“I could swear the man had no face.”
A flying saucer crashes in the San Fernando Valley. It causes interference with television-radio transmissions. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) goes to investigate the outage. While investigating the police receive reports of a guy dressed in a strange outfit. He appears to be radioactive thus causing a potential hazard to the public. People who run across him are scared by his outfit and attack him. Then there is an explosion in the oil field.
Eventually they figure out that the man is really a humanoid alien from outer space. When he takes his space suit off he is invisible. Now he is running loose and creating havoc everywhere he goes. All the way to Griffith Observatory.
"Phantom From Space" was released in 1953. This little ditty was produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder. It’s another low budget “B” movie which by itself is fine. As for the movie in general, Oh dear. I’m afraid that Wilder could have learned a few things about making movies from Ed Wood on this one. There’s not much here. And that is unfortunate since there could be a lot here if done correctly.
A Theremin is used in this movie, a lot. There are times when the Theremin is used inappropriately. You don’t need to use it whenever you talk about the alien, just when you show the alien. It makes the movie silly in parts as apposed to spooky. There are chase scenes that just chew up time. The invisibility tricks are bad, but that didn’t bother me. Old “B” movies could never get that right.
It’s presented more like a detective story than a science fiction story. An interesting concept but it’s not enough to carry the movie. I didn’t enjoy the movie so much as I enjoyed the movie it could have been. The potential it had. Unfortunately that potential did not totally bear fruit. True, not much happens and the usual low-budget “B” movie problems are there. Still it’s fun for the most part. A piece of 50’s nostalgia and I’m good with that.
I felt bad for the alien. He’s stranded on a planet where he can’t communicate, everyone is trying to kill him, he’s having trouble breathing, and he’s stuck in a W. Lee Wilder movie.