"The word enemy is about to disappear from the human language."
This is Roger Corman at either his best or worst. I can’t decide. It may have a weird looking monster but it’s got a lot of star power. Peter Graves, Beverly Garland, and Lee Van Cleef head the line up.
The story is about an alien from Venus. He is from a dying race and he comes here to take over the Earth. He is helped by a disgruntled scientist, Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef), who believes the alien is here to rescue mankind instead of conquer it. Tom will even sell out his best friend, Dr. Paul Nelson (Peter Graves). The aliens attach mind control devises, which look like rubber bats, to a few select people until more can be made for everyone else. The alien stops all power in the area to better control people. Only those who have been taken over have power.
"It Conquered the World" was released in 1956 and was directed by Roger Corman. I found it interesting that some of the aspects of the movie are similar to others that came before it. “It conquered the World” was released in 1956. In it, the thought control devises are implanted in the back of the neck. This is similar to “Invaders from Mars” 1953. Of course the same year as “It” came out so did “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” 1956 which is another movie where people were being “taken over” so to speak. Then there is the power interruption which is similar to “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 1951. It seems that a lot of aliens want to take over the world and either annihilate humans or rule over them. It’s no wonder that alien invasion movies like this were often looked at as warnings about communism during the cold war era.
The monster’s name is “Beluah”. It’s been called everything from a pickle, to a cucumber, to an inverted ice cream cone with fangs. It’s also been named "The Tee Pee Terror", "The Cucumber Critter", and "The Carrot Monster". It is actually a fungus. Originally shorter and with a flat head they added the cone to make it taller than Beverly Garland.
(Who by the way does a kick ass performance.)
It’s either the best movie ever or the worst movie ever depending on how you look at it. If you really listen to the dialogue you’ll see that much of it is very profound. Especially when you add to that the serious acting of its stars and their great performances. Had the monster been better it would have been taken more seriously and would probably have been on the top 10 monster movie list. The actual alien, however, makes the movie look more like a cheezy low budget “B” movie. Which is what a lot of people like about it. It’s mindless fun. It may scare a 4 year old but that’s it. The underlying story, however, is actually scary when you really look at it. Alas, I think “It Conquered the World” will never really get its due.