Target Earth

Year Of Release: 1954
Running Time: 75 Minutes
DVD Released By: VCI
Directed By: Sherman A. Rose
Writing Credits: Paul W. Fairman (Story: Deadly City), James H. Nicholson, Wyott Ordung, William Raynor
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Richard Denning (Frank Brooks), Kathleen Crowley (Nora King), Virginia Grey (Vicki Harris), Richard Reeves (Jim Wilson), Robert Roark (Davis, the Killer), Mort Marshall (Charles Otis), Arthur Space (Lt. General Wood), Whit Bissell (Tom, Chief research scientist), James Drake (Lieutenant), Steve Pendleton (Colonel), House Peters Jr. (Technician)

Tagline: Raw Panic The Screen Never Dared Reveal!
Tagline: Fantastic Fury Strikes From Outer Space!

Alternate Titles:
I was unable to locate any alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
There was only one robot outfit created for this film. That's why you never see more than one robot in any given shot even though there's supposed to be an army of them running around. Kathleen Crowley once represented her home state of New Jersey in the Miss American pageant. She came in sixth. Virginia Grey made her film debut as Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1927. Born into a show business family, she was discovered on the Universal lot at age 9 and promptly won a screen test. As a side note, her father was one of the Keystone Cops. He died while she was still a child.




Cast Of Characters
Frank Brooks: Man, this poor schmuck had a bad night. He comes in from out of town on a business trip, gets drunk, flashes a wad of money and then gets konked on the head in an alley and has his money stolen. Then he wakes up to find he's in a city that's been evacuated and he don't know why. At least he found himself a bit of fluff and a couple of dunks to hang out with while he's trying to survive the robot invasion.

Nora King: She was passed out in her room when the city was evacuated. She took a bunch of sleeping pills in an attempt to commit suicide in a fit of depression over the death of her husband six months earlier. She meets up with Frank, and over the course of the movie, the two of them become an item. She's kinda worthless, but at least Frank got something out of this movie besides a busted head and an empty wallet. Unfortunately he'll probably marry her and end up bleeding and broke again. You know how women are after you put a ring on their finger.

Vicki Harris: This is Vicki. She's a drunk chick with doofy teeth. She's also Jim's woman, and the two of them bicker incessantly. Beneath that bickering though, there is a genuine love between them. Unfortunately, someone should have told her that when you're standing in front of a guy who's holding a gun on you, it's not smart to stand there telling him he doesn't have the nerve to shoot you, because there's probably about a 99.9% chance he does. She did...and he did. That didn't turn out too well for her, but at least she made it to almost the end of the movie.

Jim Wilson: Even though Jim likes his booze, he's actually a good guy and does everything he can to help out in such a bizarre situation. He's been with Vicki for ten years, and even though she wanted to get married a long time ago and they both loved each other very much (in a bickering sort of a way,) he never married her. Well it doesn't really matter now, because not only did she end up dead at the end of the movie, but so did he. It's sad really, because it was hard to find a woman in the 50's who would slip you the tongue when you kissed her. There's a shot in the movie where they kiss and when they pull apart, you see her pulling her tongue back. Yeah baby!

Charles Otis: This guy was nuts. See his picture there? Nuts! He started out kinda sane, but then after he met up with the group and hung out with them for a few, he decided to take his chances and made a run for it. Now personally I didn't find them that annoying, but this guy sure as hell did. Unfortunately for him, about twenty feet out the door a robot spotted him and cooked him with its eye beam. So basically this guy did about three scenes, made five bucks and got a kick in the butt off the set before he had a chance to pig out at the catering wagon. Hahaha...sucker!

Davis: I think they only threw this scumbag in the movie to be a pain in the butt and to kill Vicki. There really wasn't any other reason for him to be there, and after he killed Vicki, Jim killed him, so basically that was the end of his involvement in the film. Worthless character? Yes. Fat and happy with ten bucks in his wallet and a belly full of catered food because he was in the movie longer than Charles? You betcha!

Lt. General Wood: This is the guy in charge of the defenses against the alien robot invaders. Basically he doesn't have a clue, nothing he tried was effective, and he pretty much just deferred to Tom the scientist when his brute force tactics didn't work. I think he was only really in the movie so Tom would have someone to tell his research findings to.

