It Conquered the World



Notes: American International Pictures. MST3K #311 [with the short “Snow Thrills”]
Paul Nelson: Peter Graves
Claire Anderson: Beverly Garland
Tom Anderson: Lee Van Cleef
Joan Nelson: Sally Fraser
With Russ Bender, Jonathan Haze, Dick Miller, Taggart Casey, Paul Harbor.

Produced and Directed: Roger Corman
Executive Producer: James Nicholson
Screenplay: Lou Rusoff [Tom: “Sorry I have to Rus Off like this.”]
Music: Ronald Stein

Summary: “Man is ready to move into space,” declares Paul Nelson at the launching of a satellite, while Tom Anderson elsewhere warns against the launching, declaring it a “menace to the safety of the world,” and hinting that other planets want to keep Earth out of the skies: alien intelligence watches us constantly.

After Tom, Paul, Tom’s wife Claire, and Paul’s wife Joan all have dinner, Tom shows Paul a machine that hears Venus. But Paul gets a call that the satellite has disappeared and he and Joan take off.

[MST break 1: a mockery of the sports short previously.]

While Paul is informed that the satellite has reappeared and it crashes (“Gone…. 9 million dollars and 5 years work”), Tom and Bev experience some marital tension and Tom, deluded with Venusian savior promises, aids via radio the alien who survives the highjacked satellite crash. [“It’s a giant Vlasic pickle!”] Everything in the area goes dead: watches, cars, power plants. Tom informs the Venusian of the key authorities in the area: the mayor of Beechwood, etc. The monster releases a bat-like creature that bites the back of a cop’s neck. [Tom: “I understand now —— Ronald Reagan would make a great president.”]

Paul and Tom disagree, with Paul wanting to know why Tom isn’t fighting the creature and Tom announcing that “stupidity restrains man’s progress.”

[MST break 2: a mockery of the after-dinner griping seen above.]

A military authority is also bitten. Beechwood citizens panic and evacuate the town while the chief of police, another bite victim, kills a plucky old newspaper editor. Paul bikes around. [Crow: “Next on Biography —— me being terrorized by a giant flying mitten.”] He debates further with Tom who claims that the Venusian has intelligence that dwarfs that of humans and that progressive revolutions and advances always involve chaos and war. Paul claims they lead to regressions and accuses Tom of being a traitor. Claire also pressures him: “I won’t love a monster!” Tom considers Paul a danger.

When Paul gets home, a light is working, but he doesn’t seem to realize it shouldn’t be. His wife acts Stepfordian and releases the bat-like control device thing, but he is able to stab it to the wall and soon pretends to have become brainwashed when she returns [Tom: “Are you evil yet?”]. He kills her.

[MST break 3: celebrity siblings such as Peter Graves and James Arness.]

Claire grabs Tom’s microphone and snots off threateningly at the Venusian. Tom: “How’s Joan?” Paul: “She’s dead.” Paul: “The king’s playing you for a big sucker…. You’re too busy waving a non-existent flag.” Claire meanwhile goes to the cave and calls the monster “ugly, horrible.” A noble “I’ll see you in hell first” and she shoots at it. But it kills her.

The two guys join forces and dodge the mind-controlled people, Paul kills a few military blokes and an independent squadron arrives at the cave. The monster appears. [Joel: “It’s the Kool-Aid guy!” Tom Servo: “It’s Sigmund the Sea-Monster!”] Tom confronts the thing, moaning that he made the creature welcome on earth: “you made it a charnel-house!” The two interplanetary exes kill each other.

Paul pontificates: “He learned too late that man is a feeling creature and because of it the greatest in the universe…. death, fire, loss, disillusionment … find their own way … make their own mistakes…. Men have always sought an end to toil and misery [but it] can’t be given; it has to be achieved…. it has to come from inside: from man himself!”

Commentary: I guess sometimes you just have to kill your wife. It seems a bit reckless to me — are we sure the Venusian mind-control bat’s powers are permanent, that there’s no antedote? True, killing Joan is more expedient. And finally I guess that we have to make our own mistakes, achieve our own accomplishments, for truly truly I say into ye that only then can MAN overcome toil and misery and toil and Joan.