Target Earth

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Target Earth

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:11 pm



Directed by SHERMAN ROSE
Here's an almost seminal sci-fi alien invasion tale from THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCI-FI, a successor to War of the Worlds (1953) and a precursor to Independence Day (1996).  OK, well, not quite. This one is, shall we say, somewhat lower scale - think Five, the small scale end-of-the-world film from 1951, or even The World, The Flesh and the Devil (1959). The plot of TARGET EARTH eventually involves hundreds of invading killer robots in a big city; however, the audience never sees more than one robot. That's because there... WAS... only ONE robot.   cyclops
The plot is intriguing enough: the film begins with a lone female (Kathleen Crowley) waking up in her apartment. The pace is a bit slow but there is ample suspense in these early scenes, just the same. The woman soon realizes that the city she lives in has been emptied of people. She then comes across another female, but this one is lifeless. Then, enter the hero, played by Richard Denning. He startles her and she runs away (both actors nearly had a bad slip in the alley they run through here), but they quickly decide to team up thereafter, to find out what's going on. They find another couple (Virginia Grey & Richard Reeves), living it up in a bar. As for what is going on...

What's going on is that the authorities had evacuated the city earlier, due to an invading army of killer robots. The quartet, as well as another hapless citizen who joins them briefly, soon encounter one of these marauding robots. The robot looks dopey but fires a deadly beam of light... humans do not survive this light if targeted. The scene abruptly switches to the army and a scientist (Whit Bissell) at some other location, making strategy to combat the invading force. The quartet, meanwhile, encounter yet another citizen, this one less-than-civilized. In case you haven't seen this before, it is in black-and-white, so don't be misled by the color stills/lobby cards above. The film is watchable, resembling some of Roger Corman's better efforts.
This film is available on DVD, but I employ a laserdisc edition which I bought about a dozen years ago. The LD has audio commentary by the producer, Herman Cohen, then 25 when he produced this picture. He also pulled  'A Hitchcock' by appearing in one scene as Bissell's assistant. The film was made for under $100 grand; Cohen mentions a figure of $87,000 for the negative cost - very low even for those years. But, it was a success. Somehow, it gives the impression of a bigger-budgeted invasion tale and makes good use of the empty city streets (a feat not possible today without digital FX; Cohen even mentions how he used a cop friend of his to keep people away for certain scenes, an illegal use of police sources).

A decade later, the Brits copied this scenario for THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING (1964). We need a big-budget remake of this! Or, at least, a superior SyFy Channel version. Click here for a blurry but effective trailer:
- note the suspense, mystery & terror, which may explain why the film made money - good marketing.


Last edited by BoG on Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Breaking News-Earth Targeted by Robots!

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:27 pm

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