Target Earth (1954) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Target Earth (1954)Target Earth (1954) by #ShermanARose
#RichardDenning #KathleenCrowley #VirginiaGrey

Giant robots from Venus invade Chicago.
“Raw Panic The Screen Never Dared Reveal!”

“You’ll be paralyzed with fear!”

“You don’t need a reason to die, Frank. Just one to live.”

#Horror #SciFi #Robots

Target Earth (1954) opens with a sweeping shot of a big city; Chicago, in fact.  It’s 1:30 AM and a woman lies unconscious with a bottle of spilled sleeping tablets near her hand. We get the feeling that maybe she has attempted suicide.

Her eyes open and she seems confused. Perhaps she is wondering why is she still alive. She sits up holding her head.

After getting dressed and leaving her building, she wanders around trying to find other people, but the entire city seems to be deserted. Is she the last woman alive?

The first few minutes of Target Earth (1954) reminded me of The Quiet Earth (1985) which, of course, came out many years later. But I couldn’t help but wonder if Target Earth had influenced The Quiet Earth. Whether it did or not, the opening sequence of Target Earth had me hooked…

What Happened Next?

The woman, whose name is Nora King (played by Kathleen Crowley), comes across what appears to be a dead man lying in the streets. She backs away in horror and bumps into a live man. She runs away in fear, but he chases her.

He turns out to be Frank Brooks, played by Richard Denning, and he seems like a friendly, non-threatening guy.

Nora and Frank decide that there must have been an evacuation during the night while they were both unconscious. He was knocked out due to a mugging. She, as we gathered, had taken sleeping pills and locked her door. They have no idea why the city has been evacuated, but they figure they must be in some sort of danger. They need to get out.

It’s called Target Earth, so…

They eventually find out that some sort of enemy army has landed and invaded the city. They don’t know anything about the army until something very extraordinary happens;  they see a giant robot.

This movie just got awesome.

So it’s a giant robot invasion movie?

Target Earth is indeed about a giant robot invasion. But it’s done very cleverly, with a lower budget in mind. It actually reminded me of Cloverfield (2008) in that way. Or maybe Monsters (2010). In some ways it may have been ahead of its time. But regardless, I thought it worked very well.

Are you saying Target Earth is a good movie?

Target Earth is indeed a good movie. But it’s also a fun 1950s science fiction horror film. It wouldn’t have been out of place with many of the movies I used to see on Not Quite Classic Theatre. It can be silly and campy at times. But it’s also pretty compelling, almost like an episode of The Twilight Zone, or something like that. I would whole-heartedly recommend it to fans of 1950s giant monster movies, and also fans of slightly more serious science fiction films (notice I said “slightly”). It’s the kind of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that would go well with almost any other fun 1950s B-movie, and I would say give it a shot on your next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

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