Sunday, January 20, 2013
The survivors’ first clue is a big, white, clunky robot that shoots an awesome death ray out of its “face.” It’s obvious Cohen had only enough money to build one suit, so it had to represent an entire Venusian invasion force by itself. Some of the dialogue (screenplay credit goes to KILLERS FROM SPACE’s William Raynor, ROBOT MONSTER’s Wyott Ordung, and James Nicholson, the co-founder of American International Pictures) is hilarious. Richard Denning (CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON) as survivor Frank Brooks is much calmer in the face of invaders from outer space than most people would be. He immediately figures out the enemy must be Venusian, because “as far as I know, it’s the only planet that might be capable of supporting human life.” He learned that in “college” from his roommate who read science fiction.
Shot in seven days on a $85,000 budget, TARGET EARTH works in spurts. Rose’s opening shot, a slow pan across a lonely apartment to reveal Kathleen Crowley’s Nora zonked out on sleeping pills, provides a brooding atmosphere, and scenes of Crowley running around empty streets (shot in Los Angeles early on Sunday mornings) are eerie. However, TARGET EARTH bogs down in uninteresting (aside from the humorous dialogue) conversations between robot attacks, which don’t happen often enough, and the senseless third-act arrival of a crazed gunman (Robert Roark) proves the writers were running out of ideas.