April 5: Roger Corman’s birthday — Whether he produced or directed the movie, share a movie for Corman’s birthday.
It Conquered the World was released by American-International Pictures as a double feature with The She-Creature and has perhaps the goofiest monster ever, The Venusian. It was originally written by Lou Rusoff, who had to leave for Canada when he learned that his brother was dying. Charles Griffith did a rewrite two days before filming started and told Fangoria that the script “was incomprehensible which was strange because he was quite meticulous. Lou’s brother was dying at the time which most likely had something to do with it.” He also admitted that the final movie was terrible.
Paul Blaisdell created The Venusian and figured that is Venus was a big planet, it had heavy gravity so it needed to be bottom heavy and low to the ground. Beveraly Garland, who plays Claire Anderson in the film, said that when she first saw it, she said knocked it over, telling Fangoria, “I could bop that monster over the head with my handbag! This thing was no monster, it was a table ornament!”
Her husband in the movie, Dr. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef!) has brought the creature to Earth to help humanity deal with its problems, except that it does what aliens in Roger Corman movies do and that’s enslave humanity. Anderson deals with that by using a blowtorch to the face of the monster, which temporarily earned it an X rating in the UK as they deemed it cruelty to animals until AIP producer Samuel Z. Arkoff explained that, well, it’s not an animal. It was an alien.
This was an early heroic role for Peter Graves and I’d like to think this comes from the same cinematic universe where his brother James Arness was The Thing from Another World.