First Man Into Space

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First Man Into Space

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:13 pm

The man of the title is a somewhat arrogant ass; he's a hotshot pilot and has always strived to be first at everything. This cocky attitude puts him at odds with his older brother and commanding officer (Marshall Thompson), whom he derides for lacking the skills of a great pilot. This conflict is all demonstrated during the first test flight we see: the pilot, Dan, brings the ship down damaged, walks away unharmed but, instead of going to a debriefing like he's supposed to, he goes to his girlfriend's (Marla Landi) apartment to smooch. As we might expect, Dan gets his comeuppance during the next key test flight, when he takes the craft higher than anyone has before, disobeying orders. He and the ship are bombarded by cosmic rays and special space dust which coats them as a protective shield. The ship is found on the ground and Dan is presumed dead. But, instead, he is marauding around the countryside, killing cows and people in his insatiable need for blood. The cosmic coating which covers him now makes him look like a monster.
This is fairly effective as a low budget suspense tale of a monster from outer space - though he happens to be from Earth, just transformed. The story makes the most out of the tension involved when we're still not clear on just what this monster-like threat is or what it looks like; and, the reveal is also fairly horrific for this type of fare. Dan the ex-pilot makes for an effective frightening monster as he makes short work of various victims (the coating covering him grants him great strength, invulnerability to bullets and very deadly slashing capability). It's emphasized that he has some kind of breathing problem so his appearances are accompanied by this inhuman and disturbing heavy breathing. The story is also similar to the Quatermass films of a couple of years earlier, warning us all of the potential dangers of scientific progress. There is a tragic tone by the final act, when we realize that Dan, even with his faults, certainly did not deserve such a fate. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
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