevolent fashion toward an unsuspecting Will. Specifically, the creature (in Smith’s body) addresses the Robinson boy in a deep, menacing tone of voice; strikes him on the face; and chases him through the Jupiter 2 before revealing his true identity to the child—a chilling display that will appeal to fans of the sinister Dr. Smith from early season one.
Likely inspired by the Shadowman from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the space creature embodies a mysterious, terrifying presence by maintaining an indistinct form during his interactions with the Robinson family. Nevertheless, the concept of a “bed sheet” monster borders on the absurd—suspension of disbelief notwithstanding.
Also problematic is the existence of a third level inside the Jupiter 2, the external layout of which appears incapable of containing more than one or two decks at any given time.
Similar to the Beta XII-A entity from Star Trek’s “Day of the Dove,” the alien boogeyman in “Space Creature” feeds upon negative emotions (e.g. fear, hate, and self-doubt) in order to survive and flourish—a fascinating premise for a science fiction story, and one that might have delivered a more profound impact had the personality flaws of Will, John, Penny, Judy, Maureen, Dr. Smith, and Major West been explored in greater detail.
In contrast to “The Astral Traveler,” “The Cave of the Wizards,” and many other horror-themed episodes of Lost in Space, “Space Creature” employs a dark, serious approach toward examining topics of a mature and disturbing nature. Especially worth praising is the performance of Jonathan Harris, whose portrayal of the possessed Dr. Smith deserves its reputation as a series highlight.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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