“The year: 1990. The problem of traveling to the moon has been solved for many years. Space stations have been built there and authorized personnel come and go as they wish. But the moon is a dead world, and the great question about space still remains: Does life exist on another planet?”
In the 1966 Curtis Harrington B-Movie, that question is finally answered. Earth has contacted a civilization on a distant planet. They have agreed to send an ambassador to Earth to extend their friendship toward our planet, at least that’s what Earth believes. On the way, the ship crashes on the Mars moon Phobos. An Earth ship led by Allan Brenner (Saxon) arrives to rescue any survivors. There is only one (Marly). She’s a green-skinned woman in a green bodysuit. She’s brought aboard the rescue ship where the crew attempt to communicate with her. Their orders are clear. They must ensure her health and get her safely back to Earth, even when she starts killing the crew members. It turns out she’s an alien queen and a vampire. She sucks the blood out of crewmen after putting them in a helpless hypnotic state. But this alien vampire is less like a bat than a mosquito. She gorges herself on blood so that she can reproduce. Before long she’s left her eggs all over the ship…and Dr. Farraday (Rathbone) has ordered them recovered and taken to the lab, a duty that falls, in the final scene, to our very own Uncle Forry Ackerman.
This really was a low-budget film. Much of the space effects were lifted directly from a Russian space film. It was based on the story, The Veiled Woman. It’s also been released as Planet Of Blood. There are some notable things about the cast that make this a bit of a milestone film, to be sure. John Saxon would eventually make quite a living from the sci-fi B-Movie market and television pilots. This was one of the first in that area he starred in. And while Saxon got himself top billing here, there are some other important actors to be found. It was one of the final appearances by Sherlock Holmes himself, Basil Rathbone. He plays the leader of the space agency here, and you’ll find it more than a cameo. He died the year after the film was released. While it would be the end of one legend’s career, it was to be the start of another. Until that time Dennis Hopper did mostly television appearances in everything from Westerns to cop shows. He gets to be the first victim of the Queen in the movie. It was also one of the last roles for curvy Czech actress Florence Marly. She wouldn’t have a word of dialog in the film, but who could forget one of the creepiest smiles I’ve ever seen.
The movie might look a little silly today, but if you watch carefully you’ll see influences to the 1979 Alien. The pace is what really bogs the whole thing down, however. We don’t even get to the Queen’s arrival on the ship until the last half hour or so. There’s a lot of grandstanding by the actors in an attempt to build tension, and the Russian clips are used for all they are worth. Still it’s an amusing example of the B-Movie staple diet you could find at drive-ins and neighborhood theaters in the 50’s and 60’s. The movie opens like a lot of the Roger Corman Poe films of the time. There is eerie theremin music and bizarre paintings by John Cline. They just don’t make movies like this anymore. Why not? You need to check out Queen Of Blood “to seek an answer to this question”.
That’s the beauty of the program. They are opening up their library of films to be released on DVD-R’s at your request. If you have a fond memory of the film, it can be yours. You still get a good box-art package and a silk-screened DVD-R.