Dr. Mark Davidson (John Neville) is a scientist working on a top secret space project. While on holiday two things happen. First he meets and marries Julie. Second the head of the secret project, Warren Mitchell (Geoffrey D. Munro) has made a breakthrough and has solved the first part of a formula that will give the space program a tremendous advancement in space travel. Unfortunately he dies of a brain hemorrhage and his notes go up in flames. When he returns from his holiday Mark is made head of the project in Mitchell’s place.
Secret Service agent Major Clarke (Patrick Newell) is suspicious of Mitchell’s cause of death and begins poking around the space center. Professor John Lancaster (Philip Stone) is Mark’s boss.
Lancaster explains to Clarke that what they are doing at the space center is to try to harness the power of thought and to project the mind with such force as to transfer a human anywhere they want to be, even in outer space. Teleportation through mental thought. Such an undertaking requires the work of scientists all over the world working on various parts of the project. Clarke tells Lancaster that there have been American and Russian scientists who have died the same way as Mitchell.
Clarke becomes interested in Mark and especially his new wife. Because of the project’s sensitivity Julie is investigated. Clarke finds out that there is no record of Julie ever existing before her marriage to Mark. Mark himself begins to get spooked by his wife. According to him she sleeps with her eyes open, never blinks and has no pulse. When Lancaster comes over for dinner he sees Julie take a hot casserole out of the oven using just her hands and not being burned by the hot pan. Major Clarke has also noticed that she does not blink. There is something unearthly about Julie.
As a precaution Mark is relieved of his duties. Working at home Mark manages to figure out what Mitchell did before he died. This breakthrough puts Mark’s life in danger and his wife may be the one who Mark should be afraid of.
“Unearthly Stranger” was released in 1963 and was directed by John Krish. It is a low budget British science fiction film.
This well done science fiction movie has been almost forgotten. The story is intriguing and a lot of fun to watch. Although the underlying premise may seem a little farfetched it is presented in a dramatic and sober way. It is quite suspenseful and moody with lots of noir elements that add intensity to the movie. I would even go so far as to call it a British noir film. It is one of those forgotten gems that need to be remembered.
The film has almost no special effects and relies totally on the story and the actors to draw you in. And it does that effectively. The nicely done cinematography is an added bonus that gives the film a creep factor that makes up for any budget constraints.