It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), directed by Edward L. Cahn.

Not really from beyond space: from Mars in the futuristic world of 1973. Only 69min long.

A rescue ship is bringing back the sole survivor of the first Mars expedition. They think he murdered his crew. He says it was a mysterious, barely seen creature, but who's going to believe that? Then members of the second crew begin vanishing...

Bullets won't stop it. Neither will grenades, bazookas or poison gas. An impressive arsenal in space!

It's a good setup, more sinister than your average low-budget rocketship movie. Two big problems: (1) during the monster hunt and fighting the crew periodically stop to talk things over or just mope, which halts the action. The creature bangs around in the basement in frustration. (2) The creature itself is the average man-in-a-rubber-suit. The less seen of him the better.

A lot of commentary claims this is an acknowledged inspiration for Alien (1979). I don't know about that (I should listen to the Alien (1979) extras) but there are some striking plot parallels. The final creature disposal technique is very similar.

In the Big Hollywood Handbook of Screenwriting Laws, it says:

The crew includes two women scientists who also work in the galley and wait tables. No guns for them. Lots of cigarette smoking in space.

The space starry field background has several recognizable constellations around Orion, which is unusual. Who made that? Did they photograph a planetarium show?

On disc the image is cropped from 1.85 to 1.37. Netflix has this for streaming but not on disc; I rented mine from ClassicFlix and it's also available for about $5 new. The DVD includes The Monster That Challenged the World.