The Invisible Enemy

The Outer Limits (1963)

The Invisible Enemy, directed by Byron Haskin.

The first mission to Mars does not go well. Successful landing, some walking around, then horrid screams and radio silence.

Three years later, the second mission has a larger crew, supposedly better disciplined and definitely over-managed. They don't know what they're facing but have brought nuclear bazookas just in case.

Despite all that their survival skills seem about nil. After more deaths they discover the awful truth: Martian Sand Sharks.

I loved these rocketship adventures as a kid, but this episode has little Outer Limits in it. They would need to play up the mystery, the boundaries of the knowable and how that reflects in the human soul. But they don't.

They do introduce a thriller countdown timer, now a cliche, but when did that start?

Familiar faces:

Byron Haskin was a natural director for a Martian adventure, having done The War of the Worlds (1953) and Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964). He said the script was a disaster and he rewrote it in the days just before filming.

Bad science is traditional in SF movies and I try not to gripe. Just noting:

The Blu-ray commentary track is by Craig Beam.