Newest Reviews
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Hands of Orlac, The
Death has Blue Eyes
Kala Azar
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
  Terrornauts, The Making Contact
Year: 1967
Director: Montgomery Tully
Stars: Simon Oates, Zena Marshall, Charles Hawtrey, Patricia Hayes, Stanley Meadows, Max Adrian, Frank Barry, Richard Carpenter, Leonard Cracknell, André Maranne, Frank Forsyth, Robert Jewell
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Doctor Joe Burke (Simon Oates) is a scientist whose Startalk project is the fulfilment of a lifetime's ambition, a chance to communicate with the denizens of civilisations outside Planet Earth's orbit. However, so far his investigations have brought up the grand total of no contacts whatsoever and his bosses, led by Shore (Max Adrian), want a word with a view to discussing his position in the organisation. Now Burke has a deadline: if no progress is made by the time three months are up, then the project will be terminated as the bosses cannot justify the cost and use of the radio telescope on the premises, an ultimatum which infuriates the boffin, especially as he feels he has an almost divine right to pursue his fascination with the subject...

That's because when Burke was a boy, he was given a mysterious cube by his archaeologist uncle as we see in flashback, something uncovered at a dig in France. The clumsy child knocked the object over one day and it smashed into pieces, one of which he held in his hand when he went to sleep and experienced the vision which has haunted him all these years. If this was sounding jolly interesting then it didn't play that way for the first half hour at least: the action took far too long to step up a gear, and for a while it seemed as though this was a tale of office politics at a research station in England, complete with laboured comic relief from Charles Hawtrey as an accountant and Patricia Hayes as a tealady.

Hawtrey, then as now most celebrated for the Carry On series, looked to be taking an interest in science fiction because around the same time he appeared in the decidedly saucier Zeta One, while Hayes was bringing her accustomed working class charm (though she spoke posh in real life) to a role she could have played in her sleep. Do not underestimate Mrs Jones the tealady, however, as only in a British science fiction movie would it be imperative to bring along a character who provided a nice cuppa as they travelled into the depths of space. That was what happened, the entire building was spirited away by a spacecraft sent from the Solar System's asteroid belt once contact had finally been made.

What are the odds Burke should receive that deadline and mere hours later he made that breakthrough? Well, maybe we shouldn't be too surprised, since it would be a rather dull movie if the rest of it played out as the leading man lost his job and had to attend a series of interviews to get another one. Although nobody is called the Terrornauts in the film, the plot actually plays out not unlike the eighties BBC TV series The Adventure Game as Burke, nervous Hawtrey, Hayes, and assistants Zena Marshall (famous as James Bond's first ever conquest in Dr. No) and Stanley Meadows find themselves on a hugely advanced space base run by a not very advanced-looking robot (Marshall was obviously amused by this and gives the contraption a noticeable pat on the bottom as it goes by in one scene).

This was drawn from a Murray Leinster book by heavyweight science fiction author John Brunner, best known for his classic dystopian novels Stand On Zanzibar and especially the unforgettable environmental miseryfest The Sheep Look Up, but don't expect anything so profound here, this was more aimed at the families who crowded around the television sets to catch the latest episode of Doctor Who of a Saturday afternoon. That said, it looked like they had that serial's meagre budget, even using a quarry as one location, and with quite remarkable monster in one sequence which has the notable addition of an eye in its armpit (better than a nose in your armpit, one assumes). The explorers are adept at the problem solving, well, two of them are, the others tending to dither including Meadows' supposedly intelligent scientist who manages to trip over his feet and bump Marshall into a matter transporter. It builds to a conclusion that won't be entirely alien to anyone who has played Space Invaders, but overall that lively last half more than made up for the mediocre first. Music by Elisabeth Lutyens.

[Network's Region 2 DVD features a good quality copy of this film's shorter reissue from the seventies, and a slightly beaten up copy of the original 1967 version which lasts about fifteen minutes longer. It also has the trailer and an image gallery to round out the extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2258 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: