From the moment you read its title on a theater marquee, it’s clear that EARTH VERSUS THE FLYING SAUCERS is the kind of movie that means business. This economical little thriller imagines aliens from a dying solar system attempting to conquer our planet, and they are not the sort of adversaries who mess around. First they contact an Earth scientist (Hugh Marlowe) to ask for a parley; when that overture is ignored, they stage a brutal attack on global military installations. Then it’s off to Washington, D.C. to demand our unconditional surrender. What will we do?
Well, this is America circa 1955, isn’t it? “When an armed and threatening power lands uninvited in our capitol,” one general declares crossly, “we don’t meet him with tea and cookies!”
What’s that you say? The invaders possess technology hundreds of years in advance of our own, and we don’t stand a chance? Pull yourself together, hippie! American grit and know-how is a match for any threat — no matter where it comes from. But can we defeat the invaders before we — not to mention the most iconic monuments in the nation’s capitol — are wiped out?
This was the second of three collaborations between producer Charles Schneer and special effects master Ray Harryhausen, and while it lacked the Technicolor polish of 1953’s War of the Worlds it’s still one of the best alien invasion movies you’ll ever see. Its fast-placed plot and zeal for destroying D.C. landmarks was aped four decades later by the bigger-budget but vastly inferior Independence Day (1996).
Sure, you could head to the local megaplex this weekend to watch the new Avengers movie or the new Terminator movie or the new Fast and Furious movie. But the best action film out there this weekend is Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers. –Michael Popham
EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS screens Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4 at 7:00 and 9:00, and Sunday, July 5 at 5:00 and 7:00 at the Trylon. Advance tickets are $8.00, and you can purchase them here.