Day 5 – Night Caller
Director: John Gilling
Starring: John Saxon, Maurice Denham, Patricia Haines, UK. 1h 25m
There is always a huge amount of respect to be had for early sci fi, the imagination and passion that gave us so many of the inventions that are commonplace in modern times…. Or in this case the sciences is mostly about space and aliens and concepts which are a little out there… but are crazy enough to be enjoyable.
Scientist Jack Costain (Saxon) and his colleagues track and investigate a meteorite that crash lands in the British countryside, the strange spherical asteroid defies science as we know it. The asteroid is taken to the laboratory to be studied but it seems inert, but the army remain on stand by. Eventually Dr Morley (Dedham) discovers that it is an alien device from Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter and it acts like a gateway, this is only activated when people are alone, usually female. A creature emerges, and stalks Ann (Haines) eventually; using her as bait, they capture a tall alien and take it to their lab, but it escapes.
It’s at this point that the film takes a sudden sharp turn and it morphs into a thriller. Almost forgetting all traces of science fiction. The team notices that teenage girls begin to go missing after answering an advertisement in ‘Bikini Girl’ magazine. After painstakingly tracking down the mysterious person who is placing the advert for highly attractive girls it turns out the alien is placing the advert to harvest women.. No mention of probing them.. Don’t get your perverted hopes up.
It’s a hard one to call, while it’s imaginative and has a tense gripping story, looking over the batshitcrazy story its hard not to find it slightly funny, an alien with advanced technology comes to earth to place adverts in “bikini girl” magazine to lure people in, where is it getting the money from, why not just zap people through the gateway, this aspect makes it a bit hard to swallow and hard to take serious but overall it’s an interesting story if you take it with a pinch of salt, including the scenes with Warren Mitchell.
There are some scenes which highlight feminist issues, when the alien is confronted by intelligent females it lashes out violently preferring only bimbo’s, so that’s not just a human thing.. Otherwise the film is well crafted both as a thriller and quirky sci fi.
R: Queen of Blood (1966), Hands of Steel (1986), Timeslip (1955), Night of the big heat (1966)
L: A-Z of Retro Sci Fi, 60 for the 1960’s,
5s: John Saxon