Tom: This guy is the government scientist who eventually figured out how to stop the robots dead in their tracks by using sound waves on a certain resonant frequency to crack the glass in the CRTs of the robots. I feel sorry for him though. He basically saves the planet from invasion, and he didn't even get a woman or anything. Poor guy. Poor celibate guy.

The Robot: Ah yes, high tech at its best. This thing was even cheap lookin' for 1954, but in it's own way, it was actually pretty cool. It's got a beam that shoots out it's eye that kills people almost instantly, and they apparently have bigger weapons that can take out whole squadrons of military planes. They're basically indestructible and unstoppable. That is, they are until they run into those pesky sound waves. Instead of resonant sounds, they should have just played them some Barbara Streisand records. That's enough to drive anyone away.




Screen Shots
(Reviewer's Note: Sorry about the lack of screenshots in this one. There just weren't many shots I could do anything funny with.)

I'm sure you all can come up with your own caption for this one.

"I bet I can burp louder than any of you! Here watch..."

BUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPP!!!!!

"Hey! That was almost puke! I win!!!"

"Oh Frank! We're gonna die! Here, let me grab your butt just one last time..."




Best Quote

"You don't need a reason to die Frank - just one to live."



- Nora telling Frank about how she had tried to commit suicide by swallowing sleeping pills the night before. - (Reviewer's Note: Nothing funny about this one. I just thought it was a really profound statement, and one that's very true.)

 


 

"Don't kid yourself honey. The only reason I open my trap is to keep my teeth from chattering."

- Nora wanted to know how Vicki could joke at a time like this. This was Vicki's answer. - (Reviewer's Note: Yeah, and with teeth like hers, keeping them from clacking together is a pretty big task.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Target Earth
In one of the film's few semi-exciting scenes, the alien robot comes bustin' through the window and chases our little group upstairs. It probably wasn't after them at all. It was probably just so bored with this movie that it was looking for a bed to crash out in until it was over. I know I sure was.



Summary and Conclusion

Target Earth feels more like a Twilight Zone episode than it does a good ol' cheesy sci-fi movie. While there's nothing wrong with the Twilight Zone...I've seen it. I didn't need to see it again in film form when all the elements were here to actually create a really great 50's sci-fi epic. Well, that may be overstating it a bit, but it could have been a lot better than it was.

The story revolves mostly around four people who wake up one day to find that they're the only ones left alive in the city. Once they find each other, they team up in an effort to not only survive, but to also find out what's going on and where everyone went. See, the alien robots came down during the night and the city was evacuated. Unfortunately, these people were all asleep or knocked out or drunk or whatever while everyone else was evacuated and they ended up getting left behind. The military was helpless against the robots, and the only hope for the world is if a government scientist can figure out a way to stop the robot army by performing a series of tests on a captured one that had been damaged by some unknown means. If they can figure out what damaged it and made it shut down, they can save the world from alien invasion.

The biggest problem with this movie isn't the acting or the dialogue or anything like that. Those are well done, and the robot is full of 50's cheesiness. So what was the problem? There was almost no action! We hardly see the robot at all, and when we do, it's never for very long and never all that exciting. Plus, there's supposed to be an army of these things, but you never see more than one at any given time. The majority of the film revolved around the group of four that got left behind during the evacuation, their interactions and interpersonal relationships and how they move around the city looking for shelter. Another small portion of the film was devoted to the military scientist's efforts to find a way to stop them. Unfortunately, only a miniscule part of the film was devoted to the robots and their invasion of the city. Unfortunately, that's the one thing that you really want to see when you watch a movie like this. You don't need to know the in depth backgrounds of the characters and stuff like that. You just wanna see robots blowin' stuff up! We just don't get that with this film, and it was really disappointing that we didn't.

So where does that leave us for a rating? Well, the acting was great and the dialogue was great...and yes, even the robot was kinda cool, yet the movie, while not massively boring, wasn't all that exciting either. This is specifically the kind of a movie I had to add the Snoozer rating for, and unfortunately, that's the rating I have to give this film. Much like The Alligator People, this movie is really well done, but is almost completely missing the excitement factor that would have scored this film a rating more in line with what I would have liked to have given it. Had it been more exciting and had more robot scenes, I probably would have given this movie a four, or maybe even a five bee rating. As it is though, you're more likely to fall asleep about half way through than you are to be sitting there on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. So much wasted potential, all for the lack of a budget and some imagination...

B-Movie Central's Rating: Snoozer

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