Thursday, October 04, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Day 4 - Movie

I hadn't planned on watching so many alien parasite movies this year, but here's another one; Night of the Blood Beast (1958). An astronaut crash lands on earth and is found dead by the team of scientists sent to retrieve him. Oddly, when his body is examined, even though all of his vital organs have shut down he maintains the blood pressure and temperature of a living man and his blood cells go on living, even though he now has a foreign, non-human blood cell in addition to his normal red and white blood cells. He also has crescent shaped lesions, from where something apparently broke out of his body. The  team of scientists find themselves isolated as magnetic interference cuts off their power and ability to contact the outside world. There's also a strange, monstrous creature on the loose, and then when things  seem to be unable of getting any stranger, one of the team members is found with his head torn off, and the dead astronaut is back on his feet, alive, and harboring gestating alien parasites.

For some inexplicable reason I've been wanting to see this movie for some time. While I don't regret watching it, it was not a good movie, and was bad in that frustrating way that occurs when the movie has a germ of intelligence and originality in it, but can't rise to serve that glimmer of hope.

The characters in this are the most jaded people I've ever seen in a movie, taking everything in stride. One of the medical personnel in charge of examining and monitoring the dead astronaut is the woman he was engaged to, though she doesn't display any grief over his death until well into the movie, and her colleague's attempt at comforting her was bizarrely inadequate. The rest of the scientific team are a bunch of hot heads who approach every task through clenched teeth and an urge to destroy.

The movie actually becomes compelling once the dead astronaut returns to life and pleads for the others not to destroy the alien parasites growing inside of him, and also not to destroy the related hideous monster roaming around, but to try and communicate with it and find out what it wants. In spite of his physical predicament, he's the only one who has a sense of optimism about what's going on, and seeks out the monster to find out what it wants. The monster says it's on earth for benevolent reasons, but is it?

Unfortunately a lot of time goes by before the astronaut's resurrection, and not much really happens until that point. At least not much interesting. With a little more effort this could have been a minor classic instead of the mostly forgettable b-movie that it is.

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