A mission to Mars returns with crew members missing and comatose, and only Dr Iris Ryan (Nora Hayden) can be made conscious to tell the story.
Under the influence of drugs, “Irish” recalls their expedition and how – together with Colonel Tom O’Bannion (Gerald Mohr), Professor Theodore Gettell (Les Tremayne) and Warrant Officer Sam Jacobs (Jack Kruschen) – she encountered horrible lifeforms including man-eating plants and a giant carnivorous bat-spider-crab.
The team’s scientist, Professor Gettell urged the mission to depart for home but a forcefield was holding their rocket – the MR1 – back.
Hoping to find the intelligence behind the forcefield, the four-man crew set out in an inflatable raft across a Martian ocean where they found a highly-advanced city guarded by a colossal, hungry amoeba.
Chief Warrant Officer Jacobs was absorbed and consumed by the amoeba as the others returned safely to the ship. Attempting to save Jacobs, Colonel O’Bannion’s arm was infected by a deadly green growth.
After electrifying the hull of their ship and repelling the amoeba, the rocket returned to the stars, but not before the Martian intelligence issued a warning to the crew (and to all mankind, who it calls “spiritual and emotional infants”) about returning to the angry red planet.
The cartoon-like, expressionistic special effects are red-tinted thanks to the film process “Cinemagic” to approximate the distorted, dream-like quality of Nora Hayden’s drug-addled reminiscences.
Renowned science fiction director Ib Melchior gives a diverting spin to the familiar Saturday morning serial antics.
The AIP film was shot in just ten days on a budget of $200,000.
Colonel Tom O’Banion
Professor Theodore Gettell
Warrant Officer Sam Jacobs
J Edward McKinley