ZONTAR: THE THING FROM VENUS (1966)
Article 3076 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-9-2009
Posting Date: 1-15-2010
Directed by Larry Buchanan
Featuring John Agar, Susan Bjurman, Tony Huston
What it is: AIP science fiction thriller remake, Larry Buchanan-style
A rogue scientist communicates with a creature from Venus who has plans to “save” the human race. Little does the scientist know the carnage that will result from his actions to bring the alien to Earth.
I’ll give this much to Larry Buchanan; he came up with a nifty title for this one. It not only inspired an episode of SCTV, but a fanzine as well, “Zontar, the Magazine from Venus”. Still, when it came time for the editors to come up with an accompanying image for the magazine, they bypassed the lame creature here for the silly-but-inspired vegetable creature from IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, which is the movie of which this is a remake. And, like the other Larry Buchanan remakes of AIP features, it stinks; one is especially aware of how the conviction of the cast in the original made much of the dialogue work despite its clunkiness, an advantage that this version of the movie does not have. I’m especially aware of how poorly Susan Bjurman does in the Beverly Garland role. Still, this may be the best of Buchanan’s AIP adaptations, for what that’s worth.