“You went after a story about a guided missile.” “We found the missile and took a ride in it, to another planet.”
Dr. Grood (Michael Fox) is a mad scientist with delusions of grandeur. In his aim for Universal domination he has taken over the plane Ergro. He’s kidnapped Professor Edmund Dorn (Forrest Taylor) and is using his genius and passing it off as his own. Dorn is trapped on Ergro doing Grood’s bidding.
Grood uses an army of human “robots” as slave laborers. The robots are humans that have been hypnotized. They are put to work mining a mineral called ‘cosmonium’. It is a powerful mineral that is not found on Earth. The robots mine the mineral for Grood. Grood in turn uses the mineral to power all his world domination weapons. Grood has now set his sights to take over Earth.
There have been reports of UFO’s near Grood’s secret hideout on Mount Vulcan. Reporter Rex Barrow (Judd Holdren) and his photographer Tim Johnson (Ted Thorpe) investigate. While roaming around they come across Professor Edmund’s daughter Ella (Vivian Mason). The three of them are captured by Grood and sent as slave labor to Grood’s head minion, Reckov (Gene Roth), on Ergro. Now trapped on Ergro this small band of Earthlings is working together to thwart Grood’s plans and, not only free Ergro, but also save Earth from certain domination.
“The Lost Planet: Conqueror of Space” was released in 1953 and was directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet. The Lost Planet was a Columbia Pictures 15-chapter serial. It was the last interplanetary-themed serial ever made and the last of three science fiction serials released by Columbia.
It, supposedly, was meant to be a sequel to “Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere”. It does use some of the plot-points, props, stock footage, sets, and the interplanetary space ship or cosmo-jet. Even some of the cast from Captain Video are recycled however, there are enough differences that I would refrain from calling it a direct sequel. There are no Video Rangers but their uniforms are now being worn by "slaves" created electronically by Reckov, the dictator of the Lost Planet and by Dr. Grood, the megalomaniac scientist.
The serial has gotten a lot of bad reviews. Some have called it the worst serial ever made. I have to disagree on that point. Granted I’m not an aficionado of cliffhanger serials but there is much to appreciate here. First; you have all those cool toys; the cosmic cannon, cosmo-jet, de-thermo ray, stellerscope, axial propeller, prysmic catapult, flural ray, thermic disintegrator, etc., etc. Second; not a lot of fist fights. Third; Michael Fox. This is one of his earlier movies and probably his first major role. He is front and center of this wacky tale. His over the top acting is fabulous.
My only pet peeve on this one is; why not just take everyone’s helmet off if you want to un-hypnotize them. Not everyone’s brain is going to be scrambled eggs. There may be enough people with their senses restored that you can overtake the bad guys.
Chapter titles: 1. Mystery of the Guided Missile 2. Trapped by the Axial Propeller 3. Blasted by the Thermic Disintegrator 4. The Mind Control Machine 5. The Atomic Plane 6. Disaster in the Stratosphere 7. Snared by the Prysmic Catapult 8. Astray in Space 9. The Hypnotic Ray Machine 10. To Free the Planet People 11. Dr. Grood Defies Gravity 12. Trapped in a Cosmo Jet 13. The Invisible Enemy 14. In the Grip of the De-Thermo Ray 15. Sentenced to Space