Kronos

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energy-sucking space monster lands on Earth and all puny attempts to stop it only make it bigger and hungrier.

This fun 1957 sci fi film opens with a flash that possesses a random trucker on the road who then “infects” a leading scientist played by John Emery. Soon after, the scientists at LabCentral discover a miles-wide asteroid hurtling toward Earth, only it looks a lot like a spaceship, and the only things they can imagine will stop it is a nuke. The attack has no effect other than staggering the ship a bit, and it continues its approach. Luckily the “asteroid” crashes into the ocean and everyone thinks they’ve dodged the end of the world. Jeff Morrow and team suspect there is much more to learn and go to Mexico to search for the craft. Meanwhile, Emery feels attacks on the ship as if on himself, collapses and is treated by doctor Morris Ankrum.

For a very low budget film everything works really well, with the music being a nice highlight, and a lot of visual impact thanks to director Kurt Neumann (The Fly). The centerpiece of course is the alien being, impressively introduced as it rises bubbling out of the ocean and then just appears the next morning like a newly built skyscraper. It’s certainly intimidating, cold and soulless with a blocky minimalist modern IKEA look (sure to strike horror in your heart if you’ve ever had trouble assembling their product). The thing proceeds to shoot lightning bolts for miles around and stomp all over Mexicans with its hydraulic tripod legs.

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An especially nice shot has Morrow and team daring to land their helicopter on the thing and take a peek inside where they see a transparent glowing cube. There are nice spooky moments like the newscast interrupted by the static interference effect the aliencraft creates on approach, and a bomber plane trying to turn away gets sucked into the thing’s field of gravity. When the monolith gets a craving for more A and H bomb power, it starts marching to LA, where the mass panic and evacuation scenes are very cool; I can see this scaring the beep out of audiences in the cold war days. Every monster has its weakness, and here’s where the human scientists prove themselves superior; a power dependent alien can possibly be shorted out, and the attempts to test that theory make for an explosive climax.

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Barbara Lawrence plays Morrow’s comely assistant, and George Jetson, I mean O’Hanlon is his fun bespectacled associate, who lovingly talks to the room-filling supercomputer Lucy. Emery grows more fearsome and terrorizes Ankrum and Lawrence as he reveals that he serves as human envoy, telepathic connection and positioning system for the power sucking device. Morrow is great as an authority who’s still warm and fallible and has lots of chemistry with Lawrence. Kronos has quite a few plot holes and amuses with what we now know to be silly science, but no matter when there’s never a dull moment, and a cool monster. A fun, impressive specimen of 50’s scifi.

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