Following Assignment: Outer Space and Battle of the Worlds, Italian director Antonio Margheriti was approached by MGM to make four science fiction films back-to-back. All four films were shot on location in Rome and at Rome’s Incir De Paolis studios, using many of the same sets, costumes, props and actors.
The films followed the adventures of the staff of the United Democracies Space Command (UDSCO) on Earth and blasted into orbit aboard the Gamma One space station. The four films were War of the Planets (20 November 1965), The Wild Wild Planet (29 November 1965), War Between the Planets (21 July 1966) and The Snow Devils (17 November 1966).
They were partly financed by MGM and filmed simultaneously over 12 weeks. Sometimes known as ‘The Gamma 1 Quadrilogy’, they were originally conceived as TV movies, but were released theatrically in Italy and played in cinemas and on TV in America.
WIld Wild Planet – a cops-and-robbers-in-outer-space epic – was the series’ highpoint and displays the highest production values. It’s a dazzling cocktail of groovy 1960s sci-fi, kitschy psychedelia and outrageous special effects.
In the 21st century, insane scientist Dr Nurmi (Massimo Serato) fabricates female androids in order to kidnap VIP space officials, who are miniaturised and transported in special attaché cases for further experiments.
The intrepid commander of Gamma One, Mike Halstead (Tony Russel) investigates the disappearances and pinpoints the planetoid Delphos, where Serato is experimenting to populate the Earth with perfect specimens.
Mike and his fearless crew race against time to save Mike’s girlfriend, Lt. Connie Gomez (Lisa Gastoni) from the clutches of Dr Nurmi who plans to fuse part of his body with that of Lt. Gomez to create a bizarre hybrid.
Humans with cat’s eyes, four-armed mutants, karate-chopping girls in flimsy chiffon nighties – the wacky zaniness never ends in this wonderfully outlandish romp that Austin Powers fans will adore.
Commander Mike Halstead
Dr Nels Nurmi