KILLERS FROM SPACE
Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
Michael J. Nelson
What's it about
In KILLERS FROM SPACE, Peter Graves plays a government scientist/pilot who is presumed dead after his plane crashes during a nuclear bomb test. After turning up with no recollection of how he survived the incident, he finds he has a scar on his chest that wasn't there before. It just so happens that (*GASP*) he was kidnapped by aliens who are plotting to overthrow the human race.
Keep in mind, none of this really matters. The movie is really about the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 guys (Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy and Michael J. Nelson), who are now dubbed The Film Crew, although not much has changed (other than their missing silhouettes on-screen). They still take an older, cheesy, amateurish movie and mock the hell out of it with a playful running commentary.
Is it good movie?
I haven’t seen much MST3K, but the idea of sitting down and listening to three guys take witty potshots at bad movies certainly appeals to me. In this day in age, where comedy is usually a matter of envelope-pushing bad taste, it's kind of charming to come across a brand of humor that is so aggressively old-fashioned. This is definitely how The Film Crew operates. Just like MST3K, the comments are edited so as to (mostly) not interrupt any dialogue or plot points, allowing the viewer to follow along with the “plot” of the film. With its embarrassing acting, inane editing, laughable effects and consistent gaps in logic, KILLERS FROM SPACE proves to be a fairly ideal target for some good ribbing.
Corbett, Murphy and Nelson introduce the film, and provide a breather halfway through (called the "Lunch Break") so that the viewers don't have to endure 80 straight minutes of inept moviemaking. Trust me, KILLERS FROM SPACE maintains an extraordinary level of ineptitude throughout. It features future “Biography” host Peter Graves in a performance that lacks emotion, and the trio find various synonyms for the word “wooden” while describing Mr. Graves’ acting skills. As for the killers from space of the title, they are portrayed as people in black spandex with halved ping-pong balls for eyes (what fool came up with this idea?). Later in the film, Graves finds himself confronted by giant, superimposed images of monsters that had me practically rolling on the floor. The Film Crew seemed to enjoy it as well.
It all makes for a casually enjoyable 90 minutes. Still, nothing here matches the best moments I remember from MST3K. The novelty of the concept isn’t as fresh, obviously, at this point, and I found myself wishing at times that the commentary contained more of the raw audio, like the guys laughing through the scenes. It sounds almost too polished.
Video / Audio
Video 1:33:1 Full Screen, taken from a very old print of KILLERS FROM SPACE.
Audio Digital Stereo 5.1
A single extra appears on the disc, entitled Did You Know...?. It involves a scene from KILLERS with one of the aliens taking in his native tongue, which happens to be English played backwards. When the line is played front-to-back several times, The Film Crew have us believe all the takes were really about making fun of Peter Graves. It's.... pretty lame.
If your tolerance for amiable silliness is high and you have been an MST3K fan in the past, THE FILM CREW: KILLERS FROM SPACE is definitely worth checking out. I can’t see too many new fans catching on, however.