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Destination Inner Space

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Destination Inner Space

Destination Inner Space
Directed by Francis D. Lyon
Written by Arthur C. Pierce
Starring Scott Brady
Gary Merrill
Sheree North
Wende Wagner
Release dates
  • May 1966 (1966-05)
Running time 83 minutes
Language English

Destination Inner Space is a 1966 color science fiction film starring Scott Brady, Gary Merrill, Sheree North, and Wende Wagner, along with Mike Road, John Howard, William Thourbly, and Biff Elliot.

Plot

The story centers on a group of researchers working in an underwater laboratory. After an encounter with an Unidentified Submerged Object (USO—an undersea flying saucer), the base is attacked by a monster that may be the vanguard for invading aliens. The researchers and the base's military staff must deal with the creature and destroy the USO.

Cast

Destination Inner Space is notable for being Sheree North's comeback film. North, who had been working in TV, hadn't appeared in a motion picture since Mardi Gras (film) (1958).

Many of the rest of the cast are known to SF/F/H fandom from other fantasy and science-fiction movies and TV shows. Road is famous for his work in George Pal.

Production

The plot resembles a submerged version of Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World, though the production values, budget, and direction by Francis D. Lyon do not come up to the quality of Hawks' film.

The film's score is by Paul Dunlap, composer for several other famous SF films, including cult favorite The Angry Red Planet. Dunlap re-uses several cues from Angry Red Planet in Destination Inner Space, a fact noted (in 2014) by guests discussing Destination Inner Space on the Monster Kid Radio podcast. [1]

Release

Barely released to theaters in 1966, Destination Inner Space is largely unknown outside of horror and science-fiction fandom. It was a staple of late-night broadcast television in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Home media

It was released on DVD in 2011 by Cheezy Flicks. As of fall of 2014, there are no plans for high-end or enhanced DVD releases of the film.

Reception

The film is famous among horror and science-fiction buffs for its aquatic monster, which looks like a cross between a piranha and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It is also infamous for its low-budget production values, including unconvincing miniatures and sets. Despite these drawbacks, the film does contain some scares and remains a cult favorite with monster fans.

In his book A Pictorial History of Science Fiction Films, author Jeff Rovin calls the film "low budget but intriguing," and notes that it "has mediocre performances, but does create an aura of suspense," and "though it is a composite of most every invader-from-space film, it provides ninety minutes of fast-paced entertainment."[2] His final assessment is quite charitable: "Low budget and average performances do not prevent director Francis Lyon from providing a first-rate entertainment. Nothing profound; just fun."[2]

In 2014, Monster Kid Radio devoted two podcast episodes to the film with host Derek M. Koch discussing Destination Inner Space with guests, author Stephen D. Sullivan and Orphaned Entertainment podcaster Christopher Page. (Page's podcast is dedicated to Public Domain films and works.) Koch, a first-time viewer, starts his appraisal saying, "Loved it."[1] He and his guests then express their appreciation of this film, despite its low budget and other limitations. "I'd love to see a decent release of this with special features," says Page, commenting on the film's (possible) public domain status and lack of a pristine video release. "The people working on this were pretty serious about what they were doing," notes Sullivan, citing Paul Dunlap's score and his work on other science fiction films.

"The film is not getting enough respect," Sullivan concludes. "I think this is a really good, low-budget science fiction-horror picture." "Go, out; go get it. It's easy enough, just watch it!" adds Page. [3]

References

  1. ^ a b [1] - Monster Kid Radio #127 - Destination Inner Space (and public domain films) with Stephen D. Sullivan and Christopher Page
  2. ^ a b Rovin, Jeff (1975) A Pictorial History of Science Fiction Films, p. 173. Citadel Press, Secaucus, NJ. ISBN 0806505370
  3. ^ [2] - Monster Kid Radio #128 - Continuing to Destination Inner Space with Stephen D. Sullivan and Christopher Page
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