In the European village of Gudenberg in 1890, Prof. Mayer and his assistant have created a powerful ray machine. One of these rays is shot into space and attracts a flying saucer. The alien pilot decides that the ray poses too great a threat to the universe and must be destroyed.
Directed by: José Luis González de León
, Jack Hill
, Juan Ibáñez
. Starring: Boris Karloff
, Enrique Guzmán
, Christa Linder
, Maura Monti
, Yerye Beirute
, Tere Valez
, Griselda Mejía
, Sergio Kleiner
, Rosángela Balbó
, Mariela Flores
, Tito Novaro
, Sergio Virel
, Nathanael León
. Music by: Enrico C. Cabiati
There are a lot of things wrong with this movie; the plot is clichéd and routine, the editing and photography bad, the acting and dubbing appalling. Yet, despite of all these detractions, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this science fiction horror hybrid which successfully mixes both genres by the crude methods of having two sub-plots which regularly clash. So far I've only seen two of the KarloffMexican quartet made shortly before the actor's death, but this beats DANCE OF DEATH hands down by never succumbing to boredom.
Things open with two scientists experimenting with radium with machinery that looks like its come straight out of a Hammer Frankenstein movie. Throughout this movie there is a definite Hammer influence in the setting and the costumes, what with the low-cut dresses of the women, the horse and carts that the men drive and the mob of torch-wielding villagers who go on the rampage at the end. Although the poor film stock used and the washed-out colours make this look like a cheap imitation, it's the thought that counts and ALIEN TERROR benefits from the similarity.
The two scientists are soon revealed as Boris Karloff and his female assistant, who has been facially scarred (a typical requirement for the genre). Karloff actually has a fair bit of screen time in this film, I would say about half an hour of it, which was something of a surprise. Obviously all of his scenes are filmed on one set again, and sometimes, hilariously, a double stands in for him just like that guy did for Bruce Lee in GAME OF DEATH. At the end we see Karloff supposedly watching his house burn down, although it's obviously just an actor with fake grey hair - luckily he never turns round! At another time Karloff appears with his mask on while another actor dubs his voice - the only trouble being that a Mexican trying to sound British doesn't work very well. The effect is absolutely hilarious! Anyway, on the arrival of a UFO (animated), an alien visitor arrives on our planet. Is he slimy, scaly, scary? Well, err, no. Actually this "alien" is a blond guy with wavy hair wearing a shiny silver suit! Again, another moment of hilarity comes from his presence. He spends a lot of time lurking in bushes watching people, or hiding out in his UFO, which is commendably surreal with a blue-lighted set. His plan is to destroy all of Karloff's equipment which has the power to destroy the universe - basically this is a variation on an old theme. But first he must possess a number of people into doing his will.
The possession occurs via a translucent "blob" (briefly seen, but it looks just like THE BLOB) which melts into the victim's hand. I'm not making this up. The first to go is a swarthy man called Thomas, who also happens to be a sadistic sex murderer who receives sexual pleasure from hacking up his female victims with a straight razor. Thus the scene is set for a number of non-gory but pretty grisly murders in which the females are at first seduced and then killed. Incidentally, this is a very sexist film, in which EVERY female character wants a man to be with and only has one thing on her mind - sex! Subservient isn't the word.
After a string of murders (as there is apparently no police presence in the village, nobody cares), Thomas eventually reaches Karloff's laboratory where Karloff himself is possessed by the "blob". They also find time to fit in a cool scene where a bunch of flowers wither and die because of the radiation the "blob" emits. More people die, a bland young scientist hero investigates, Thomas is wounded and butchered by the vengeful villagers and the alien presence is destroyed - only for Karloff to blow up his equipment anyway, and for the alien to leave happily! Which begs the question...why didn't the alien just go and ask Karloff in the first place? It would have saved an awful lot of time and effort.
The acting is generally bad but fun to watch, of course with the exception of Karloff who once again gives his all and is the best actor in the film. However, honours must go to Yerye Beirute's snarling turn as the sex murderer, for managing to create such a loathsome, despicable character. Plus, a couple of the female leads are given more to do than usual, including one getting possessed by the alien herself in a shocking twist. Everything else about the film is pedestrian, but in the mish-mash of plot ideas, there are a couple of neat twists. The "alien possession" theme would later be explored (through much better special effects) in the likes of THE HIDDEN, which came twenty years later. ALIEN TERROR may be cheap and dodgy entertainment, but it passes the time quite nicely and is a bit better than you would expect from its lack of pedigree.
Review by Leofwine_draca from the Internet Movie Database.