Based on Ray Bradbury’s story The Meteor, this early 3-D classic was the first of many brilliant sci-fi films from director Jack Arnold, who went on to make Tarantula and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).
An alien spaceship lands near the small town of Sand Rock in the Arizona desert and its giant-eyed occupants adopt human identities while they repair their vessel. Amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) sees it happen, but no one believes him and he faces ridicule, especially from Sheriff Matt Warren (Charles Drake) . . . until the townspeople start to disappear and a huge protoplasmic eyeball is seen on the highway.
Putnam knows that people are being replaced by duplicates but he must make the other people in the town believe him.
While top-heavy on eerie atmosphere, Arnold’s film contains a neat plea for interracial tolerance and some stylish flourishes – including a fish-eye lens to simulate the aliens’ point-of-view.
The result is an entertaining B-movie that’s as good as 1950s science fiction gets.
Sheriff Matt Warren