Director: Roger Corman
Writer: Lou Rusoff
Cast: Peter Graves, Beverly Garland, Lee Van Cleef, Sally Fraser, Russ Bender, Jonathan Haze, Dick Miller, Taggart Casey, Paul Harber, Karyne Kadler, Charles Griffith, Marshal Bradford, Tom Jackson, and David McMahon
Composer: Ronald Stein
Release Date: 7/15/1956
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Driven by utopian ideals, Dr. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef) guides an alien monster—one of the last remaining members of a dying Venusian race—to Earth. Upon arrival, the creature begins assimilating humans via mind control devices—with resistance from Dr. Paul Nelson (Peter Graves), a colleague of Dr. Anderson.
It Conquered the World is marred by hideous dialogue, Z-grade production values, and borrowed subtext from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This film may, however, appeal to Roger Corman fans, B movie buffs, and enthusiasts of classic sci-fi/horror.
Elevated by the performances of Peter Graves, Beverly Garland, and Lee Van Cleef, It Conquered the World compensates for its awful execution, tedious philosophizing, and ridiculous creature effects by showcasing a cast of A-level actors. Especially compelling are the conversations between Cleef’s character and that of Graves, who acts as a moral compass for his misguided friend.
Resembling a giant cucumber, the Venusian creature fails to present a credible threat from the viewer’s perspective—similar to Tybo the Carrot Man from Lost in Space, who, despite operating with nefarious intentions, parades around in a foam costume while threatening the Robinson family.
Also problematic is the main protagonist, who, without making a single effort to redeem those under alien control, goes on a thoughtless killing spree in the final act—a practical but callous approach to defeating the assimilated humans.
Using science fiction to expose the dangers of collectivism, It Conquered the World deserves praise for its ideological considerations—reminiscent of Star Trek: The Next Generation, wherein the Borg Collective attempts to “perfect” humanity and other races by removing all emotions, personalities, and individual thoughts from existence.
Although serious in tone and somewhat thought-provoking, It Conquered the World is a deeply flawed Corman offering. Specifically terrible is the Venusian leader and his bat-like creatures, which result in comic relief of the unintentional variety.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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