Saturday, February 15, 2014
Destination Inner Space
Of course the dingbats bring one back to the sealab, of course it breaks open, and of course a man-sized amphibian that walks on two legs bursts out of it. From then on, Wayne and the others, who also include Dr. Peron (Sheree North) and Dr. LaSatier (Gary Merrill), run around sealing off compartments and scrounging for spear guns to protect themselves from the murderous monster.
Considering the participation of normally staid director Francis D. Lyon (CASTLE OF EVIL, also with Brady) and writer Arthur C. Pierce, who penned such bad sci-fi as WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET and CYBORG 2087, DESTINATION INNER SPACE is better than I expected. Granted, it looks cheap (the miniatures of the sealab and the spacecraft aren’t fooling anybody), and the opening reels really drag.
However, Pierce makes an effort to give the main characters some sort of characterization for the actors to play. Nothing original or groundbreaking—for instance, Wayne and Hugh have an adversarial backstory involving an earlier mission that they work out—but at least the film attempts to make them people.
Lyon isn’t shy about showing the monster—no atmospheric shadows or quick cuts to hint at its menace—and while it looks exactly like what it is—a man in a rubber suit—it’s imaginatively designed with a bit of a hunchback and a large orange head-to-butt fin (this is to hide the stuntman’s air tanks in the underwater scenes). Paul Dunlap (SHOCK CORRIDOR) composed the score, and a young James Hong runs around as a Chinese cook.