First Spaceship on Venus (1960)

Also known as Planet of the Dead and Spaceship Venus Does Not Reply, this is really the East German/Polish film Milcząca Gwiazda / Der Schweigende Stern, which would mean The Silent Star in English. It’s based on Stanislaw Lew’s 1951 novel The Astronauts. The author — who also was the man behind Solaris — was critical of the final film, saying, “It practically delivered speeches about the struggle for peace. Trashy screenplay was painted; tar was bubbling, which would not scare even a child.”

So how did it make it to America? Out old friends at Crown International Pictures, who In 1962 released a cut-down and American-friendly dub of the movie — along with two other cuts under the aforementioned Planet of the Dead and Spaceship Venus Does Not Reply titles. Domestic audiences wouldn’t see the original, uncut version of the film until it was re-released by the DEFA Film Library of the University of Massachusetts Amherst as The Silent Star.

Scientists discover that the Tunguska explosion of 1908 was caused by an alien craft and not a meteor, which sends them to Venus, where they discover that the inhabitants of that planet want to irradiate the Earth and take it over. More precisely, they would have, had they not nuked themselves into oblivion.

If you watched this and thought, “Have I seen this movie somewhere else?” that would be because it’s the movie within a movie in Galaxina. If you listened to it and felt the same way, that’s because it liberally borrows — steals — music from Destination MoonThis Island Earth and The Wolf Man.

You can watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this movie on Tubi or the original on YouTube:

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