War Between the Planets (1966)

First off, it’s a remake of an earlier film, known by some in english as Battle of the Worlds. That film didn’t have the background of whatever United Space Confederacy and bunch of orbiting space stations that’s common to the later entries in the Gamma series. It was a little silly, but it did have quite a bit of personality and a certain weird charm. This is a more stolid, wooden film, and while I don’t know what order these rather uniform films were shot in, this one feels like the whole thing has gotten tired and stale. All the other films in the series have something kind of weird and interesting to offer, whether it’s Sinister Space Babes shrinking important scientists to miniature size and stuffing them in briefcases, Space Yeti with a plan to conquer the world, green gas negative-radioactivity aliens, a mad scientist looking to create a male/female hybrid, or whatever. This one has a lot of bad weather represented by stock footage and miniatures.

Oh, the wooden Space Guys do finally get to the alien planet lifeform causing all the havoc, but by then most of the film’s already over, and we’ve had to sit through a lot of guys with gravelly voices intoning grim pronouncements, and a love triangle that veers between hilarious and embarrassing for all concerned. Oh, yeah, this is the closest in the series to the later Japanese Gamma inheritor, the infamous The Green Slime, but trust me, it is less fun by a considerable margin, and often the reason is a lack of a palpable menace or urgency beyond what we are told is happening in parts of the world. I mean, most of the movie is set on a space station, where the gravitational forces mucking up the earth can’t really have an impact. The older film, at least, was better in this respect, too.

Don’t get me wrong though, I still kind of enjoy this. Maybe I just have ffection for these kinds of movies where there are lots of beepy control rooms and Very Important World-shattering Information being slowly churned out by tickertape machines, and self-important dudes yelling things like “the giger counter registers negative, sir! Delta 1 has established contact!” at one another. Maybe, ultimately, it’s because that alien planet is really cool, once they finally get to it, and shows there was some imagination at work, at least. I mean, sure, they don’t get into it much and it’s not Solyaris or anything, but it needn’t be. Still, I’d say, all the other films, including The Green Slime, are better than this one.