Phantom from Space (1953)

Article #259 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-30-2001
Posting date: 4-15-2002

An invisible alien from outer space crashes on earth. When circumstances force him to kill two earthlings, he finds himself being chased by the authorities.

I’ve heard it said that one of the rules to making an interesting movie is to cut out the dull parts. W. Lee Wilder should have used that rule; the movie not only opens with a sleep-inducing four minutes of narration and stock footage montage, but it’s loaded with uninteresting detail, scenes of people sitting around and talking without anything interesting to say, and too many shots of people reading, smoking and pacing. For all that, it’s better than some of his other films (I prefer it to KILLERS FROM SPACE or THE SNOW CREATURE), largely because it does garner a few interesting moments; the scene with the alien trying to communicate with the woman in the lab, though it has some weak moments, is one of the better scenes I’ve seen from this director.


It also may feature the first self-cleaning alien in cinema history, that phenomena by which an alien, when he dies, dissolves into nothingness. Unfortunately, that may be too apt a metaphor for this movie.


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