Kind of a mixed bag. I’d trade most of the stuff before Peter Graves’ flashback for more googly-eyed alien scenes. Nothing wrong with psuedo-futuristic doodads manned by laser-equipped aliens in caves with giant bugs creeping around.
Thankfully, the aliens-from-a-dying-world-colonizing-Earth premise saves Killers From Space from ending up D.O.A. There’s almost no character development. There’s way too much scurrying here and there. Graves’ dialogue with the alien leader is almost a relief; this scene should’ve occurred much sooner.
One thread that does work well is the patronizing, even menacing glares that Graves gets from everyone in the hospital (except the doctor). It’s as though they not only don’t believe his experiences with the aliens, they’re hostile. That scene mimics the way the aliens treat him, particularly when they’re ‘operating’ on him. Both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ guys mess with his head. Maybe the message here involves our fear overcoming our decency when we’re afraid–ironically becoming more like our enemies.
Probably the scariest thing in Killers From Space isn’t sci-fi at all: the footage from the nuclear bomb test. Not so much the blast itself, but the soldiers who must’ve been exposed to some radiation, even in their trenches, not to mention the naive civilian onlookers. The seriousness of the Cold War theme deserved a more consistent portrayal of the era’s fears and dangers. I’m not expecting superb special effects in a low-budget movie, but the acting and script never made it out of the cave.
Not one of the better 50s sci-fi movies, but not terrible either. 5/10.